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Monsanto to Stand Trial for Child's Death and Effects of Controversial Weed Killer

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.
It has been almost nine years since the death of the Paraguayan child Silvino Talavera, and Monsanto Company has yet to acknowledge that it has anything to do with it.

Eleven-year old Silvino was on the way home on January 2, 2003, passing next to fields growing glyphosate resistant soybeans. He had meat and noodles that his mother asked him to buy for lunch. Suddenly, he was enveloped in a cloud of the toxic herbicide Round-up (glyphosate), being sprayed on the genetically-modified crops from a tractor.

After they ate the meat and noodles, all the family fell ill with nausea and stomach ache, and his younger sister was taken to a hospital. A few days later, a cocktail of pesticides containing glyphosate was again sprayed 15 meters away from Silvino's house. The family, seeking protection, gathered inside one room, but the strong winds carried the pesticides inside the house. Silvino and his sister Sofia became very ill. Their mother again took them to the hospital, where Silvino died on January 7.

It was a clear case of poisoning, and yet Monsanto, the U.S.-based manufacturer of glyphosate, was never held liable by any court of law. This is the anomaly that the Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations (TNCs) seeks to correct.

To be held in India on December 3 to 6, 2011, the PPT will try the six largest agrochemical TNCs-Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, and BASF-for various human rights violations. "Our hope is that after the PPT, these corporations will become accountable for the damage they have done, and that new communities will come forward to join our fight against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and pesticides. We also expect that this pressure from the PPT will prevent the introduction of new GMOs to the market," said Javier Souza, regional coordinator of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Latin America and chair of PAN International.