Monsanto Tribunal releases its findings: Monsanto’s activities undermine basic human rights, victims of multinational corporations need better protective regulations and international courts should recognize ecocide as a crime.
The Monsanto Tribunal of international judges presented in The Hague their legal opinion after 6 months of analysing the testimonies of more than 30 witnesses, lawyers and experts. Their conclusions are that Monsanto’s practices undermine basic human rights and the right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, it calls for better protective regulations for victims of multinational corporations and concludes that International law should clearly assert the protection of the environment and ‘ecocide’ as a crime.
The Tribunal focused on the widening gap between international human rights law and corporate accountability noting that the legal provisions in place which protect investors’ rights tend to undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human and environmental rights. The Judges underscore the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law in the international legal framework and concluded that urgent action needs to be taken by the UN to avoid that key questions be resolved by private tribunals operating entirely outside the international framework. Furthermore, the Tribunal reiterates that multinational enterprises should be held accountable for their actions and be subjected to the International Criminal Court jurisdiction in cases of infringement of fundamental rights. It also found that Monsanto’s conduct has seriously undermined the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research.
This groundbreaking advisory opinion reinforces what movements, farmers, citizens all over the world have been contending for decades. The industrial model of agriculture, based on monocultures, extensive use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds, together with the economic model of free trade neoliberal policies and deregulation of commerce, is damaging our health and destroying our ecosystems, our soils, water and biodiversity and is a major contributor to climate change. It is poisoning the Earth and millions of people, pushing small farmers off the land, allowing corporations to establish monopolies and take control of our seed and food – while producing only a small fraction of the planet’s food.
The future of our food lies in the hands of small farmers, producers of the majority of the planet’s food, poison-free, biodiverse and nourishing food. It is this ecological model of agriculture which offers the solution to poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the world and to the crisis of climate change.
The Tribunal’s findings are a decisive blow to corporate power and underscores the importance of the work of thousands of activists, farmers, consumers and citizens around the world in the fight for a future of food free from toxics, GMOs, patents and corporate control.