viernes, 12 de junio de 2009

South African government non-compliance with national and international law on access to information

Take Action! Write to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry demanding access to information on GMOs

On 14th January 2009 the African Centre for Biosafety wrote to the
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Lulama Xingwama, alerting
her to the fact that South Africa is not complying with an important
provision in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This provision
obliges a governments who is a Party to the Protocol to share
information and decisions taken on GMO approvals by posting this
information to an international website called the Biosafety Clearing
House. South Africa has failed to post any of this information,,
despite being a Party to the Protocol since 2003. We asked that the
Minister ensure compliance within 30 days of receiving our letter,
failing which we would lay a complaint with the Compliance Committee
set up under the Protocol.

This has not happened, but as there is now a new Minister in place,
we decided to write again before going to the International body. In
the meantime, the Constitutional Court has handed down judgment in the
case between Biowatch South Africa and the GMO Registrar, which
further strengthens our request. The 11 judges agreed unanimously that
the State is duty bound to facilitate access to information that
should be in the public domain. We pointed this out in our new letter,
faxed to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tina
Joemat Pieterse, on 5 June 2009.

Without access to information there is no way that we can engage
meaningfully in decision-making on GMOs or assert our rights! Please
read our two letters and fax Minister Pieterse supporting ACB's
position and your own feelings on the matter.

Download and view the letters sent by ACB.

To show your support for our call to government, please send a fax

Minister Tina Joemat Pieterse

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Private Bag X250



Fax: (012) 321 8558

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