CIEL submits brief to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on Access to Information regarding Genetically Modified Organisms

February, 2010

On February 16, 2010, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of Miguel Ignacio Fredes Gonzales y Andrea Tuczek Fries v. Chile, involving access to information on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The case is currently before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR).

This dispute before the IACHR involves the public’s right to access information regarding its environment, health and safety. The dispute concerns Chile’s failure to disclose information requested regarding GMOs being cultivated in Chile, i.e., the location, types, and bio-security measures associated with cultivating GMOs.

CIEL’s amicus curiae brief analyzes the main issues associated with GMOs. GMOs constitute one of the largest technological innovations of our time; however, genetically modified products involve risks to human health and to the biodiversity that still remain subject to scientific uncertainty. The amicus curiae brief analyzes the risks and scientific uncertainty associated with GMOs, demonstrating the public interest dimensions of information relating to GMOs.

The amicus curiae brief also analyzes the broader international legal framework applicable to GMOs, in order to contextualize the role of the IACHR with respect to access to information concerning GMOs.

In addition, the amicus curiae brief emphasizes the linkages that exist between freedom of expression, access to information, and democratic governance in international human rights law. Further, the amicus curiae brief highlights the linkages recognized in international law between the public’s right to access information and environmental risk. For example, the European Court of Justice has recognized the public’s right to access information relating to the places of cultivation of GMOs.

For more information on enhancing transparency in government policy of GMOs – including signing on to a letter urging the IACHR to hold a thematic hearing on the issue – please visit: ON-LETTER-GMO-TRANSPARENCY.html#content-top, or contact Marcos Orellana.