It’s high time world resolved human cloning issue: U.N. report

November 14th, 2007 - 10:30 am ICT by admin  

Entitled Is Human Reproductive Cloning Inevitable: Future Options for UN Governance, the report also states that in case the nations chose not to outlaw human cloning, they should remain prepared to protect the rights of cloned individuals from potential abuse, prejudice and discrimination.

“Whichever path the international community chooses it will need to act soon - either to prevent reproductive cloning or to defend the human rights of cloned individuals,” says UNU-IAS Director A.H. Zakri.

Virtually every nation opposes human cloning and more than 50 have legislated bans on such efforts. However, negotiation of an international accord foundered at the UN in 2005 due to disagreement over research cloning or therapeutic cloning, which is meant to produce tissues that genetically match those of the person or animal whose cells are cloned.

“Human reproductive cloning could profoundly impact humanity. This report offers a plain language analysis of the opportunities, challenges and options before us - a firm and thoughtful base from which the international community can revisit the issue before science overtakes policy,” says UN Under-Secretary-General Konrad Osterwalder, Rector of UNU.

According to the report’s authors, the International Court of Justice may have to hold human reproductive cloning accomplished in certain countries perfectly legal in the absence of an international prohibition.

“Failure to outlaw reproductive cloning means it is just a matter of time until cloned individuals share the planet,” says barrister Brendan Tobin of the Irish Center for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway.

“If failure to compromise continues, the world community must accept responsibility and ensure that any cloned individual receives full human rights protection. It will also need to embark on an extensive awareness building and sensitivity program to ensure that the wider society treats clones with respect and ensure they are protected against prejudice, abuse or discrimination,” he adds.

Tobin says that concerns about underdeveloped technologies producing clones with serious deformities or degenerative diseases are likely to erode as the technologies and possibilities of success increase. Should this happen, it will in turn affect the possibility of securing a ban on reproductive cloning, he adds.

The UNU report suggests that the widest international consensus would be achieved around an agreement that prevents progress towards full reproductive cloning, but authorizes strictly controlled therapeutic cloning to prevent the uncontrolled production and destruction of embryos.

“It is frequently argued, for instance, that reproduction should occur by chance and through natural selection. This argument may be based upon religious lines, which defer to a supernatural or higher power for choice, or to natural selection and the importance of ensuring continued human diversity,” says the report.

“More convincing for some are arguments against the commoditisation of life. Fears exist that allowing reproductive cloning will lead to a spare parts market for harvesting human organs from cloned ‘brain-less bodies’ for the rich as they seek to extend their lifespan, a result which many see as a contravention of individual and collective human dignity,” it adds.

The report further states: “These are not issues which can be lightly dismissed; however, it is clear that any debate on human dignity needs to separate the various elements of the debate in order to consider whether opposition to cloning stems from concern for human dignity or respect for divine dignity. As well as to determine whether it is designed to protect the individual that may be cloned or the society whose sense of personal and collective identity might be challenged by the concept of sharing the world with cloned individuals.” (ANI)

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