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'Six agri-business MNCs guilty of violating human rights'

Last updated: 06 December, 2011
Bangalore, Dec 6, DHNS: 1:06 IST

The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT), an international opinion forum, presented its findings that indicted parent states of six agrochemical MNCs and host countries like India for ''gross, widespread and systematic violations of public health, social and civil liberties''.

After three days of depositions by citizens from around the world, a panel of jurors of the PPT on Tuesday stressed on the failure of states to regulate, monitor and discipline the activities of transnational agribusiness companies.

Having stated that, they said: “This makes them also culpable. Witnesses from around the world have 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 Chemicals.”

Upendra Baxi, Professor of Law in Development at the University of Warwick, UK, while reading out the final verdict said that there is substantial evidence that multinational agribusiness and agrochemical companies are responsible for gross, widespread and systematic violations of public health, social and civil liberties.

He added that the host states too, in some sense, are culpable because they have given a ‘magic carpet’ treatment to these powerful firms.

Presenting various facets of the findings, juror and German economist Elmar Altvater said that economic liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation of formerly public goods had led to this situation.

These companies have not been responsible in their pursuit of higher profits, and for this people have had to pay the price, he pointed out.

Other jurors summarised the testimonies that they had heard over three days, and said that the most shocking stories were that of abuse of power, bribery and threat, and that of clear evidence that companies in cahoots with the research community had been producing false and erroneous data.

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