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Panel slams host countries for failure to check agrochemical MNCs

Staff Reporter
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THE JURORS: From left: Upendra Baxi, Professor of Law in Development at University of Warwick, U.K.; Ricarda Steinbrecher, molecular geneticist and developmental biologist; Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent People's Tribunal; Ibrahima Ly, Professor of Law, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD) at the Permanent People's Tribunal in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan
THE JURORS: From left: Upendra Baxi, Professor of Law in Development at University of Warwick, U.K.; Ricarda Steinbrecher, molecular geneticist and developmental biologist; Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent People's Tribunal; Ibrahima Ly, Professor of Law, University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD) at the Permanent People's Tribunal in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

At the end of three days of depositions by citizens from around the world, a panel of jurors of the Permanent People's Tribunal, an international opinion tribunal, presented its findings that indicted parent states of six agrochemical multinational corporations, host countries such as India, and international bodies (such as the United National, Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Trade Organisation).

States also culpable

The failure of states to regulate, monitor and discipline the activities of these companies makes them also culpable, the jurors said.

Witnesses from around the world had testified in the four-day Permanent People's Tribunal regarding the health impact, human rights violations and unethical practices by six transnational corporations — Bayer, BASF, Dupont, Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow Chemical.

Presenting various facets of the findings, juror and German economist Elmar Altvater said that economic liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation of formerly public goods have led to this situation. “Transnational companies have grown in size over the years and have accumulated capital,” he said. These companies have not been responsible in their pursuit of higher profits, and for this people have had to pay the price, he emphasised.


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