WILPF CENTENNIAL CONGRESS
22-25 April, 2015 – Submitted for approval by WILPF US to the International Peace Congress at The Hague, April 2015. (This is the 100th Anniversary Peace Congress of International Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.)
DATE: December 12, 2014 HUMAN RIGHT TO HEALTH & SAFE FOOD
PROPOSER: This is a joint proposal of the United States Section’s Earth Democracy Issue Committee and the Corporations v. Democracy Issue Committees.
INTRODUCTION: Why shall the Congress approve the draft resolution?
- Human life is threatened by increasing amounts of toxic herbicides used on food crops and weeds by industrial agriculture. New scientific reports are beginning to link the use of glyphosate, an herbicide manufactured of Monsanto and overused by industrial agriculture, with serious damage to human cells and embryos. Contrary to the statements of Monsanto, glyphosate does accumulate in human tissue and has been detected in the breast milk of nursing mothers and in human urine. Independent research, while just beginning, is continuing to link glyphosate exposure to devastating birth defects, disease and endocrine disruption.
- Meanwhile the public is kept misinformed about the health risks and disengaged by conflicting information. “Accepted research” is owned and funded by the manufacturers of the herbicides.
Independent research results that contradict the corporate research are under-funded, under-reported and deliberately attacked as bad science. This is set in the larger context and false frame that only industrial agriculture can support and feed the planet, despite the proven damage to soil health of these herbicides. This one-size-size-fits-all solution is promoted without substantive inquiry into the capacity and successful models of more sustainable agriculture.
- Increasingly world democracies are blatantly for sale to the highest bidder, with corruption becoming an acceptable part of ‘doing business’. Corporate executives and their lobbyists influence elected officials and regulators to gain regulatory approval of herbicides which have been not been adequately tested by independent (not corporate manufacture owned or funded) researchers. Elected officials and judges prioritize corporate profits, trade advantages and ‘jobs creation’ above the long term implications for health, future generations and the health of our soil and planet.
- The price of this corruption is a clear decline in participatory democracy and a growing lack of public faith government and elections, and ultimately in the rule of law. When a system no longer serves the greater good, but preferences the elite few, citizens of the world feel their voices and votes do not matter, their personhood has been stolen.
It is appropriate that WILPF US and International Sections of WILPF take action to endorse and collaborate on the HUMAN RIGHT TO HEALTH & SAFE FOOD CAMPAIGN.
We are a woman’s organization, with male members, representing the rights and vulnerabilities of women and children around the world in the context of war, militarization and violence. Increasingly we see that the root causes of these are resource conflicts targeting land, land use, oil, mineral resources, natural gas and water. Deprivation and lack of access to food and water affects everyone, but the impact is greater among women and children.
Children can not wait for nutritional food until peace is established. Their bones and minds are forming now and damage done during their formative years will be a source of vulnerability their entire lives.
Women are life-givers, tasked traditionally across cultures with forming and nurturing the human race. We also bear the responsibility for food gathering, water carrying, food preparation, caring for the most vulnerable and providing nutritious meals and safe water to our families. In much of the world, women are also the majority of farmworkers, nurturing seedlings and carrying water.
To fulfill this role in a war torn nation is nearly impossible and frequently life-threatening. In a world where water is unsafe, where chemicals used by industrial agriculture threaten to make food a health threat, women are caught in the crosshairs of this issue and are unable to fulfill their nurturing role. This is a human rights abuse and betrayal of public trust. The corporate response of privatizing water is merely a political tool to further economically disadvantage the poor
Women, as the foundation of families and the defenders of peace, must have access to clean fresh water and safe, nutritious toxin-free food that can sustain ourselves, our children and our families. Indeed there is no role women fulfill, beyond giving birth, which is as basic and as intertwined in the role of Creation as this simple act of feeding and nurturing. There is no failure of government as personal and as pernicious as food that is a health threat or water that is contaminated, or laws that are subverted to put profits ahead of life.
With increasing scientific evidence that industrialized agriculture is making food crops and processed foods less safe for human consumption, and the chemicals they use are making the world’s waters more contaminated by herbicides, pesticides, animal waste, and threatening both human and marine biodiversity, it is time to educate and mobilize the public, especially women. It is imperative that we put pressure on corporations, elected officials and regulators to put aside these toxic chemicals in favor of more sustainable methods of agriculture and weed control that will support life on the planet.
WILPF US calls on our members and ALL WOMEN the world over to stand up and demand a reversal of a policy that wrongly prioritizes profits over the long term health of people and the sustainability of our soil, water and planet. In particular, we target the use and promotion of the herbicide glyphosate – as marketed by Monsanto, and tied through corrupt corporate/governmental alliances to international trade and economic aid agreements – as being anti-human, anti-water, anti-soil, and ultimately anti-life.
This resolution corresponds with these WILPF aims and principles:
Because war and conflict are increasingly fought over resources, including food and water, WILPF’s aims of peace-seeking and preventing war are addressed in this resolution. Over-use of these herbicides threaten the health of soil, which ultimately reduces the planet’s capacity to produce nutrient-rich food. In addition, these herbicides run off and ‘drift’ into waterways, making water supplies less safe through contamination. Also this contamination of food and water adversely affects women and children, so our resolution addresses the defense of the human rights of women, human rights in general, and Women, Peace and Security.
This resolution is based on the existing WILPF-US campaign on the Human Right to Health & Safe Food of the Earth Democracy Issue Committee and the work of the Corporations v Democracy Issue Committee. Internationally it relates to the work of the Environmental Working Group and the rights of women.
RESOLUTION: The Human Right to Health & Safe Food
Whereas, health and nutrition are basic rights recognized by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights* but food and crops that are harmful to health are not nutritious and are an attack on the people dependent on food and crops;
Whereas, a range of serious and deadly health conditions are linked to exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides (Roundup/glyphosate, Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo, etc.) used in agricultural production, municipal and household lawn and garden care*;
Whereas, since 1993, Monsanto has been aware that even middle and low doses of glyphosate, in Roundup, can cause malformations, disease and birth defects*;
Whereas, trace amounts of glyphosate can occur on raw, cooked and processed food and contribute to accumulating body burden of harmful chemicals over a lifetime;
Whereas, the recent report, “Roundup and Birth Defects: is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?”* by 8 experts, calls for the immediate withdrawal of Roundup and glyphosate from the European Union till an independent scientific evaluation is done, signaling that critical information on the dire effects of these chemicals has been withheld from the public*;
Whereas, by allowing corporate profits based on deception, withholding of information and the failure of nations to regulate the use of harmful products, nations are denying basic human rights;
Whereas, when basic human rights are denied and corporations are allowed to cause devastating effects to the world and its people, political, economic and social instability results, thus undermining the very basis for peace and freedom in the world;
Wherefore, the members of the Centennial Congress of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom resolve to:
- Create an educational and action campaign on the Human Right to Health and Safe Food to educate the public, farmers and regulators on the serious health impacts of exposure these herbicides;
- Investigate for published studies and research on the current health impacts and contamination of farmworkers, people living nearby chemicals use, and the environment and drinking water sources; and
- Create action campaigns appropriate to local and national conditions to phase out or restrict use of such chemicals in agricultural production and municipal and household lawn and garden care.