KUALA LUMPUR (MALAYSIA) – United Nations (UN) talks on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), called the “Biosafety Protocol”, started today in Kuala Lumpur. Friends of the Earth International is calling on all Parties of the UN GMO Treaty to adopt strict rules to protect citizens worldwide from the risks derived from GMOs. The main obstacle is the U.S. Government and its GMO producer allies: Argentina and Canada. These countries are promoting weak standards that will deny consumers the right to know what’s in their food and will not adequately protect citizens and the environment from risks.
Juan López of Friends of the Earth International commented:
“The US is again boycotting a multilateral agreement and is trying to impose its own standards on the rest of the world. The experience with GM crops in the last ten years shows that their safety cannot be ensured, and they have created serious new problems like genetic contamination. The world urgently needs an international law to make biotech polluters pay.”
Friends of the Earth advocates that any biotech corporation or entity releasing GMOs into the environment should be strictly liable in case any damage happens to the environment, human health, or the livelihoods of citizens and farmers. While damage from GMOs is already occurring today, and the majority of developing countries consider it absolutely necessary to create an international liability regime, the U.S, Canada and Argentina as the main GMO producers, adamantly oppose such a regime.
Also, products containing GMOs should be clearly identified and labelled in order to guarantee the consumer right to choose. But again, U.S. led coalition opposes these measures and is using bilateral agreements to make countries agree on weak labelling standards. Mexico, a Party to the Biosafety Protocol has already signed with the U.S. and Canada an agreement which would not allow Mexican citizens to know whether there are GMOs in the food. The U.S has already approached other countries like Japan, China and South Korea to convince them to have weak labelling standards.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY :
6 Metre high GMO corn cob and citizens greet officials arriving at Global GMO treaty meeting: Monday 8am Putra Centre Kuala Lumpur.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IN KUALA LUMPUR:
Shao Loong, Friends of the Earth Malaysia, Tel: +60126199234
Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Africa, Tel: +60162800642
Juan Lopez, Friends of the Earth International, Tel: +60-123952149
Liana Stupples, Friends of the Earth England, Wales, Northern Ireland
Karin Nansen, Friends of the Earth South America, Tel: +60176570826
Geert Ritsema, Friends of the Earth Europe,Tel: +60176570825
Julio Sanchez, Friends of the Earth in CentralAmerica, Tel: +60176570826