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Holy See seeks UN cloning ban

Vatican representative at the United Nations Archbishop Celestino Migliore has told the UN that embryos are human beings and the organisation has a mandate to uphold the rights of all human beings.

The Holy See's permanent observer gave his address last week on Item 172 of the agenda of the 58th General Assembly, International Convention Against the Cloning of Human Beings.

Archbishop Migliore (pictured) denied that cloning is a complex issue. He said that it is in fact "simple and straightforward" that "the creation of human embryos is the story of the beginning of human life". He insisted that "an embryo is a human being regardless of its geography".

He said this position is a matter of reason and not religious doctrine. Reason, he suggested, also dictates the banning of cloning for both reproductive and research purposes.

"If the United Nations were to ban reproductive cloning without banning cloning for research, this would, for the first time, involve this body in legitimising something extraordinary: the creation of human beings for the express purpose of destroying them."

Meanwhile Archbishop Migliore also called on the UN to address the issue of international debt in a way that would keep the same problems from arising in the future.

"The international debt is like an illness," he said. "Unless completely cured, it is bound to recur."

Speaking at UN headquarters in New York, he said that "no satisfactory solutions" have been found for the "chronic debt crisis" despite all the attention given to it, and the external debt of the developing countries has in fact increased.

In recent years, the Vatican has repeatedly urged the international community to alleviate the financial burden of debt that keeps poor countries from being able to use their scarce resources to meet the basic needs of their people.

Renewing this appeal, Archbishop Migliore said debt was a moral as well as a technical question because the financial burden it imposes affects the ability of poor countries to offer even "minimum levels of health care and education."

Holy See asks for ban on cloning in all its forms (Vatican Information Service)
U.N. nuncio says world debt is an illness that needs to be cured (Catholic News Service)

Vatican to UN: Research Cloning is "Creation of Human Beings for the express purpose of destroying them" (LifeSite)
Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
Vatican official calls cloning a "crime against humanity" (20/8/03)
Pope issues fresh cloning denunciation (14/1/03)
On road to human lab rats (Catholic Leader 23/3/03)
Cloning: The process and its complexities (Nathaniel Catholic Bioethics Centre NZ)
Jubilee Australia - Drop the Debt

29 Oct 2003