Occupations in Brazil Today Follow Emergency Global Day of Action on March 3
Thursday morning 300 peasants organized by La Via Campesina occupied the meeting of the Brazil National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBio) in Brasilia, which was convening to discuss the release of three new varieties of transgenic plants in Brazil including a request by FuturaGene to legalize their genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. The CTNBio meeting was interrupted and eventually cancelled.
Earlier this morning, 1,000 women of the Brazil Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) from the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais occupied the operations of FuturaGene Technology Brazil Ltda, a subsidiary of Suzano timber corporation, in the municipality of Itapetininga, in São Paulo. This location is where transgenic eucalyptus, known as H421 is being developed and tested. During the protest, the MST destroyed the seedlings of transgenic eucalyptus trees there and denounced the potential impacts that would be caused by the release of transgenic eucalyptus if approved by CTNBio.
According to Atiliana Brunetto, a member of the National MST, the impending historic decision of CTNBio regarding GE eucalyptus trees must respect the Brazilian legislation and the Biodiversity Convention to which Brazil is a signatory. “The precautionary principle is always ignored by CTNBio. The vast majority of its members are placed in favor of business interests of the large multinationals at the expense of environmental, social and public health consequences,” he says.
“If approved by the committee these GE faster growing eucalyptus will mature in only 4 years, as opposed to 6-7 years presently in non-GMO eucalyptus,” said Catiane Cinelli, a member of the Rural Women’s Movement. “The water consumption will increase 25 to 30 liters / day per GE eucalyptus over what is currently used. We are again calling attention to the danger of green deserts.”
The actions in Brazil today follow on the heels of an Emergency Global Day of Action Against GE Trees on Tuesday which saw protests on four continents in opposition to the approval of GE eucalyptus trees by CTNBio in Brazil. The Global Day of Action was organized by the Campaign to STOP GE Trees.
In the US, a similar request to the USDA from GE tree company ArborGen to legalize their GE eucalyptus trees is currently pending.
The Campaign to STOP GE Trees is an international alliance of organizations mobilized to protect forests and biodiversity and to support communities threatened by the dangerous release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.
In November 2014 members of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees joined scientists, foresters, agronomists, Indigenous Peoples and other experts from six continents met in Asunción, Paraguay to discuss the problem of genetically engineered trees. They recently finalized the Asunción Declaration, which calls for the outright rejection of all GE trees, including those in field trials. This declaration was also submitted to CTNBio as part of the global day of action.