Title: Korean Action Against Genetic Crops
Source: "Antti.rautiainen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Korean students and environmental activists today organized a direct
action against the irresponsible use of GM(genetically-modified)
technology, at the center of Korean agricultural biotechnology - the
National Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (NIAST).
NIAST, funded by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
(MAF), proclaims itself to be the key research institute responsible
for the development of sustainable agricultural technologies that are
environment-friendly. However, it was revealed last year that NIAST
had secretly carried out the field trials of GM crops even though
Korea did not have anylegislations regarding the release of GMOs
into the environment.
On February this year, the Rural Development Administration (RDA)
announced that NIAST developed eight different GM crops, including
Rice, Cayenne,Chinese cabbage, Tobacco, and Tomato. According to the
RDA, these GM crops will be put on market by 2001. And yet, the
Korean government keeps silent about the issues of biosafety and
The action started at 11 a.m. when about ten students and activists
occupied and blockaded the greenhouse at the NIAST, where the field
trials of GM crops were being conducted. They placed a big banner
with the "X" symbol over the greenhouse, and chained themselves to
its entrance. Other activists demonstrated outside the greenhouse
with placards raised, which read "No Genetic Engineering".
"Koreans are shaken by the fact that the government allows the field
trials of GM crops while it does not even have a legislation or
agency to monitor and regulate the experiments," said one
participant. "Genetic engineering is good for the economy, they say.
But can this be a good excuse for ignoring the environment, public
health and ethical considerations?" "We're here today to let the
government and those researchers involved know how the public feels
about their incompetence, arrogance, and lack of responsibility."
The students and activists called for:
1) Immediate ban on the release of GMOs into the environment
(including GM foods and field trials)
2) Immediate ban on the import of GM crops and foods.
3) Moratorium on agricultural R&Ds using GM technology.
until strict legislations regarding biosafety and bioethics have been
enacted and come into force.
They also demanded:
4) Establishment of an independent institution to organize
democratic debates on the health, ecological, societal and ethical
consequences of Genetic Engineering.
5) Democratic participation in the regulatory decision-making.
The action wasstopped around 3 p.m. when the police intervened to
break the protest. Some of the activists and students were arrested
and were released after being held for 3 hours.
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