Pollution from Pesticides: How Transnational Chemical Corporations Violate Basic Human Rights

November 28, 2012
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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The rights to health, life, livelihood, food and food security are internationally recognized basic human rights. A ruling against the world's six largest pesticide companies (known as the "Big 6") in a collective international human rights case marks an important step in holding corporations accountable for human rights abuses and protecting people from toxic trespass. Pesticide Action Network facilitated the presentation of 25 cases of human rights violations by transnational corporations before the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, an international people's court. The court issued a strong final verdict pronouncing that “the corporations have violated basic human rights to health, life, livelihood, food and food security.”

On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, we took a look at the significance of the court’s ruling, heard an update on United Nations actions to ban the world’s most dangerous chemicals, and discussed next steps for ensuring justice and the protection of health.

This Call's Agenda

  • The collective human rights case brought against the "Big 6" with Kathryn Gilje, Senior Organizer, Pesticide Action Network;
  • Arctic Case prepared by Alaska Community Actions on Toxics (ACAT) with scientific evidence about the threat of persistent pesticides on the health of Indigenous Peoples with Vi Waghiyi, Environmental Health and Justice Director, ACAT;
  • The case of the Lake Apopka farmworkers in Florida that were exposed generationally to organochlorine pesticides (POPs) implicated in mutations of alligators, death of water birds, and impacts on wildlife, with Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator for the Farm Worker Association of Florida.

Featured Speakers

Kathryn Gilje, senior organizer at Pesticide Action Network (PAN). Prior to coming to PAN, Kathryn co-founded and co-directed Centro Campesino, a Midwest organization of migrant farmworkers and allies working for fair and healthy communities. She was senior associate with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, where she focused on policy and market support for sustainable agriculture and reforming US farm policy. Kathryn has years of experience working on food, agriculture, policy and social justice issues in the US and internationally. Kathryn speaks Spanish. Read more at Kathryn's Blog.

Vi Waghiyi, Environmental Health and Justice director at Alaska Community Action on Toxics.

Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project coordinator, Farm Worker Association of Florida. Jeannie workers extensively with communities where former farmworkers suffer debilitating health impacts as a result of being forced to work in harsh conditions in close contact with dangerous pesticides over decades. She also works closely with the Lake Apopka communities, a largely African-American farmworker community, that has faced serious, ongoing exposure to pesticides.