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Fwd: NO MORE PATENTING OF LIFE




NO TO PATENTING OF LIFE!

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' STATEMENT ON THE TRADE-RELATED ASPECTS OF INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY RIGHTS (TRIPS) OF THE WTO AGREEMENT


WE, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES from around the world, believe that nobody can
own what exists in nature except nature herself.   A human being
cannot own its own mother.  Humankind is part of Mother Nature, we
have created nothing and so we can in no way claim to be owners of
what does not belong to us. But time and again, western legal
property regimes have been imposed on us, contradicting our own
cosmologies and values.

WE VIEW with regret and anxiety how, Article 27.3b of the Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) Agreements  will further denigrate and undermine our
rights to our cultural and intellectual heritage, our plant, animal, and
even human genetic resources and discriminate against our indigenous ways of
 thinking and behaving. This Article makes an artificial distinction between
plants, animals, and micro-organisms and between (essentially biological)
and (microbiological processes) for making plants and animals. As far as we
are concerned all these are life forms and life creating processes which are
sacred and which should not become the subject of proprietary ownership.

WE KNOW that intellectual property rights as defined in the TRIPS
Agreement are monopoly rights given to individual or legal persons
(e.g. transnational corporations) who can prove that the inventions
or innovations they made are novel, involve an innovative step and
are capable of industrial application. The application of this form
of property rights over living things as if they are mechanical or
industrial inventions is inappropriate. Indigenous knowledge and
cultural heritage are collectively and accretionally evolved
through generations. Thus, no single person can claim invention or
discovery of medicinal plants, seeds or other living things.

The inherent conflict between these two knowledge systems and the
manner in which they are protected and used will cause further
disintegration of our communal values and practices.  It can also
lead to infighting between indigenous communities over who has
ownership over a particular knowledge or innovation. Furthermore, it
goes against the very essence of indigenous spirituality which
regards all creation as sacred.

WE ARE AWARE of the various implications of the TRIPS Agreement on our
lives as indigenous peoples.  It will lead to the appropriation of our
traditional medicinal plants and seeds and our indigenous knowledge on
health, agriculture and biodiversity conservation.  It will undermine
food security, since the diversity and agricultural production on
which our communities depend would be eroded and would be controlled
by individual, private and foreign interests.  In addition, the TRIPS
Agreement will substantially weaken our access to and control over
genetic and biological resources; plunder our resources and
territories; and contribute to the deterioration of our quality of
life.

IN THE REVIEW of the Article 27.3 (b) of the TRIPS Agreement,
therefore, our proposals are as follows:

This Article should be amended to categorically disallow the patenting
of life forms. Thus, the revised Article 27.3b should  clearly
prohibit the patenting of plants and animals including all their
parts, meaning, genes, gene sequences, cells, proteins, seeds, etc.
It should also prohibit the patenting of natural processes involving
the use  of plants, animals and other living organisms and their
parts and processes used in producing variations of plants, animals,
and micro-organisms.

The provision for the protection of plant varieties by either a patent,
a sui generis system, or a combination of both should amended and
elaborated further: It should:

        Disallow the use of patents to protect plant varieties.

        Ensure that the sui generis system which may be created will
        protect the knowledge and innovations and practices in farming,
        agriculture, health and medical care, and conservation of
        biodiversity of indigenous peoples and farmers.

        Build upon the indigenous methods and customary laws protecting
        knowledge and heritage and biological resources.

        Ensure that the protection offered to the indigenous and
        traditional innovation, knowledge, and practices are consistent
        with the Convention of Biological Diversity (i.e. Articles 8j,
        10c, 17.2, and 18.4)  and the International Undertaking on
        Plant Genetic Resources.

        Allow for the right of indigenous peoples and farmers to
        continue their traditional practices of saving, sharing, and
        exchanging  seeds; and harvesting, cultivating, and using
        medicinal plants;

        Prevent the appropriation, theft, and piracy of indigenous
        seeds, medicinal plants, and the knowledge around the use of
        these by researchers, academic institutions, and corporations,
         etc.

        Integrate the principle and practice of prior informed
        consent, which means that the consent of indigenous peoples? as
        communities or as collectivities should be obtained before any
        research or collection of plants will be undertaken. The right
        of indigenous peoples to veto any bioprospecting activity should
        be guaranteed. Mechanisms to enforce prior informed consent
        should be installed.

        Prevent the destruction and conversion of indigenous peoples'
        lands which are rich in biodiversity through projects like mines,
        monocrop commercial plantations, dams, etc. and recognize the
        rights of indigenous peoples to these lands and territories.

We urge  the WTO Member-States to put  the amendment of  the TRIPS
Agreement as a priority item in agenda of the forthcoming WTO
Ministerial Conference in Seattle. The implementation of the TRIPS
Agreement in its present form will have devastating social and
environmental consequences which will be irreversible. It is an
imperative, therefore, that this Agreement be amended to prohibit the
patenting of lifeforms and the piracy of indigenous peoples knowledge
and resources.

We also call on all  the WTO Member-States to work for the extension of
the deadline of the implementation of Article 27.3b of TRIPS to the
year 2006,  five years after the completion of the review of this has
been done.

Finally, we reiterate our commitment to sustain our struggle to have
our rights to our intellectual and cultural heritage and our lands
and resources promoted and protected. We call on the WTO to become an
instrument in promoting our rights instead of enacting and imposing
Agreements which are violative or undermining our rights as distinct
peoples.

Signed at the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, on 25 July l999


SIGNATORIES:


INDIGENOUS PEOPLES? ORGANIZATIONS, NGOS AND NETWORKS

l. Victoria Tauli Corpuz
Tebtebba Foundation and Asian Indigenous Women?s Network
Philippines

2. Aucan Huilcaman
Consejo de Todas Las Tierras Mapuche
Chile

3. Johnson Ole Kaunga
OSILIGI (Organisation for the Survival of Il-Laikipiak Indigenous Group
Initiative)
Kenya

4. Mililani Trask
Na Koa Ikai Ka o Kalahui Hawai?i
United States of America

5. Antonio Jacanimijoy
COICA (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indigenas de la Cuenca
Amazonica)
Ecuador

6. Rodrigo de la Cruz
COICA
Ecuador

7. Fortunato Turpo
Comision Juridica de los  Pueblos de Integracion Tahuantinsuyana
(COJPITA)
Peru

8. Marcial Arias
Associacion Napguana
Panama

9. Tomas Condori
CISA
Bolivia

10. Nolasco Mamani
CISA (Consejo Indio de Sud America)
Bolivia

11. Ramon Conde
Taller de Historia Andina (THOA)
Bolivia

12. Eugenio Poma
World Council of Churches
Bolivia

13. Cesar Sarasara
Confederacion de Nacionalidades Amazonicos del Peru (CONAP)
Peru

14. Eduardo  Gaunilo
Guatemala

15. Jose Canceunco Cocio
Mexico

16. Ara Rusuramang
Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association
Taiwan

17. Nger-Nger
Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association
Taiwan

18. Ligerlale A-wu
Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association
Taiwan

18. Julius Madulu
Hadza People
Tanzania

19. Lourdes Maldonado
Federacion Indigena y Campesina de Imbabura (FICI)
Ecuador

20. Simon Charles
Hadza Peoples
Tanzania

21. Alison Johnston
Caldwell First Nation
Canada

22.Lucy Mulenkei
African Indigenous Womens Network/Indigenous Information Network
Kenya

23. Tracey Whare
Ngatira Marae / Ngatira Lands Trust
Aotearoa/New Zealand

24. Estebancio Castro
Movimiento de la Juventud Kuna (MJK)
Panama

25. Marty Waters
Native Council of Port Heiden
USA

26. Loyal David Hauheng
Bawm Indigenous Peoples? Organization
Bangladesh

27. Samiran Dewan
Forum for Development in Chittagong Hill Tracts
Bangladesh

28. Khua Ukltan
Chin Human Rights Organization
Burma

29. Hkun Okker
PaO Peoples Liberation Organization
Thailand

30. David Cung Bik Ling
Chin Human Rights Organization
Switzerland

31. Joan Carling
Cordillera Peoples? Alliance (CPA)
Philippines

32. Chito Balintay
Pagkakaisa ng Aeta ng Pinatubo
Philippines

33. Nepuni Piku
Naga Peoples? Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR)
India

34. Clotilde  Musabeyezu
Association pour la Promotion des Batwa (APB) Femmes Masnabamdi
Rwanda

35. Jose Morales
Asociacion Tohil Morales de los Ninos Mayas de Guatemala
Guatemala

36. Kittisack Rattanakanjangrii
IMPECT (Inter-Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand
Thailand

37. Maria Mangte
Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP)
India

38. Derhagra Mochahary
United Bodo Nationalists Liberation Front
India

39. Prithibi Majhi
Adivasi Socio-Education and Cultural Association
India

40.  Francoise Crozier
Federation des Organisations Amerindiennes de Guyane Francaise
French Guiana

41.Alfred Ilenre
International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical
Forests/ Ethnic Minority Rights Organization of Africa

Nigeria

42.Robi Lal Basumatra
India

43. Jebra Ram Muchahary
Tribal Welfare Society Assam Branch
India

44. Hubertus Samangun
IAITPTP
Indonesia

45. Parshu Ram Tamang
Nepal Tamang Ghedung
Nepal

46. Euclides Pereira
COICA
Brazil

47. Senchumo Lotha
Naga Students Federation
Nagaland, India

48. Ratnaker Bhengra
JOHAR
India

49. Lars Anders Baer
Saami Council
Sweden

50. Eduardo Solang
Cordillera Peoples? Alliance
Philippines

51. Oki Kano
Ainu International Network
Japan

52. Kiyomi Matsushima
AIP in Ryukyus/Uchinan-Chu
Japan

53. Hidenori Chinen
AIP in Ryukyus
Japan

54. Andrea Flores Tonconi
Organicacion de Mujereres Aymaras del  Kollasuyo (OMAK)
Bolivia

55. Tarcila Rivera Zea
CHIRAPAQ
Peru

56. Bineet Jaynel Mundu
Chotanagpur Adivasi Seva Samiti (CASS/Munda)
India

57. Liton Bom
Chin Human Rights Organization
Burma

58. Juan Leon
Defensoria Maya
Guatemala

59. Rigoberto Juarez Mateo
Coordinadora de Organizaciones del Pueblo Maya de Guatemala
Guatemala

60. Helena Begay
Sovereign Dineh Nation of Cactus Valley/Red Willow Springs Community
USA

61. Neingulo Krome
Naga Peoples? Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR)
India

62. Amina Zioual
ANCAP-Tamaynut
Morocco

63. Ahmed Arehmouch
ANCAP-Tamaynut
Morocco

64. Hjalmar Dahl
Inuit Circumpolar Conference
Greenland

65. Raja Devasish Roy
Chakma Chief: TAUNGYA
Bangladesh

66. Joji Carino
Tebtebba Foundation
United Kingdom

67. Jimid Mansayagan
Lumad Mindanaw Peoples? Federation
Philippines


INDIGENOUS PEOPLES? SUPPORT AND ADVOCATE GROUPS

68. Jose Montes
France

69. Miriam Anne Frank
Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV)
The Netherlands

70. Fiona Archer
South Africa

71. Maurizio Farhan Ferrari
Forest Peoples? Programme
United Kingdom

72. Enrique Cano
Spain

73. Richard Rainsford

74. Genaro Blanco
Pagkakaisa ng Aeta ng Pinatubo
Philippines

75. Roger Gaberell
Switzerland

76. Thomas Stenersen
Switzerland

77. Josdoa Inaki Arregi
Basque, Spain

78. Toshi Aiuchi
Shimin Gaikou Centre (SGC)
Japan

79. Uemura Hideaki
SGC
Japan

80. Lo Man Fong
SGC
Japan

81. Chika Onaka
SGC
Japan

82. Kelly Dietz
SGC
Japan

83. Eri Ocho
SGC
Japan

84. Anneke Groth
Tourism Alert
Switzerland

85. Carla Barbosa
Secretaria do Estado de Sao Paulo do Meio Ambiente
Brazil

86. Andrea Muhlebach
International Workgroup for Indigenous Affairs
USA

87. Rebecca Fan
University of Colombia
USA

86. Yvonne Mei-Jung
Aboriginal Cultural Promotion Association
Taiwan

87. Raymundo Rovillos
Tebtebba Foundation
Philippines


Those who would like to sign on please send an e-mail to
tebtebba@skyinet.net or vco@skyinet.net or a fax message to TEBTEBBA
FOUNDATION at 63-74-4439459. Please write your name, your organization, and
your address.


=========================

NEW CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION!
On the Internet at http://www.tradewatch.org/publications/gtwpubs.htm
FOR MULTIPLE COPIES CONTACT PUBLIC CITIZEN 202-588-1000 OR GO TO
http://www.citizen.org/newweb/publicat.htm




------End forward message---------------------------



Happy Gardening!

John Edward Verin
Senior Apprentice
Ecosystem Farm
Accokeek, MD

"...it's going to take a wrenching change of heart in those citizens of the world who have the world's goods in abundance.
Each of us must begin to experience the empowerment to change the world that comes from simplicity and wanting less."

- John Jeavons


Food is power... are you in control of yours?

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