The Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative (FGPI) is a global human rights project, chaired by the Council for Responsible Genetics, GeneWatch UK and Privacy International, which is dedicated to ensuring that the expansion of DNA databases is consistent with human rights principles.
Today the FGPI submitted comments to the South African Parliament on the recently introduced Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill. This bill creates a legislative framework for the collection of DNA and the construction of a DNA database in South Africa. The FGPI found that while the current draft of the bill address a number of inherent privacy and human rights issues attendant to forensic DNA collection and storage, significant concerns remain and the bill does not achieve a proper balance between the legitimate needs of law enforcement and human rights.
The FGPI comments concluded:
“Considering the immense weight of information that DNA carries, allowing law enforcement to seize demonstrably innocent persons DNA, DNA from individuals who have yet been proven guilty of any crime, and DNA from person’s convicted of even minor crimes for which DNA evidence is not even relevant is to give law enforcement uncontrolled and unprecedented access to the private lives of the citizens of South Africa.”
The FGPI expects to travel to South Africa this year and assist Parliament and NGO’s both formally and informally as this bill develops and proceeds through Parliament.
A full copy of the FGPI’s comments can be found at the following link: