THE HAGUE– Six months after hearings were held, the Monsanto tribunal – an international group created to assess the many accusations surrounding the controversial corporation – issued its findings last week in a public presentation in The Hague. Monsanto has drawn strong criticism from around the world for years, most recently following international studies and revelations of the carcinogenic nature of their best-selling pesticide Roundup, also known as glyphosate.
In the past, Monsanto also helped contribute to atomic bomb research and was one of the several companies that produced Agent Orange, which was used to deforest large sections of Vietnam during the U.S. invasion of the country. Agent Orange caused half a million Vietnamese children to be born with deformities and poisoned over 3 million people. Agent Orange is still used as a pesticide for genetically modified (GM) corn in the US.
In addition, Monsanto’s business model for the dissemination of its biotech products has created untold suffering around the world, particularly in India. After genetically modified crops were introduced in the country in 2002, poor Indian farmers became trapped in vicious debt cycles after adopting GM seeds and herbicides. In 2009, the number of GM-debt related suicides was so high that an Indian farmer was estimated to commit suicide every 30 minutes. The situation in India has been seen repeated in several other countries, but Monsanto has yet to be held accountable.