Greenpeace calls govts to make GE industry pay for damages

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New Delhi, May 24 (UNI) Claiming that at least 216 cases of contamination were caused by Gentically Engineered organisms in 57 countries, Greenpeace has asked the Government to oppose Japan and Brazil which blocked an attempt to introduce rules to hold GE companies liable for such acts.

The governments, including that of India, who had participated in the Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Biosafety Protocol last week failed to agree on clear rules to make GE polluters pay for the damage their crops cause to biodiversity, human health, farmers and the environment, greenpeace said in a statement here today.

However, all governments have agreed to continue negotiations for a legally binding international regime on liability for GE organisms. But they have not yet managed to reach agreement on the details of how this would work, it said.

The next meeting of the Biosafety Protocol is scheduled to take place in Japan in 2010. If Japan continues to block agreement on this crucial decision, the international community must find a less hostile host, greenpeace demanded.

In the last MoP it is good news that all countries signed on to legally binding rules in principle, but the destructive attitude of Japan and Brazil gives real concern for future negotiations, Dr Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International genetic engineering expert, said.

"These governments have attempted to take a monkey wrench to the talks in an effort to exempt the GE industry from liability for the damages caused by their dangerous crops. Other countries must not allow this and they must agree to a deal that ensures that GE polluters pay, he added.

The costs of an illegal GE rice contamination in the US, uncovered in 2006, could exceed 1.2 billion dollars. These damages have to be paid for, Dr Stabinsky said.

UNI/JSS LS HT1738

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