GM seed firm Monsanto dismisses ‘moral trial’ as a staged stunt
Oct 14, 2016 |
International judges will take evidence from 30 witnesses and “victims” of US agri-business Monsanto in an attempt by hundreds of grassroots groups to hold the company accountable for what they allege are human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and “ecocide”, or widespread environmental damage.
High-profile witnesses, including former UN special rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter, will give evidence alongside Argentine doctors, Mexican beekeepers and toxicologists and scientists from 15 countries. The five judges will deliver what is expected to be a lengthy advisory legal opinion.
The firm’s accusers in The Hague will hold it and other major chemical companies primarily responsible for developing an unsustainable system of farming.
“Monsanto promotes an agro-industrial model that contributes at least one-third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions; it is also largely responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide. This is a model that threatens peoples’ food sovereignty by patenting seeds and privatising life”, said the spokeswoman.
“The tribunal will give a legal opinion on the environmental and health damage alleged to have been caused by the multinational. It will also give people all over the world a well-documented legal file to be used in future lawsuits against Monsanto and similar chemical companies.”
In an open letter, signed by three Monsanto directors, the company said it would not attend the tribunal because it was “staged and supported by” organic food organisations.
“We welcome a genuine, constructive conversation with diverse ideas and perspectives about food and agriculture production. [But] this is not a real dialogue. It is a staged event, a mock trial where anti-agriculture technology and anti-Monsanto critics play organisers, judge and jury, and where the outcome is pre-determined,” wrote Martha Burmaster, Monsanto’s director of human rights.Facebook