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Govt Asked to Intervene as Scientist Refused Visa

Government Asked to Intervene as Leading Biosafety Scientist Refused Visa

GE Free NZ in food and environment are calling on the New Zealand Government to seek clarification about Canada's refusal of a visa for a leading scientist to attend meetings finalising the Cartegena Protocol.

Prominent Ethiopian scientist Dr Tewolde Egziabher has been denied a visa even though he is a respected scientist and champion of biodiversity. Tewolde received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the alternative Nobel prize) from the King of Sweden in 2000. He is considered by some to be the father of the Biosafety Protocol.

The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the biosafety protocol (The Cartegena Protocol) in 2000 to help ensure the safe transfer, handling, and use of living genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that could have an adverse effect on biodiversity.

The UN supports the need for strong international regulations for genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops, and this international meeting will finalise details on the labeling of GMO's.

New Zealand is an active participant and through The Ministry of the Environment has carried out extensive consultation on the Cartegena Protocol. New Zealand should be concerned that another participant country has been banned from participation in finalising vital sections of the Protocol.

"If a Conference is to be legitimate it needs to be open to all Countries
participating in the process," says Claire Bleakley from Ge Free NZ in food and environment. "We are asking our Government to raise the issue as to why this has occurred and seek to move the meeting to a place that all participants can attend."


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