Canada denies visa for Africa's top biosafety negotiator
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, the Ethiopian government's chief scientist and its representative to the Montreal-based UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) had his passport returned without the requested Canadian visa, and without explanation. Dr. Tewolde is Africa's chief negotiator for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Tewolde had announced he would be visiting Montreal the first week of August to lobby for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) seeds and food products and urge companies and governments to accept liability for environmental contamination their seeds could lead to. Canada has yet to ratify the UN biosafety protocol and opposes compulsory genetically modified labeling and liability.
Dr. Tewolde has worked against terminator technology (genetically-modified seed rendered sterile at harvest time, forcing farmers to buy new seeds each growing season). In the past, Dr. Tewolde has disagreed with Canadian scientists on proposed methods to regulate GM products.
"Dr. Tewolde is one of the most respected scientists in his field," said Pat Mooney, representative for the conservationist ETC Group in Ottawa, "If the Canadian government can't make sure Dr. Tewolde has his visa for the opening of the meetings, Canada does not deserve to host the Convention on Biological Diversity."
Dr. Tewolde himself is concerned that Canada's actions signal a pattern, "Now that I have been prevented from coming to Montreal, who knows which ones of you will be prevented next time?" he wrote.
This closely mirrors another more recent incident where 12 Ugandans (mainly youths) were denied visas by the Canadian High Commission in Kenya. After making two applications and having met all the requirements asked by the commission, the Ugandan delegation was still denied visas.
- Press release. "Canada Denies Visa for Africa's Top Biosafety Negotiator" — , May 18, 2005
- Diana Mavunduse. "Visa denials limits youth participation to the Afro-Anglicanism conference" — , July 21, 2005
- . "About ETC Group" — ,
|The text of this article has been released into the public domain. In the event that this is not legally possible, this article may be used for any purpose, without any condition, unless such conditions are required by law. This applies worldwide. Copyright terms on images, however, may vary, so please check individual image pages prior to duplication.
Please note that this only applies to Wikinews content created prior to September 25, 2005. All content created after that date is released under a Creative Commons license which is mentioned at the bottom of each article. This is currently the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.