Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J.of the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City issued the injunction against Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, utilizing a precautionary principle, citing the risk of imminent harm to the environment as the basis for his decision. The ruling also incorporated a ban of transgenic maize cultivation in the Mexican countryside as long as collective lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists and civil society organizations worked themselves through the justice system. The ruling contains serious enforcement provisions including the possibility of “criminal charges for the authorities responsible for allowing the introduction of transgenic corn in our country”.
The order is a result of a class action that was initiated by community-based organizations that sued federal authorities and companies introducing transgenic maize into Mexico. The group, Acción Colectiva, is led by Father Miguel Concha of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vittoria; Victor Suarez of ANEC (National Association of Rural Commercialization Entertprises); Dr. Mercedes Lopéz of Vía Organica; and Adelita San Vicente, a teacher and member of Semillas de Vida, a national organization that has been involved in broad-based social action projects to protect Mexico’s extraordinary status as a major world center of food crop biodiversity.
Acción Colectiva issued a press release citing the federal injunction, expressing its intent to obtain a permanent injunction suspending the introduction of transgenic maize in all its various forms – including experimental and pilot commercial plantings – in Mexico, “which is the birthplace of corn in the world”.