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UN adopts pro-life declaration against human cloning

After three years of apparent deadlock, the United Nations has finally adopted a declaration condemning human cloning, calling on member states to adopt urgent legislation, outlawing all cloning practices "as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."

Catholic News Agency reports that Costa Rica, which led the effort for a cloning ban, called the declaration a success for those who seek to promote ethical scientific research.

"This is a powerful message to the world that this morally questionable procedure is outside the bounds of acceptable experimentation," said C-FAM president Austin Ruse. C-FAM - the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute - was one of the main NGOs involved in the declaration process.

"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 ," said Ruse.

The declaration, introduced by Honduras, came on the last day of a weeklong special session devoted entirely to the issue. It proved at the last minute to be an acceptable compromise to countries that have appeared staunchly divided all week.

Countries were divided mainly over whether to protect "human life" or the "human being." Some Member States, including Costa Rica, Uganda and the United States, supported the ban and the notion of "human life."

However, some Member States, such as Belgium, Singapore and the United Kingdom, wanted to ban only cloning that would result in born human beings.

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 condemns all applications for permits to perform genetic engineering techniques that threaten human dignity. In the United Kingdom, two licenses for research cloning have been issued already.

UN Adopts Pro-Life Declaration Against Human Cloning (Catholic News Agency 21/2/05)

Ad Hoc Committee on an International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings

Australia backs "Catholic" UN push on cloning (CathNews 22/11/04)

Campaigners welcome UN ban on cloning (Independent Catholic News/CORE 21/2/05)
U.N. Committee Recommends Ban on All Types of Human Cloning (Zenit 20/2/05)
U.N. Panel Recommends Ban on All Human Cloning (Zenit 20/2/05)
UN committee backs human cloning ban (The Register 21/2/05)
U.N. Calls for Clone Ban (Wired News 20/2/05)
UN committee approves cloning ban (Nature 21/2/05)
China, S. Korea to continue cloning for stem cell research (United Press International/World Peace Herald 21/2/05)

22 Feb 2005