Press release. The Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN) and the Citizen's Collective for Agroecology (CCAE) are bitterly discovering the imminent release of genetically modified mosquitoes as part of the Target Malaria project by the Institute for Research in Health Sciences (IRSS). The test release is scheduled for this July 1st 2019, in the village of Bama, part of district 7 of the municipality of Bobo Dioulasso.
Despite the efforts of consultation, communication and questioning of the actors of the project and the Government of Burkina Faso, through the National Biosafety Agency, on the need to better identify the potential risks of such an experiment, on compliance with the texts of laws that govern such experiments and on the indispensable inclusion and acceptance of all actors, especially populations exposed on the front line, we regret the passage in force that is being carried out.
We are pleased to recall that this test release is in total denial of the ethics of human life and in violation of national and international laws and conventions to which Burkina Faso is a signatory.
This is the case, in particular:
- of Act No. 064-2012/AN of 20 December 2012 on the security regime in biotechnology;
- of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety of 11 July 2012 ;
- the final declaration of the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in November 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Target Malaria project and the Government of Burkina Faso have made the dangerous choice, despite everything, to expose people and their living environment to situations with uncertain developments.
In view of all the above, and taking national, sub-regional and international opinion as a witness, COPAGEN and CCAE, in a final warning drive, urge the project leaders and the Government of Burkina Faso to keep a sense of proportion.
If, despite everything, the release of genetically modified mosquitoes were to take place, the COPAGEN and CCAE:
- hold the the State of Burkina Faso and the Target Malaria project responsible for any situation of deterioration in human, animal and environmental health in the short, medium and long term, following tests conducted in an open environment;
- will refer to the competent courts the non-compliance with the provisions on bio-safety assessment, testing procedures for genetically modified organisms, conditions for the release of genetically modified organisms.