.- After three years of apparent deadlock, the United Nations adopted a declaration Feb. 18 condemning human cloning, reported the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). 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."
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 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 including in the US Senate," 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.