GM multinationals condemned by Pope
Multinationals condemned by Pope
Richard Owen in Rome
The Times, March 19 2009
*Pope releases draft document to African bishops accusing multinationals of 'invading' Africa and 'defiling God's creation'
Pope Benedict XVI has given African bishops a draft document that accuses multinationals of "invading" Africa in search of natural resources and damaging the environment by "defiling God's creation".
The document, to be debated at a Synod of African bishops in Rome in October, says "outside forces" collude with corrupt leaders to fuel wars by trafficking arms without respect for human rights or democracy, "exploiting the wounded state of the human heart".
Multinationals "back those in power, irrespective of human rights and democratic principles, so as to guarantee economic benefits through the exploitation of natural resources" the document maintains. "They threaten to destabilise entire nations".
It adds that "in complicity with African leaders, they oppress local companies, buy thousands of hectares of land and expropriate populations from their land." It also attacks producers of genetically modified foods. The document does not however name the multinationals or specific African countries or leaders.
The Pope leaves Cameroon tomorrow for Angola, where he will preside over two masses and meet representatives of women's groups and Angolan youth.