Permanent Peoples´ Tribunal 2011

Maryam Henein Blog, Nov 25, 2011

Chemical companies under fire by People’s Tribune

On December 3, 1984, a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, exploded, instantly killing nearly 8,000 people. The explosion also poisoned hundreds of thousands, many who are still suffering to this day. Before the Gulf Oil Spill, this was considered the world’s worst industrial catasrophe.

On the 30 year anniversary of the ’ Bhopal Tragedy,’ the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) will convene to consider charges being brought against the six biggest multinational agrochemical companies (Bayer, BASF, Dupont, Monsanto, Syngenta, & Dow Chemical). For their role and complicity against humanity, including the death of bees and other pollinators. The cases will be heard over a four-day trial in Bangalore, India.

The Tribunal was founded in Bologna (Italy), June 24, 1979, by law experts, writers and other intellectuals. It an international opinion tribunal that aims to raise public awareness of situations of massive human rights violations when such situations receive no institutional recognition or response.
So is this our last attempt at justice in a world where outdated systems fester on greed?

In fact, “the PPT was borne out of people’s struggles against exploitation and oppression and has become a vital part of these struggles,” states the site

But “unlike existing legal mechanisms controlled by the interests of a few, the PPT draws its legitimacy and authority from the people.”
So is this going to provide a space for victims to express the wrongdoings of the 1 percent? I believe voicing our tragedies is healing in itself and a number one step. But we have a long way to go. We need accountability. I am hoping this is the beginning to a class action suit.

There is hope.

The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has examined the cases of Tibet, Western Sahara, Argentina, Eritrea, Philippine, El Salvador, Afghanistan, East Timor, Zaïre, Guatemala, the Armenian Genocide, the intervention of the United States in Nicaragua, Brazilian Amazon, etc. In certain cases as with the Bhopal disaster, commissions of investigation went on the spot.

In 1996, after the session of Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights in Bhopal, 1992, the “Charter on Industrial Hazards and Human Rights” was adopted.

With that said, “the Big Six have been given summons, but as of now none have expressed that they will be attending,” according to lang-Ilang Quijano, part of the global media team for the PPT. She expressed this in an email. There will be testimonies from victims around the world of course.
Wouldn’t their attendance show a smidgeon of guilt and their absence a lack of responsibility?

There will be lawyers and judges to.
Cases being presented.
Endosulfan (BAYER) Poisoning / Aerial Spraying Case
Roundup Ready (RR) Soy Case
Farmers vs. Monsanto
Bee Colony Collapse

Philipp Mimkes, spokesperson of the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers, a Germany-based public interest group will present the bee case there, together with UK beekeeper and activist Graham White. Provided they get a visa.
We interviewed Mimkes in our film Vanishing of the Bees. Mimkes’ group has been campaigning against neonicotinoids since 1997, when the hazards of neonicotinoids were more or less unknown to the broader public.
He believes that’s about time that Bayer is aggressively pushed to stop the manufacture and sale of these pesticides, and is made accountable for the economic loss and environmental damage brought by their products.

Pesticides are silent killing us mercilessly. And the companies responsible are raking in billions at the expense of the people and the planet.

Kudos to organizations such as The Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides, PANNA and Philip Mimke’s of the CBG. They have dedicated all their energy into raising awareness and changing policy.

“Agrochemical corporations have not only escaped accountability for crimes such as the Bhopal Tragedy, but have grown tremendously in wealth and power, profiteering from the hazardous products and technologies that they have pushed into agriculture, the heart of the world’s food system,” adds the site.
The indictment will be brought through Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International, a global network of more than 600 organizations in over 90 countries

Stay tuned.