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UN undecided on cloning ban

6 October 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 228

UN delegates taking part in a debate on a global treaty to ban human reproductive cloning failed to reach an agreement last week. Countries were divided over two proposals: one that sought to ban all forms of cloning, and another that would immediately ban human reproductive cloning, but not so-called 'therapeutic cloning'.

Around 40 nations, including the US, support the total ban put forward by Costa Rica. Another group of 14 countries are in favour of banning reproductive cloning, but leaving the regulation of therapeutic cloning - the use of cloned early human embryos for research into disease treatments - up to individual governments. 'Therapeutic cloning is one of the technologies that we believe has enormous promise' said Elizabeth Woodeson of the UK government's Department of Health. Scientists have been allowed to carry out such work in the UK since changes to the existing laws on embryo research were approved in March 2002.

The UN's General Assembly first voted to draft a treaty against human cloning two years ago, at the request of the French and German governments. Recently, Kerstin Mueller, the German Foreign Office State Minister, said that her government's backing of a ban on reproductive cloning whilst regulating therapeutic cloning was intended to 'build a bridge' to countries that already carry out research in this area, such as the UK, China, Israel and Singapore. She also criticised the efforts of the US at the UN, saying that personally, she found it inconsistent that Washington pursues an all-or-nothing strategy at the international level, but does not have a national ban.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Germany seeks to 'regulate' therapeutic cloning, not ban it
MichNews.com |  26 September 2003
UN anti-cloning treaty seen heading for collapse
Reuters |  3 October 2003
U.N. committee resumes debate over cloning Ban
UN Wire |  1 October 2003
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