For the last five years, the biotechnology company Oxitec has been developing a plan to experimentally release GMO mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, which scientists hope could eventually impede the spread of the Zika virus. However, there has been much community uproar in the Keys due to a perceived violation of human rights.
As a community member states: “It’s about human rights – this can’t be pushed down our throats without consent,” said De Mier, who views her mission as helping mould policy on genetically modified animals for the country.
If this trial works – the technology could gain commercial approval and bring in increased annual sales. The question is – do the proposed and hypothesised benefits of the release outweigh the community’s dissatisfaction with the plan? There is millions of dollars in potential sales, but there is also an environmentally sensitive populated community who don't necessarily trust the experiment in their backyards. Do these people have the right to complain about where it is conducted – and who ultimately decides?
Examples like this demonstrate the modern day quandary of human rights, as individuals and groups can use human rights as an ally and defence for almost anything perceived to be violating them.