Thursday 19 May 2005
Friends of the Earth International
canada denies visa to chief biosafety
negotiator from africa
OTTAWA (Canada) / AMSTERDAM (Netherlands),
May 19, 2005 -- Mere days before beginning
negotiations on controversial new measures
for biosafety, Canada has denied a visa to
the chief negotiator for Africans.
"In effect, Canada is screening out
negotiators who stand up to biotech bullies.
This is no way to host international
negotiations," says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO
of Friends of the Earth Canada.
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabhercc, a highly
respected Ethiopian negotiator, has been a
key figure in African countries' efforts to
protect biodiversity and human beings from
genetically engineered organisms. He was
expected to participate in discussions and
insist on labelling for all genetically
engineered commodities and for liability
protection in cases of damage to the
environment or human beings arising from
products of genetic engineering.
Canada along with Argentina and the United
States may be responsible for up to 90
percent of the genetically engineered crops
in the world; yet Canada and the other two
countries refuse to ratify the global
agreement to protect biodiversity.
"If Canada screens visa for negotiators
based on their positions, Montreal can kiss
its international secretariats good-bye,"
says Ms. Olivastri.
The Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety is the
first international agreement to regulate
trade in genetically engineered organisms. It
was agreed in Montreal in January 2000 and
has now been ratified by 119 countries.
for more information:
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the
Earth Canada (cellular) 613 724 8690
Juan Lopez, Friends of the Earth
International, 39 33 3149 8049
Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety