From the University of Rosario to the UN for herbicides

From the University of Rosario to the UN for herbicides

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The director of the Institute of Social and Environmental Health (UNR), Damián Verzeñassi, will present to a specialized committee of the United Nations the experience of the health camps carried out in Santa Fe and Entre Ríos. The work in the camps shows the direct relationship between diseases and the agro-industrial model that generates them.

“Hopefully this recognition that I have to live as a representative of the UNR team will help the authorities understand that our work is not against them, but in favor of the peoples, and that necessary and urgent dialogues be resumed to advance in the defense of the community health ”, confided the researcher.

Verzeñassi's presentation will be as a member of the work team and director of the Instituto de Salud Socioambiental, which depends on the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the National University of Rosario (UNR). It will be in Munich (Germany) before a UN committee where they will give details about the field work and the results of the Health Camps developed in the 37 towns and cities of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos, and the relationship between the pathologies detected and the agro-industrial model. The doctor and teacher will also speak on the subject before the European Parliament in Brussels and will participate in Geneva in a work in the Society of Critical Scientists of Switzerland with the director of Monograph 112 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC for its acronym) in English), which was the work by which the herbicide glyphosate was reclassified as a probable human carcinogen.

Verzeñassi's participation is framed in the 64th meeting of the UN Committee for Economic, Social, Cultural and Human Rights. The first major activity on his agenda was this Friday at the presentation, in the German city of Munich, of the film Glyphosate in front of its judges by Marie-Monique Robin, which recounts what happened at the 2016 Monsanto International Court, where the Rosario doctor was invited to testify as a witness. Later he participated in meetings with agroecological producers in the Bavarian area.

As of Monday Verzeñassi will be in Geneva for the presentation before the UN committee. The itinerary will be completed with meetings with members of the European Parliament and personalities such as Jean Ziegler, the author of The New Masters of the World. They will also participate in meetings with the Austrian and German ministers of the Environment and Agro-industry and with European parliamentarians before the official meeting to be held in Brussels (Netherlands). He will eventually return to Switzerland to work with the scientists who participated in the glyphosate reclassification work.

Argentine reality:

In a talk that the physician had withThe capital Prior to his trip, he stated that "this invitation is a recognition of the work done by the entire teaching team of the Institute of Socio-Environmental Health, since it is not possible to support everything we do if it were not collectively."

Verzeñassi reported that they received as "a real surprise" the invitation of a German organization that works as an advisor to the UN councils to participate in the presentation that the Argentine government will make this year before the UN Committee for Economic and Social Rights. Cultural and Human, regarding their policies on these issues. “Specifically, the lawyer Juan Ignacio Pereyra —who also participated in the Monsanto Tribunal— and me as a representative of the medical part were asked to present an alternative report on the impacts on human, economic and social rights of the agroindustrial policy of the Argentine government. For this reason, Juan Ignacio focused on the legal part and I addressed the health issue, presenting the results of all the health camps carried out, contextualized in the process of the prevailing production model in the country ”.

This meeting of the UN Committee for Human Rights takes place at the juncture of a discussion that is taking place throughout Europe on transgenics and the need for their labeling in foods that contain them. In addition, in France, the glyphosate ban is being discussed with obvious political tensions between the defenders of the law promoted by Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and members of the same ruling party who voted against the ban and that it was a real scandal.

European raid:

The doctor from Rosario will present, together with Pereyra, the Argentine reality in health matters on Monday and Tuesday of next week before the members of the aforementioned UN committee.

After a series of meetings and conferences to be held in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the itinerary of Argentine professionals will continue in Brussels, in mid-October, with a presentation before the members of the European Parliament on “a report on the impact it has on Argentine health, this model that combines GMOs and pesticides ”.

In addition, between October 13 and 22, Verzeñassi will be in Zurich meeting with Christopher Portier, who is the epidemiologist who directed the monograph 112 of the IARC, the scientific work that allowed the reclassification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Together with Portier, Verzeñassi will develop a research work based on the results of the health camps. They will also lay the groundwork for replicating a line of work similar to health camps in Europe.

“This type of calls and recognition, by the recognized world scientific community, organizations such as the UN or members of the European Parliament, highlight the importance and value of field work carried out in health camps and that many Sometimes in our country there is no real dimension of its scope. It happens to us that while in Argentina we are attacked for making visible information that is not pleasant and that we collect from the citizens themselves, instead of dealing with the problem, the authorities end up wanting to kill the messenger. However, this recognition of our work strengthens us and supports the seriousness and rigor with which we work from the public university ”, expressed Verzeñassi.

Source: The Capital

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