Tuesday, February 22, 2005

UN Declaration against Human Cloning

UN Adopts Pro-Life Declaration Against Human Cloning

In a monumental victory for the pro-life movement, the UN today adopted a declaration condemning human cloning. The UN called on Member States to adopt urgent legislation outlawing all cloning practices "as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."
"This is a powerful message to the world that this morally questionable procedure is outside the bounds of acceptable experimentation," said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, one of the main NGOs involved in the negotiation. "By adopting this declaration, the international community is united in condemning all human cloning as exploitative and unethical. This should encourage similar bans in legislatures around the world including in the US Senate," said Ruse. The declaration also marks the end of three years of UN deadlock over human cloning.

Countries were divided mainly over whether to protect "human life" or
the "human being." Costa Rica, Uganda, the United States and others who
sought to ban all forms of human cloning, supported "human life."
Countries including Belgium, Singapore and the United Kingdom, who wanted
to ban only cloning that would result in born human beings, insisted on
protecting the "human being," which according to some international legal
documents would protect only those already born.

The declaration also calls on countries to "prevent the exploitation
of women." Cloning requires harvesting eggs from women, and delegates from
developing countries feared their women being turned into inexpensive "egg
farms." The declaration calls on wealthier nations to direct attention and
funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria. It also condemns all applications of any genetic engineering
techniques that threaten human dignity.

The declaration sets an international ethical standard that sends a
clear signal to countries that encourage human cloning. For instance, in
the United Kingdom, two "licenses" for research cloning have been issued.
The first is currently subject to a legal challenge on the basis that the
cloning "license" is unlawful and unnecessary. It is due to be heard in
the High Court shortly. Cloning opponents in the United Kingdom welcomed
the UN's resolution and look forward to Member States fulfilling their
international obligations.