Syngenta convicted in Brazil

Brazil – 19.11.2015:  On October 21st 2007 around 40 gunmen from the NF Segurança company attacked the Via Campesina encampment located at Syngenta’s GMO experimental site at Santa Tereza do Oeste (PR). The site had been occupied earlier that morning by around 150 members of Via Campesina (LVC) and the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST).

With a 19% share of the agrochemical market and the third highest profits from seed sales worldwide Syngenta, along with other transnational companies, exacerbates the scenario of rural violence by imposing a farming model based on monoculture, gross exploitation of farm workers, environmental degradation, use of pesticides and private appropriate of natural and genetic resources.

The case was taken to court in 2010, as an attempt to get a response from the State regarding Syngenta being responsible for the attack perpetrated by private armed militia. The court sentence ruled (17/11/15) that the company must pay compensation for the moral and material damage it caused.

About the Sentence

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Syngenta_Condenada.pngThe judge found that the fact that took place on Syngenta’s property was nothing less than a massacre. In his sentence the judge states that…

“to refer to what happened as a confrontation is to close one’s eyes to reality, since […] there is no doubt that, in truth, it was a massacre disguised as repossession of property”.

In its defence, Syngenta acknowledged the illegality of the paramilitary action, as well as the ideological nature of the action against Via Campesina and MST. The company stated that…

more than protection of farm properties, it is clear that the militia’s objective was to defend an ideological position contrary to that of the MST [Landless Rural Workers’ Movement], so as to propagate the idea that every action results in a reaction.”

Syngenta’s version; that the attack was not on the orders of landowners, but rather the result of a confrontation between militiamen acting on their own, and members of Via Campesina, was rejected by the Court.