This paper focuses on the right to life. Our analysis shows that, by failing to restrict access to highly hazardous pesticides, states violate their obligations under international human rights law.
Suicide by pesticide ingestion is one of the three most common global means of suicide, causing over 150,000 deaths each year. The majority occur in rural agricultural communities, where pesticides are readily available to small-scale farmers and their families in poor under-resourced households.
In addition to enormous individual, communal and societal suffering, as well as public health, economic, and developmental harm, human exposure to pesticides leads to serious human rights violations. This article focuses on the right to life, as the main right impacted by pesticide suicides while touching upon other human rights implications of pesticide self-harm.
Our analysis shows that, by failing to restrict access to highly hazardous pesticides, states violate their obligations under international human rights law. States, businesses and civil society need to apply the human rights-based approach to preventing pesticide suicides and to develop a comprehensive plan to phase out or ban the most harmful pesticides.