GENET archive


6-Regulation: Brazil's biosafety law alleged to be unconstitutional

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TITLE:  Biosafety Law alleged to be unconstitutional
DATE:   30 Jun 2005

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Biosafety Law alleged to be unconstitutional
Solicitor general tries to obtain a petition against the Biosafety Law

Last week, the solicitor general of the Republic, Claudio Fonteles, has
pleaded a lawsuit of unconstitutionality regarding the Biosafety Law on
the Federal Supreme Court. Fonteles argues that the CTNBio (National
Technical Committee on Biosafety) can not decide solely on the
liberalization of genetic modified organisms and should not be the only
instance to decide on the transgenic issues in the country.

On its lawsuit, the solicitor general also argues that the Committee does
not have enough competence to decide whether the new varieties of
genetically modified might need risk assessments.

This is the second time Fonteles is questioning the Biosafety Law. In
May, he entered a lawsuit against the article that gives permit to
researches using embryonic stem-cells. On its second lawsuit, however,
the solicitor general asserts that the new law violates the precautionary
principle and the principles of democracy, independence and harmony of
the three Powers. His action has been requested by the Green Party, Idec
(Institute of Consumers Defense) and the Prosecuting Counsel.

According to Fonteles, the Biosafety Law could not have left the CTNBio
as being the only instance responsible for analyzing the risks involving
GMOs. Moreover, he states that the environment preservation is a task to
be dealt together by the Union, the States and the City Councils,
although the new law has made an attempt for these two lasts instances to
submit their environmental policies to the federal level.

"It is against the federal regime a law that establishes that the City
Council and the State must ask permission to the Federal Union in order
to exercise their legitimate power of administration police, to organise
their environmental duties or simply to apply the instruments regulated
by the National Policy on Environment. Any rules that might restrict the
competence of the federate members is an insult to the National
Constitution", said Fonteles.

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:


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