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canada denies visa to chief biosafety negotiators from africa

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:19 PM

Just days before the start of negotiations on controversial new measures, Canada has denied a visa to chief African negotiators.

Tewolde :
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, 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.

FoE Togo delegate Agbenyo Dgzobedo also had his visa request denied, by the Canadian Embassy in Accra. The Canadian agent was not convinced Agbenyo would quit Canada after his trip, for reasons related to "his past trips". This is an unconvincing reason because Agbenyo was at the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) in Europe in 2002, the MoP on Biosafety in Malasia last year, as well as several other trips to Europe. He has already been part of the international negotiations for three years, so there was no reason to block him.

Along with Argentina and the United States, Canada is responsible for up to 90 percent of the genetically engineered crops in the world - yet these countries refuse to ratify the global agreement to protect biodiversity.

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of negotiators who stand up to biotech bullies. This is no way to host international negotiations.”

The Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety Friends of the Earth Canada spoke out against the visa refusal .“In effect, Canada is screening out 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.

Read more: open letter from Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

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