Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

09 December 2012

Global Actions Against the Big Six Agrochemical Companies

Atrazine indicator species portrait.
The Swiss company Syngenta is the
 primary manufacturer of atrazine.

This message, dated 6 December 2012, came from the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations. Please organize and join in actions against BASF, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto, and Syngenta. 

Global actions against the Big 6 agrochemical companies

1. Thousands Call on BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta to End Sales of Highly Hazardous Pesticides:  (Hamburg, 3 December 2012)  Every year, large numbers of people worldwide are victims of pesticide poisonings. BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta, the three largest global pesticide companies, are to a significant extent responsible for these pesticide poisonings. A broad alliance of some 10 000 people and 127 organizations from numerous countries have now joined PAN Germany to support a letter authored by PAN Germany and dated 3 December 2012 that calls on these multinational companies to discontinue sales of highly hazardous pesticides throughout the world. Read more at http://www.pan-germany.org/deu/~news-1213.html

2. PAN Mexico (RAPAM in Spanish) was among the organizations demanding that Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF stop selling highly hazardous pesticides, many of which are found in Mexico. See news and press release in Spanish:http://www.rapam.org/main_page.html

3. U.S. PPT partners and other groups launched a sign-on letter to Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor demanding action against human rights violations of the Big 6 agrochemical companies. See enclosed letter to Michael Posner. If you can sign on, please send your name and organization name to Pam Miller at pamela@akaction.org by 9am Pacific on Monday, December 10.

Here is the letter:

Michael H. Posner
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Posner,

As a broad coalition of organizations representing affected communities from Alaska to Florida, we are writing to you on this International Human Rights Day to bring to your attention a critical human rights issue taking place here in the United States and around the world: that of human rights violations perpetrated by the six largest agrochemical transnational corporations. These corporations - in particular the six largest pesticide corporations - Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, and BASF - continue to produce, market, and profit from highly hazardous pesticides that have serious human health, livelihood, and environmental impacts, and to do so in direct violation of the precepts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments.

In December of last year, affected communities around the world who have been harmed by these six corporations presented their cases of human rights violations to the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations. They included:

- Voices from Arctic Indigenous Peoples, who have had their ways of life, including their traditional foods, practices, and livelihoods, contaminated and threatened by pesticide pollution that travels to the Arctic from around the world through a process known as global distillation;

- Voices from the Midwestern United States, where farmers’ livelihoods are being threatened by the Monsanto corporation’s harassment and persecution of farmers;

- And voices from Florida, where African-American farmworkers who used to work on vegetable farms around one of the most polluted lakes in the United States are suffering from multiple chronic illnesses while still awaiting aid for the egregious health harms they suffered, years after these farms were shut down for their enormous impact on the environment and wildlife; as well as dozens of other cases around the world. The full indictment brought forward to the PPT is attached here.

After hearing these cases, an esteemed jury of international experts pronounced these six corporations – along with the governments of the United States, Switzerland, and Germany - guilty of “gross, widespread, and systematic violations” of human rights. This verdict (attached) was handed down one year ago, on December 6, 2011. We have yet to see the US government act to protect the rights of its people and of the global community from violations by corporations based right here in the United States.

We look now to your office as the bearer of an immense responsibility - protecting and promoting democracy, human rights, and the rights of labor - and urge you to take decisive action based on your mandate and the global human rights crises that are clearly being perpetrated daily by the pesticide industry, to signal that the US will play a leadership role in addressing these egregious violations.

We therefore request a meeting with you and your key staff to discuss the role of your office in addressing this pressing issue at the national and international level. We also respectfully request a written response to this letter by January 10, 2013 (please address to Devika Ghai at devika@panna.org). We look forward to working with you.


- Pamela Miller, Viola Waghiyi and Heather McCausland, Alaska Community Action on Toxics
- Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida
- Paige Tomaselli, Center for Food Safety
- Lisa Arkin, Beyond Toxics
- Thomas Kerns, PhD, Environment and Human Rights Advisory
- Devika Ghai, Pesticide Action Network


E-mail: inquiry@agricorporateaccountability.net, media@agricorporateaccountability.net

Website: http://www.agricorporateaccountability.net
The Permanent People's Tribunal Session on Agrochemical TNCs is organised by Pesticide Action Network International, a global network of more than 600 organisations in over 90 countries which has been working to eliminate the use of pesticides and other hazardous technologies.

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