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United Nations postpones world cloning ban

5 November 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 233

The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) has narrowly voted to postpone any decision on a global human cloning ban until 2005. Eighty countries voted in favour of the delay, with 79 voting against and 15 abstaining. This meant that delegates did not vote on two other competing cloning resolutions. One, sponsored by Costa Rica and supported by the United States and approximately 60 other UN member states, sought a total ban on human cloning. The Bush administration has campaigned hard for a UN ban, despite having been unable to pass similar domestic legislation.

It became clear, however, that the Costa Rican resolution was not wholeheartedly supported by all nations, when divisions appeared in a meeting of a working group of thge General Assembly earlier this month. Twenty-three nations, including Japan, China, Brazil, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK, supported a different version of the resolution, which proposed a ban on cloning for reproductive purposes only, to enable cloning for research purposes to continue. They say that such 'therapeutic' cloning research holds 'enormous promise' and that the issue should be left to individual governments to decide. Many of these individual nations, including the UK, have already passed national laws banning cloning for reproductive purposes but allowing cloning for research.

Last week, a third competing proposal was put forward by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which has 57 member countries. The resolution, passed by the UN last Thursday, said that the debate on cloning should be postponed for two years. In the absence of UN guidelines, individual countries can continue to regulate human cloning as they wish. 'We are very pleased that the United Nations has decided not to press ahead with a ban' said the UK's Department of Health in statement. 'We believe that therapeutic cloning research offers enormous potential to develop cures for serious diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease, which affect many millions of people and are currently incurable,' it said.

A fight at the UN over cloning
The New York Times |  5 November 2003
Cloning, Revisited: U.N. to Consider Ban on Cloning as Scientists Outline Technical Obstacles
ABC News |  5 November 2003
UN blocks human cloning ban
Nature |  7 November 2003
UN delays cloning vote
The Scientist |  7 November 2003
21 February 2005 - by BioNews 
The United Nations (UN) has approved a declaration calling for a ban on human cloning for both reproductive and research purposes. The assembly's legal committee voted 71 to 35 in favour of the non-binding statement, backed by the Bush administration, with 43 abstentions. The declaration will now pass to the...
21 February 2005 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
In this week's BioNews, we report on the latest instalment in the ongoing saga of the United Nation (UN)'s deliberations on cloning. What started out, in 2001, as a proposed treaty to ban human reproductive cloning has ended up as a non-binding declaration calling on nations to ban all...
22 November 2004 - by BioNews 
The Legal Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) last week abandoned proposals to adopt an international convention on human cloning. A proposal led by the US and Costa Rica, which would have meant an international treaty banning all forms of human cloning, including for medical research...
15 November 2004 - by BioNews 
The United Nations (UN) is expected to revisit the thorny issue of human cloning again this week, but it doesn't appear that a consensus position is any nearer to being reached. Diplomats say that no compromise position has been found and it may be that the UN doesn't vote on...
25 October 2004 - by BioNews 
The United Nations (UN) has again failed to reach an agreement on an international treaty regulating human cloning. All 191 UN members agree on a treaty first proposed in 2001, which would ban reproductive cloning of human beings. However, they are divided over an alternative proposal, which seeks a wider...
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