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TWN Info Service on Health Issues (January 07/03)

18 January 2007


Global campaign against Paraquat use

We attach below an appeal to join the campaign against Paraquat use. The campaign is jointly coordinated by Pesticides Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN-AP) and the Berne Declaration.

With best wishes
Evelyne Hong
TWN

Dear Friends at the Asia Pacific Research Network,

Warm greetings from all of us at PAN AP in Penang! 

Before I proceed, I would like to send my most sincerest and best wishes for the New Year.  I send blessings and wishes for good health, wisdom in all your dealings with the world, peace and safety, fulfillment and joy to you all!  

I am writing this urgent message to appeal for your consideration and action on the joint campaign we at PAN AP (along with other PAN centres) have been collaborating on with the Berne Declaration on the Public Case Against Paraquat/ Syngenta. 

Please see:  http://www.stop-paraquat.net/   The voting system is set up to only accept one vote per email address, so we need as many different groups and people from different emails IDs to vote. Berne Declaration is the lead organisation on this campaign. 

You may have also seen the appeal I sent out to all PAN AP partners late last year, to join this campaign and to vote online at the special website above. Thanks in advance for all your support in this matter, we hope you have already voted!  

But our deadline of end January is fast approaching and we have only reached slightly past the half way mark in getting a total of 50,000 votes.  The Berne Declaration will be holding a media event to share the results of the poll and it would be really bad if a very low polling result is shared. 

This is why I am writing. We are appealing to all our partners to make another round of appeals to your partners and friends to PLEASE get online and vote!  

Also, instead of just depending on the internet voting, one idea we had was to get messages of endorsement or support from the Peoples Movements e.g.  Peasants/ Farmers Movements; Workers movements and so on -- big movements with membership of thousands or even millions.  This would be very poignant also because Syngenta is always claiming that they are only serving farmers needs, and that farmers WANT paraquat.

It would be a fantastic boost to the campaign if you could also appeal to the Peoples Movements in your country to send an endorsement message directly to François at food@evb.ch   - I am attaching some examples of the kind of messages you could send BUT please know that we strongly encourage the groups to compose their own messages, especially if they have had experiences with paraquat's negative impacts!    

We really need your help! All and any assistance an advice you can give the campaign will be truly appreciated.

Sincerely and in Solidarity!

Jennifer 

Background:

The herbicide of the Swiss multinational corporation Syngenta poisons tens of thousands of people every year. Paraquat is the world's most controversial herbicide. Not approved for use in Switzerland since 1990 because of the risks associated with it, paraquat is increasingly used in developing countries by plantation workers and small farmers to kill weeds. Thousands poison themselves every year because they lack of protective equipment and clothing or insufficient information. And thousands die a painful accidental death or commit suicide. There is no antidote.

The agrochemical corporation Syngenta of Switzerland sells hundreds of millions of Swiss Francs worth of paraquat every year - putting lives at risk all over the world.  The Berne Declaration, an independent Swiss organization, along with the Pesticide Action Network and numerous other groups call on people everywhere to publicly condemn the inhuman business practices of the Swiss corporation.

Time is short!  The Berne Declaration needs the support of at least 50,000 people by the end of the year, in order to garner a groundswell that would equal a public referendum on this matter.

Please forward this e-mail to all your network partners, relevant citizen's groups and others who would be concerned about the impacts of paraquat and the activities of Syngenta. There must be many more people out there, who are unhappy about a Swiss corporation putting lives at risk for the sake of a greater profit.

Please give this request your immediate attention. Vote Now!

You can also help in the following ways:   

1) If you have an own Website: Download the campaign-banners at  http://www.paraquat.ch/downloads.cfm?setlang=en and put them on your website.

2) Endorse the stop paraquat campaign with the name of your organisation (see the list of supporters at http://www.paraquat.ch/supporter.cfm?setlang=en). To do so, write an email to food@evb.ch .

Jennifer Mourin, Deputy Executive Director
PAN Asia and the Pacific, P.O. Box 1170, 10850 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-6570271 or 604-6560381  Fax: 604-6583960
E-mail (direct): jennifer.mourin@panap.net  E-mail: panap@panap.net  Home Page: www.panap.net

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a global network working to eliminate the human and environmental harm caused by pesticides and to promote biodiversity based ecological agriculture. PAN Asia and the Pacific is committed to the empowerment of people especially women, agricultural workers, peasant and indigenous farmers. We are dedicated to protect the safety and health of people, and the environment from pesticide use and genetic engineering. We believe in a people-centered, pro-women development through food sovereignty, ecological agriculture and sustainable lifestyles.

 


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