To socially concerned Church Organisations
**URGENT** USA attempting to use Church to force GMOs on Africa [Please circulate to concerned Church groups] - Oct 2002
At the Earth Summit 135 African Civil Society organisations issued a joint statement condemning attempts by the USA to use food aid programmes and the southern African famine to force African nations such as Zambia to accept the use of its Genetically Modified [GM] food and crops. USAID's policy has been condemned as a "GM or Death" ultimatum because the USA is refusing to let the World Food Programme buy abundant non-GM surpluses from neighbouring countries to alleviate the crisis.
At the same time four distinguished African spokesmen issued a statement "Why Africa SHOULD Reject GE Contaminated Food Aid" - they were Dr Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, Spokesperson for the African Biosafety Proposal; Fred Kalibiwane, Organizer of the Farmers Convergence; Million Belay, Steering Committee of the African Civil Society Group and Dr Lewanika, Scientific adviser to the Zambian government.
Another "Statement of Solidarity with Southern African Nations Over GM Food and Crops" was signed by 135 organisations from 39 nations around the world These nations see the undeclared dumping of unsellable GM crops via food aid as an extreme means of undermining the joint Biosafety regulations developed by African nations to regulate GMOs and safeguard their own food sovereignty. In 1998 all the Food and Agriculture Organisation spokespeople for the nations of Africa (except SA) declared "We.. ..strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly, nor economically beneficial to us".
We have just discovered that the US government is attempting to persuade the Vatican to support its policy of moral blackmail - in the hope that the Vatican will not be familiar with the true facts behind the current crisis. The fact is that the Zambian government, despite USAID obstruction, has managed to buy three months supply of non-GM food from neighbouring nations and the World Food Programme has now agreed to obtain non-GM supplies. There are vast supplies of surplus cheap rice in Indian docks that can reach East Africa before Christmas.
Below is the news about the US bid to the Vatican - followed by a briefing on the dubious activities of USAID from Greenpeace and ActionAid.
Church groups can help by supporting independent food aid charities helping southern Africa, by calling on the Vatican to help southern Africa to obtain non-GM food and to defend its right to choice (The European Parliament has just endorsed Africa's right to non-GM food) and by passing information about this scandal to Vatican authorities and other church and development organisations.
ROBERT VINT, National Co-ordinator
GENETIC FOOD ALERT (UK)
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: UK +44 (0)1803 868523 4, Bertram House, Ticklemore Street, TOTNES, Devon TQ9 5EJ UK
See also the report by Greenpeace (readable and with useful facts) http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/5243.pdf
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