The Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment: GMOS in Mexico and the European Union

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Alicia Gutiérrez González


The main objective of this article is to give an overview of both the right to a clean and healthy environment adopted in international and national agreements, and the effects that the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment (especially genetically modified maize) may cause to human, animal and plant health. This article is divided into three sections: The first section focuses on the right to a clean and healthy environment and its enjoyment as a third generation human right in Mexico and the European Union; the second section briefly examines the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops worldwide as well as the benefits and risks that the release of GMOs into the environment may cause to human, animal and plant health, and looks at the lack of protection of maize in Mexico as a Centre of Origin and Centre of Genetic Diversity (COD); and the third section analyses and compares the insufficient legal protection in Mexico with the strict legal regime in the European Union regarding the release of GMOs into the environment. I propose that Mexico should only cultivate genetically modified maize using biosafety techniques in arid zones, with the aim of protecting the genetic diversity of maize. This contrasts with the EU regulations because the EU has no genetic diversity of maize to protect. In increasing protections and following specific programs for the cultivation of genetically modified maize, the right to a clean and healthy environment could be guaranteed.

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Author Biography

Alicia Gutiérrez González, Anahuac University

Faculty of Law, Anahuac University, Mexico. Professor at the Law Faculty of the Tec de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México, and at the International Relations Faculty of ITAM, Campus Rio Hondo. Law studies and a Master Degree in coorporative law at the University of Guadalajara, México. Master and Doctor degree at the Georg-August-University-Göttingen. Member of the National System of Researchers, (SNI), Level I, Mexico