< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Groups Talk at UN about 'Suicide Seeds'

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Groups Talk at UN about 'Suicide Seeds'

From the Common Dreams website, an article about groups fighting on behalf of indigenous communities around the world and other activists urging governments to adopt strict laws prohibiting the use of 'suicide seeds.' Not surprisingly, this issue has not made major headlines in the mainstream media. I first learned about the issue from the excellent documentary film "The Corporation." From the article:

Groups fighting for the rights of peasant communities are stepping up pressure on governments to ban the use of genetically modified ''suicide seeds'' at UN-sponsored talks on biodiversity in Spain this week.
''This technology is an assault on the traditional knowledge, innovation, and practices of local and indigenous communities,'' said Debra Harry, executive director of the U.S.-based Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism.
The group is among organizations urging United Nations experts to recommend that governments adopt tough laws against field testing and selling Terminator technology, which refers to plants that have had their genes altered so that they render sterile seeds at harvest. Because of this trait, some activists call Terminator products ''suicide seeds.''
Developed by multinational agribusinesses and the U.S. government, Terminator has the effect of preventing farmers from saving or replanting seeds from one growing season to the next.
The product is being tested in greenhouses throughout the United States. Opponents fear it is likely to be marketed soon unless governments impose a ban.
''Terminator seeds will become a commercial reality unless governments take action to prevent it,'' said Hope Shand of the Canada-based Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration (ETC Group).
If commercialized, activists said, Terminator would force farmers to return to the market for seeds every year, adding to their annual costs. This also would spell the end of locally adapted agriculture through seed selection, because most farmers in the world today routinely save seeds from their harvest for replanting.
''This seed technology is a fundamental violation of the human rights of indigenous people,'' Harry said of Terminator. ''It is a breach of the right of self-determination.''

Click here to access the full article.

--Tom Hayes


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