On Wednesday, June 15th, leaders from both the Aymara Autonomous Council (Consejo Autónomo Aymara) and the National Aymara Council (Consejo Nacional Aymara) expressed their opposition to UPOV 91 — the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which essentially gives new rights to the “breeders” of new seed variants. The Aymara organizations took their concerns to the Chilean Constitutional Court, which had invited commentary on the Convention and its effects last week. The Court, at that time, had granted a request made by 17 Chilean Senators to hear the case and decide whether UPOV 91 is legal or not.
The Aymara organizations echoed arguments made by other Indigenous groups, namely, that UPOV 91, is passed, will seriously harm small farmers and the diversity of crops in the country. In addition, many Indigenous groups have alleged that UPOV 91, if it goes into effect, will do so in violation of ILO Convention 169, which requires consultation with Indigenous peoples on legislation that uniquely affects them.
In the past week, a large number of organizations have spoken out against UPOV 91 and have tried to raise awareness about what effects the law may have. Among them are Indigenous groups, women’s organizations, environmental groups, farming associations, and some NGOs working with human rights.