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9-Misc: Brazil's Federal Prosecuting Counsel plans lawsuit against National Technical Committee on Biosafety



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TITLE:  CTNBio on the lookout of the Prosecuting Counsel
SOURCE: GM-FREE BRAZIL Bulletin # 23
        Periodical news & analysis of the Campaign For a GM-Free Brazil
DATE:   5 Aug 2005

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CTNBio on the lookout of the Prosecuting Counsel
Prosecuting Counsel plans a lawsuit against the Committee if the body
does follow its recommendations

The Federal Prosecuting Counsel is planning a lawsuit against the CTNBio
(National Technical Committee on Biosafety) due to its decision of
approving the commercialization of cottonseeds with up to 1% of
transgenic contamination, which was considered illegal.

The author of the lawsuit, solicitor Ana Paula Mantovani, argues that the
decision did not take into account potential impacts on food security,
human health and environmental risks. She also alleges that the
resolution was taken without the approval of two-thirds of the 18 members
that compose the CTNBio, as settled by the federal law.

In order to prevent the Committee's decision to be accomplished, the
Prosecuting Counsel has already sent recommendations to the body itself
and to the ministries of the Environment, Health and Agriculture. These
institutions have 10 business days (counting from the 20th of July) to
deliberate on the subject and proclaim their positions.

Until now, these recommendations have worked as an alert, however, if the
evidences presented by the CTNBio are not convincing enough, the
Prosecuting Counsel might go ahead with the lawsuit.

The next target of the Counsel will be the liberalization of the
genetically modified cotton, known as Bollgard and developed by Monsanto,
for the 2005/2006 harvest.


Achievements

Whilst the new Science and Technology Minister, Sergio Rezende, announces
that the government will be trying hard to finish the regulation process
of the Biosafety Law before the next harvest (September), some
achievements have been made by the Campaign for a GM Free Brazil.

Last week, the National Platform of Rights to Food, Water and Rural Land
sent a special report to the Civil Cabinet, which subject was the
regulation of the Biosafety Law. The report is based on denounces of
ethical issues involving the Working Group entitled of the regulation
process, accusations made by the organizations of the Campaign, and also
expresses the claims of the civil society regarding the new CTNBio.

Another accomplishment was the document signed by the Ministry of Defense
regarding the letter that demanded the interruption of GM corn import
from Argentina, which was sent in June by the Campaign for a GM Free
Brazil. The request was forwarded to all ministries that compose the CNBS
(National Council on Biosafety) and the first, and positive, response was
received last week.

The document recommends that, before any further import of transgenic
corn, some new risk assessments should be performed on the variety of MON
863 taking into account "more trustful basis". The case of the GM corn
was analyzed by the Department of Health and Social Welfare of the
Ministry. The letter also asks the other ministries at the CNBS to
endorse its opinion.

One week later, there was the time of the Ministry of the Environment to
agree with the request from civil organizations and demand for the
immediate suspension of the transgenic corn entry in Brazil. This
Ministry asks the subject to be taken into consideration by the Council
in a matter of urgency.

On the next meeting of the CNBS its members will have to discuss not only
the regulation of the Biosafety Law, but also the recommendations and
requests of these two ministries.


GM-FREE BRAZIL - An international periodical news & analysis bulletin on
the development of the struggle against GMOs in Brazil. Published by
Assessoria e Serviços a Projetos em Agricultura Alternativa (AS-PTA).
Editor: Sabrina Petry. The Campaign For a GM-Free Brazil is a collective
of Brazilian NGOs and social movements. AS-PTA main office: Rua da
Candelária, 9/6o / Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Phone: 0055-21-2253-
8317 Fax: 0055-21-2233-363 E-mail: imprensa@aspta.org.br




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