Press release

5 June 2020, Brussels

 

Available in PDF

 

On 7 May, in the midst of a consequent social, health and political crisis, the Bolivian Government, in a hasty measure and with no prior consultation passed Supreme Decree No. 4232. In one sole article, this Supreme Decree allows the Bolivian National Biosafety Committee to establish “shortened procedures for the evaluation of genetically modified maize, sugar cane, cotton, wheat and soybean in their different manifestations, which are destined for internal consumption and external marketing”.

 

Various peasant organizations have already expressed their views on this issue, including the Trade Union Confederation of Peasant Workers of Bolivia (CSUTCB) and the Departmental Federation of Indigenous Peasant Women of Santa Cruz “Bartolina Sisa”.

 

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation has serious consequences in Bolivia, reflected in a social and health crisis. In addition, the political situation – already critical since last November’s coup d’état – has worsened, preventing Bolivian citizens from acting and defending themselves against this measure, which is yet another violation of their rights. From Europe, ECVC joins them in expressing its disagreement with the Supreme Decree put in place in Bolivia.

 

This decree goes against the regulations in force in Bolivia, including several laws that prohibit the import and cultivation of transgenic seeds in the country. Furthermore, the decree is an attack on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas. Similarly, it constitutes an attack on health and healthy food and endangers the country’s biodiversity and genetic heritage. Thus, the entire food sovereignty of the Bolivian people is at stake.

 

The actions of the current government of Bolivia demonstrate how it is taking advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic to favour transnational corporations and a few unscrupulous local entrepreneurs.

 

Today we express our solidarity with the Bolivian people, who are the first victims of the decree announced by their government. We also reiterate our deep concern about the racist violence and attacks that increasingly affect the population, especially the most vulnerable members of Bolivian society, namely the indigenous populations, the most disadvantaged social classes and peasants.

 

That is why we call on the international community to join us in rejecting the violation of its people’s rights, which the Bolivian Government is trying to perpetrate by attacking peasant agriculture.

 

ECVC also calls on the international and European institutions to accelerate measures to restore democracy in Bolivia and thus protect the population and guarantee that human rights are respected.

 

Finally, ECVC calls on all peasant and allied organizations to defend indigenous seeds and Bolivia’s model of Food Sovereignty.

 

 

Contacts:

 

Guy Kastler – ECVC Seeds Working Group: +33 603945721 (FR)

Antonio Onorati – ECVC Seeds Working Group: +39 3408219456 (EN, FR, IT, ES)

Alessandra Turco –ECVC Coordination Committee: +39 3476427170 (IT, ES)