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Soy and human rights violations Paraguay

They will denounce the agroexport model that not only destroys (agro-) biodiversity, but also leads to violent land evictions and intoxications of the rural population through agrochemical fumigations.

The new report called ‘Paraguay Sojero’ (Soy producer Paraguay), compiled by Grupo de Reflexión Rural, exposes the widespread human rights violations, including biodiversity destruction, related to soy expansion in Paraguay. Javiera Rulli, one of the authors, says: “Ongoing human rights violations in Paraguay go hand in hand with the advancement of soy monocultures. Agribusiness corporations knowingly take advantage of the fact that in Paraguay corruption florishes, while environmental  regulations or human rights are not respected”.

The report will be launched at the Alternative Forum to the MOP3-COP8 conferences, on Monday 20 March, from 9-13.30 hrs. The launch is part of the Morning Panel titled: ‘The real agenda of Monsanto and its consequences in Latin America – Testimonies of the Victims of Agribusiness’, organised by the Agribusiness Observatory Network for a Human Agriculture.
Grupo de Reflexión Rural, GRAIN and Accion Ecologica, part of this network, have invited a delegation of ‘Victims of Agribusiness’ to a range of activities during MOP3-COP8. From Paraguay,  Petrona Villasboa, member of CONAMURI (Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women), will present her fight for justice after her son was killed by agrochemicals fumigations of GM soy fields. Jorge Galeano, leader of the Movimiento Agrario y Popular, will account of the repression of peasant organisations and violent land evictions taking place in, orchestrated by soy producers. Both their cases are described in the report.

At the same time, two other publications dealing with GM soy expansion, in Paraguay and Brazil, will be presented.
Javiera Rulli, one of the authors of the report, as well as Petrona Villasboa and Jorge Galeano, will be available for interviews after the Morning Panel, and further throughout the period March 13-21. Photos, articles and press releases and the report ‘Paraguay Sojero’ are available from the website of Grupo de Reflexión Rural: http://www.grr.org.ar

Background
The expansion of soy monocultures is causing a wave of environmental and social destruction throughout the  MERCOSUR. The Biodiversity Convention does not succeed to counteract the free trade policies headed by the  WTO, that are at the basis of the expansion of industrial agriculture. Equally, the Convention fails to provide any protection for local and indigenous communities, that according to the Convention are main actors in saving biodiversity.

The situation in Paraguay presents the most pronounced case of this violence against the rural and indigenous population. So y monocultures cover 2 million hectares, causing a great loss of (agro)biodiversity and food security. Communities are frequently threatened by violent evictions, carried out with help of corrupt police forces and paramilitaries. Intensive fumigations with agrochemicals intoxicate people, animals, destroy harvests, contaminate water sources and ruin rural livelihoods. Companies like Cargill and Monsanto are amongst those most benefiting from the expansion of soy production.

Jorge Galeano witnessed the infamous eviction of June 24 2005 in the community of Tekojoja, where a group of soy producers and hired policemen expelled 270 people from their lands, burnt 54 houses and adjacent fields, arrested 130 people and killed two.
 
In 2003, Petrona Villasboa and her entire family were poisoned after fumigations with glyphosate by a GM soy producer next to their farm. Her 11 years old son Silvino Talavera died. Petrona and CONAMURI is fighting a legal battle for justice against the two soy producers envolved.
These cases are just examples of the consequences of soy expansion, suffered by small producers and indigenous communities in the countryside of MERCOSUR countries.