The Supreme Court of Mexico has made two announcements that protect the human right to corn biodiversity in a country where the indigenous crop has become a main diet staple, Resilience reported on 8 December.
In October, the Supreme Court approved the precautionary measure that bans permits to sow genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico – a measure that had been in place since September 2013, the report said. The court also ruled that judges in a class action lawsuit could dictate any precautionary measure necessary to protect the rights of a collective.
Both rights had been challenged by agribusiness giants Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer-Dupont, and Dow Agrisciences, Resilience wrote.
The 53 plaintiffs in the Class Action lawsuit – an ongoing legal battle for eight years – included 20 corn producers, apiculturists, seed and human rights organisations, artists and scientists who referred to themselves as the Collective Corn Lawsuit against GM corn, the report said.
In a press release by the Collective Corn Lawsuit issued after the Supreme Court rulings, the group said the decision was significant for the preservation of native corn varieties and the milpa – a Meso-American technique for planting and cultivating corn, beans, squash and chilli with wild herbs.
“We consider that the unanimity of the decision reaffirms the validity of the arguments presented by the Corn Collective in favour of the collective rights of campesino (farmers) and indigenous communities and of corn consumers. Moreover, it sets a precedent for ongoing and future class action lawsuits,” the statement said.
However, the Corn Collective said the court ruling did not guarantee compliance, pointing out that soyabeans and corn had been sown illegally in the Yucatán despite the findings of the Supreme Court.