Court Lifts Injunction Against Planting GM Corn, Citizen Group Files Appeal
Proceso, 20th August 2015
Mexico City – The Twelfth District Court on Civil Matters for the First Circuit today cancelled the precautionary measure [injunction] that has prevented transnational businesses, including Monsanto and Syngenta, from planting GM corn in Mexico.
René Sánchez Galindo, the group’s attorney, confirmed to Proceso that upon learning of the decision, the group of citizen members of the Demanda Colectiva [Class Action] AC, which brought the [original] class action lawsuit that blocked the sowing of GMOs in the country, filed an appeal. Sánchez Galindo pointed out that the issuance of permits remains blocked until the [appellate] court confirms or rejects the lower court’s decision to "knock down" the precautionary measure.
In September of 2013, the Twelfth District Court on Civil Matters for the Federal District had considered that by allowing the authorization of planting permits for GM corn, the risk would exist of endangering dozens of native species, due to the fact that Mexico is considered corn’s place of origin. For that reason, the judge implemented the precautionary measure that froze planting permits for the duration of the judicial procedure by which the Demanda Collectiva sought a judicial ruling on the legality of sowing GM corn.
Since the precautionary measure was issued, the Demanda Colectiva has successfully defended 93 legal challenges and 22 amparo [petitions for protection, similar to injunction] proceedings initiated by both the transnational corporations and federal agencies.
Sánchez Galindo explained that in determining that the injunction be lifted, Judge Francisco Peñaloza Heras considered that there are no elements such that the illegal presence of GMOs might exist in native corn. This [conclusion] was based solely on an assessment by the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection, despite independent and official studies from the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change that cite 89 cases of the presence of GM corn in native crops.
In a bulletin issued in the evening, the colectivo deplored that "the court decision failed to rule on all our arguments and evidence"; including that once released into the environment, GMO’s become "uncontrollable" both through pollination, but especially by the campesinos’ traditional system of exchanging seeds. Both circumstances threaten corn’s biodiversity in the country.
"On appeal," the activists put forward in the bulletin, those arguments "could be heard", and they trusted that "they will get a favourable ruling".
Transnationals Applaud Court’s Decision
AgroBIO, the association that brings together businesses and sectors interested in planting GMOs in Mexico, affirmed that as a result of the judge’s decision announced yesterday, the Secretariats of Agriculture (Sagarpa) and the Environment (Semarnat) will begin to resume granting planting permits for GMOs. At the same time, it called on the government to take up again "immediately" the authorizations that were halted two years ago.
Ricardo Guimaraes, president both of AgroBio México’s Executive Board and of the multinational Dow AgroSciences, applauded that "the rule of law has favoured lifting this measure", and he affirmed that GMO’s bring "economic and environmental benefits".
With information from La Jornada.
Translated by Jane Brundage