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Rainbow Warrior Heading For Qatar

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior Heading For Qatar To Deliver "Safe Future" Message To World Trade Organisation

Dubai, Monday, 22nd October 2001: A Greenpeace delegation returning from Doha, Qatar, called on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to work towards a “safer future” as it makes preparations to meet in Qatar in three weeks time. The flagship of the environmental group, SV Rainbow Warrior, has passed through the Suez Canal en route to Doha, after sailing from the United States on September 15th, despite security concerns and rumours the WTO meeting may be cancelled or postponed in the aftermath of September 11th.

Representatives from local and indigenous communities from the five continents, whose livelihoods and well-being are threatened by WTO policy and practice will join the Rainbow Warrior in Doha.

"The Rainbow Warrior will be a platform to ensure that those who are most directly affected by WTO decisions, and are all too often ignored, have their voices heard. The ship will also be a magnet to canvass and rally more support for Greenpeace´s "Greening of Doha" agenda (1)." said Greenpeace Political Director Rémi Parmentier in Dubai after visiting Doha. "We campaign to promote international co-operation and security for the global environment and development. Environmental policy has been under attack by the WTO for several years now, and this issue needs urgent resolution. We welcome the WTO meeting because we believe it would be wrong to let the current international crisis stop this vital work " Parmentier said.

Greenpeace is calling on the WTO to agree to a comprehensive and open assessment of its impacts on social and environmental welfare, as opposed to the launch of a "new round" of trade liberalisation proposed by the USA and the European Union. To illustrate their objectives in connection with the WTO, Parmentier explained that, for example, the current prohibition on the import of hazardous wastes adopted in Lebanon in 1997 to protect that country’s public health and environment, could be challenged if free trade at all costs as promoted by the WTO continues to prevail.

"We are not against international trade per se", said Parmentier, "but it must not put the environment at risk. Too often, decisions by intergovernmental organisations are flawed because they do not take account of the realities and concerns of those who are likely to be affected by them", added Parmentier. "But with the Rainbow Warrior in Doha, Greenpeace will act as a daily reminder that those concerns must not be ignored".

Greenpeace is the only NGO campaigning on international trade issues to have visited Qatar.

Notes to Editors:
(1) Greenpeace recommendations for the WTO meeting are contained in Greenpeace´s briefing "The Greening of Doha", available in "Safe Trade in the 21st Century: The Doha Edition "at http://www.greenpeace.org/politics/wto.

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