First Assembly Against Agrotoxin Contamination “Towards a National Platform of Agrotoxin Victim” in Paraguay

[img_assist|nid=362|title=Asamblea|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=113]More that one hundred representatives of native and peasant communities affected by agrotoxins, as well as civil society organizations are meeting in Asuncion this week.

Thursday 16 of April at 9 o’clock , the first Assembly Against Agrotoxin Contamination, “Towards a Coordinadora of Agrotoxin Victims,” got started in the offices of the Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Asuncion, Paraguay.

On April 18th, international day of farmers struggle the assembly marched through Asuncion. View more

The objective of this two-day Assembly is to create the basis for a Coordinadora that serves as an autonomous and open space, where different communities and persons affected by agrotoxins can come together with concerned civil society organizations.

Every day more and more native and peasant, rural and urban, communities, are affected by the indiscriminate use of agrotoxins in large scale industrial agriculture, principally in the production of soybeans.

By contaminating rivers and land, environmental and human health are drastically affected, impoverishing and threatening the future of native and peasant communities. The erosion of these communities due to this contamination is one of the main causes of the increase in the poverty belts around the main cities of the country.

All legal attempts to stop the agrotoxin sprayings that are not abiding to Paraguayan environmental laws have shown that in the end business interests are above human rights and the protection of life.

Two bills being presented in the Senate threaten to make the situation even worse: the “Law to control fitosanitary products” which would give SENAVE (National Plant and Seed Quality and Health Service) complete authority over the control of the use of agrotoxins, and the “Law for the protection of invetsment” which would open the way for the violent repression of people without court orders.

Today participants will get a chance to talk with Senators, members of the Commisions that are discussing the agrotoxin bill. Tomorrow at 15.30 there will be a debate with government authorities on policies related to agrotoxin contamination, and its effects on health and youth. Among these, the Minister of the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN), Camilo Soares, and the Minister of the National Secretariat for Children and Adolescents (SNNA), Liz Torres, have confirmed their presence.

The fate of these Paraguayan communities, abandoned and endangered, has raised international concern and support. Tomorrow there will be a demonstration in Berlin, Germany in front of the Paraguayan Embassy organized by different organizations and activist groups worried about the level of agrotoxin contamination in the country. And Saturday 18, agricultural and environmental groups will carry out a march in Zaragoza, Spain in favor of the production and consumption of food without GMOs from Paraguay and other countries.