Press Release

Complaint on farmers’ Human rights’ violation submitted to NHRC by Dr Vandana Shiva and Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary

 New Delhi, 10th Oct 16:  Dr Vandana Shiva,Founder of Navdanya ,the seed savers and organic farmers movement in India ,along with Dr. Krishan Bir Chaudhary President of the Bhartiya Krishak Samaj submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)  on Monday ,the 10th of October ,2016  asking the commission to examine the epidemic of farmers suicides in India, and instruct the Government to stop this violation of the Human Rights of Farmers .

 More than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1995 when Globalisation and WTO forced India to allow Multinational Corporations to Enter India’s Seed Sector .

  The complaint highlights various aspects of human rights violations by MNCs and how these actions has resulted in the present agrarian crisis and is prepared in compliance with the standards set forth in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, as amended in 2006, and the NHRC (Procedure) Regulations, 1994, as amended in 1997.

 The complaint also submitted to the commission lists of hundreds of thousands of farmers who committed suicide largely due to a debt trap created by dependence on high costs seeds and chemicals . These lists have been prepared over 2 decades of Navdanya’s/Research Foundation’s primary field work in the suicide belts, which are also largely the cotton belts.

 Along with the complaint Dr. Shiva submitted extensive analysis of Bt Cotton in Vidharba and Maharashtra region that highlight how Bt Cotton has not only a fraud, but Monsanto cheated Indian farmers and destroyed their lands, native seeds and directly caused indebtedness and suicides.

 Last year in 2015, for example the cotton farmers of Punjab suffered a loss of about Rs 70,000 crore due to the junk Bt Cotton seed and Bayer’s Oberon pesticide both of which failed. The complaints include detailed list of farmers that have committed suicide during the last 15 years.

 It was only last week that the International Court of Justice expanded its scope to include crimes against the environment  as an aspect of the violation of t human rights globally. The complaints want the NHRC to take cognizance of Monsanto’s crimes against the poor Indian cotton farmers and the failure of the government to take action to prevent the crimes against farmers .

 With over 300,000 farmers suicides in India and about 84% of them in the Bt Cotton belt there is ample proof that assert Bt Cotton is directly responsible for trapping farmers in debt and suicide cycle. In fact the Chair of the Maharashtra Government’s Special Task Force on Agrarian Distress , Kishor Tiwari has called Bt Cotton “a killer crop” that is directly responsible for the agrarian distress, farmers’ suicides and drought in Maharashtra. The petitioners call on the NHRC to examine these issues as the violations of the human rights of farmers .

 Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary said, “There is illegal collection of royalties of  Rs 5000 crore by Monsanto from Indian farmers . These corporations have profited from the blood of 300,000 Indian farmers. This is genocide and Monsanto should be made liable for its crimes and the farmers’ kin should be compensated immediately.”

 “Bt Cotton seeds are seeds of suicide. Wherever they are grown they have only brought death and debt to the farmer. If you look at Punjab or Vidharba number of suicides have increased. Debt has risen and the rural economy has been ruined. Today, the government has also realized this and that is the reason it issued the price control notification and the Maharashtra government appointed Kishore Tiwari. We now hope that NHRC will hear the voice of Indian farmers and act on their behalf to ensure Indian farmers’ rights are protected,” said Dr. Shiva.

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About Navdanya

Navdanya means “nine seeds” (symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity) and also the “new gift” (for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift – it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.

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