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UNESCO Director-General Reaffirms That Human Cloning Is Contrary To Human Dignity

Paris, January 16 - Human cloning cannot be accepted under any circumstances, UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor reiterated today, stressing that the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, adopted on November 11, 1997, by UNESCO's 186 Member States, bans the practice as an offense against human dignity.

Mr. Mayor reiterated UNESCO's position in response to the debate on human cloning which was re-opened recently by an American researcher's claim that he would soon clone human beings to help couples unable to conceive children.

Article 11 of the Declaration states: "Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted. States and competent international organizations are invited to cooperate in identifying such practices and in determining, nationally or internationally, appropriate measures to be taken to ensure that the principles set out in this Declaration are respected.

According to the text, "no research or its applications concerning the human genome, in particular in the fields of biology, genetics and medicine, should prevail over the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity of individuals or, where applicable, of groups of people."

Mr. Mayor declared: "The undisputed merit of the Declaration resides in the balance it strikes between guaranteeing respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and the need to ensure the freedom of research. The Declaration is the first international text to apply the ethical standards of human rights to potential interventions in the human genome. It expresses the desire of the international community to shoulder its responsibility with respect to one of the major challenges facing humanity at the close of the century. The ban on human cloning is therefore the fruit of universal consensus."


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Contact: Andrew Radolf
unescony@undp.org
212 963 5974
UNESCO
26-Jan-1998


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