100,000 citizens from 91 countries, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and French small farmers' leader Jose Bové, together with more than 544 organisations representing 48 million people, are telling the WTO not to undermine the sovereign right of any country to protect its citizens and the environment from Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops.
Sign today: http://www.bite-back.org/
Hands off our food, say campaigners
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
25 May 2004 - Campaigners will deliver a petition to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) signed by more than 100,000 citizens from 91 countries and more than 544 organisations representing 48 million people today.
Signatories, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and French small farmers' leader Jose Bové, say the WTO should not undermine the sovereign right of any country to protect its citizens and the environment from Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops.
The delivery of the petition ("citizen's objection") to the WTO comes as part of a global bite-back campaign against a complaint filed at the WTO by the US, Argentina and Canada a year ago.
These countries accuse the European Union of blocking trade in GM crops and foods and May 25 is the official deadline for WTO countries to submit evidence in the complaint.
The signatures are delivered after the WTO's public symposium (25-27 May) is opened by WTO director-general Supachai Panitchpakdi and European chief trade negotiator Pascal Lamy, among others.
Speaking before the event, Friends of the Earth International WTO Campaigner Alexandra Wandel said:
"Tens of thousands of individuals around the world have signed this petition to send a clear message to the WTO to take their hands off our food. The World Trade Organisation has no right to impose GM crops and food on any country. All around the world, including in the US, Argentina and Canada, people have backed this call. We will not be bullied by the United States, biotech companies or the WTO."
EU reform of the WTO is also an aim of Scottish environment groups in the run up to June's European elections.
Friends of the Earth Scotland's Chief Executive, Duncan McLaren, said:
"On both environmental and economic matters, Europe acts on our behalf in multilateral negotiations such as the WTO. Although the EU has been progressive on many environmental issues, its record on trade and economic policy is much worse. We urgently need MEPs prepared to stand up to the WTO in order to deliver fair and sustainable trade agreements for all. We will be challenging Scottish candidates on these matters ahead of June's European elections."
Friends of the Earth International campaigners will be present at the eye-catching hand over of the citizen's objection with two banners: "WTO: Hands Off our Food" and "WTO = bio-hazard". Friends of the Earth International initiated this "bite-back - WTO hands off our food" campaign.
For further information contact: Lang Banks, 0131 554 9977
Bite Back and sign the Citizens' Objection http://www.bite-back.org/.