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The Judgement of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, May 2010

Author: Federica Napolitano (E.MA's graduate)

In May 2010, the Permanent People's Tribunal met in Madrid to hold its session on 'The European Union and Transnational Corporations in Latin America: Policies, Instruments and Actors Complicit in Violations of the Peoples' Rights'.

In this session, the TPP examined two cases on human rights violations owing to agrofuels (Agrenco and Louis Dreyfus in Brazil) and considered the arguments challenging the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) adopted by the EU in 2009 under a human rights perspectives.

The final judgement of the TPP recognises that the extension of monocultures for agrofuels is the cause for cultural aggression against and the invasion of indigenous peoples' territories in addition to the destruction of their environment and traditional practices.

The production of agrofuels is denounced also as cause of destruction of the environment and vital resources through the overexploitation of ground water resources.
In considering many cases, among which, those on agrofuels, the PPT recognised "the appearance of a new category of rights violations relating to nature and to harm to future generations, based on the concepts of ecological debt and climate justice."

The PPT recognises the complicity of the EU in the human rights violations, particularly of the right to food, caused by the production of agrofuels, since the quota approved for the use of agrofuels in transport makes obligatory for Member States to produce agrofuels (RED 2009).

Among the others recommendations the PPT gave, following its sentence : it calls on EU institutions "to apply the precautionary principle under Article 191 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union and to impose a moratorium on the increase in the use of biofuels, suspending the 2003 and 2009 directives which promote biofuels, until the impacts of the said decisions on food production and deforestation, among others, have been assessed in detail."

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