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Greenpeace Calls Brazil’s Biosecurity Bill Unconstitutional

The non-governmental organization (NGO), Greenpeace, released a note summoning civil society to mobilize against the production of genetically modified food products and to demand the President to veto the Biosecurity Law bill that was passed yesterday by Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies.

According to Greenpeace, the project, as approved, makes environmental licensing optional, removing the obligation to present environmental impact studies.

Greenpeace points out that the first version of the Biosecurity Law project was drafted in June, 2003, by an inter-ministerial group, with the participation of civil society.

The chief elements of the text were the need for the Ministry of Environment to evaluate environmental impacts and for the Ministry of Health to evaluate food security, after the Ministry of Science and Technology made its own evaluation, with each Ministry possessing constitutional jurisdiction to evaluate the risks involved in allowing products to be commercialized.

For the NGO, the version that was approved yesterday removes jurisdiction from the Ministries of Environment, Health, and Agriculture to decide on the liberation of transgenic varieties and concentrates in the National Technical Commission of Biosecurity (CTNBio) all decision-making power over the liberation of genetically modified organisms and the capacity to determine whether there is a need to present studies on environmental and human health impacts.

Greenpeace considers inconstitutional the project as passed, since Article 225 of the Federal Constitution stipulates the need for prior study of activities with the potential to cause an impact on the environment.

For the ONG, it is up to consumers and citizens to demand that their wishes be upheld, as well as being given full right to information.

Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil


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