Renowned environmentalist Dr Vandana Shiva’s organisation Navdanya is collaborating with civil society organisations and grass roots farmers movements to organise the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly at the Hague. Farmers, activists, judicial luminaries, mothers from all over the world will converging at The Bazaar of Ideas in the Hague to participate at this three day event.
The Monsanto Tribunal is a people’s tribunal that will determine the responsibilities of Monsanto to charges of crimes against humanity. While Monsanto Tribunal will hear of the crimes of Monsanto and ask Monsanto to respond, the People’s Assembly will address, in parallel, the important movements and activists globally for the defence of our environment and our food systems. Further it shall through audiovisual testimonies expose the impacts agrochemical industry and their poisons.The People’s Assembly will also offers participatory workshops, lectures, and discussions on building alternatives for the future of our food and the future of our planet.
In the last century the big agribusiness corporations, rooted in the world wars, have poisoned billions of people and destroyed biodiversity globally. They have expropriated and grabbed the lands of small farmers in an effort to take control of every aspect of our lives. But still the danger grows bigger as these multinationals converge. Our food systems are rapidly becoming hostage to a handful of agri-business corporations that control all links of the food system, from the seed and to our bread. One example is the recent acquisitions of Monsanto by Bayer for US$ 66 billion. This agreement has further extend corporate control over all agriculture and food systems. This process paves the way for creation of a global monopoly and exploitative profits. It also clearly demonstrates corporate negligence for the environment, international and national laws, for the quality of our food, for consumers and workers in the sector.
Large corporations are also lobbying for acceptance of neoliberal policies, “democratically elected governments” and international treaties of free trade, such as the TTIP; the race to deregulation is an unprecedented attack on the biodiversity and life itself on earth. Corporations like Monsanto have already had the opportunity to expand their control over our seeds, our food and our freedom, depriving all people of their fundamental human rights and democracy. Since 1995 in India alone 300,000 farmers have committed suicide because of a single GMO Bt Cotton. By means of patents and intellectual property rights they have established monopolies and mechanisms of illegitimate royalty collections. They have threatened the rights of farmers and consumers alike. In protest, ordinary people, poor farmers, widows from India to Argentina along with activists are resisting Monsanto’s criminal attempts to control and manipulate their governments, food systems and sovereignty.
People’s Assembly invites participants from movements and associations, seed keepers, farmers and journalists from around the world to expose the crimes against nature and against humanity, perpetrated by the big chemical and biotechnology industries. By imposing policies that have allowed the introduction of patents on seeds and favoured the invasion of GMOs on our farms and our food, they seek total control of society.
Based on the experiences of ecocide and genocide of the last century, the Assembly will outline the actions needed for a future based on the rights of farmers to save and exchange their seeds, sovereignty of our nutrition, agro-ecology, on consumer rights and workers’ rights, on our common goods and the economy of sharing and finally on the rights of nature and Earth democracy.