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6-Regulation: U.N. treaty on human cloning stalled

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  U.N. Treaty on Human Cloning Stalled
SOURCE: Associated Press, by Edith M. Lederer
DATE:   Nov 19, 2002

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U.N. Treaty on Human Cloning Stalled

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - American and Vatican differences with France and 
Germany have delayed work on drafting a U.N. treaty against human cloning 
for at least a year.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution Tuesday that rubber-stamped a 
decision by its legal committee to have a working group tackle the issue 
again next October.

The dispute focuses on how broad a ban on cloning should be.

The United States, the Vatican and several other nations want a treaty 
which bans all forms of cloning human cells. France and Germany want one 
that would ban only cloning to produce babies, leaving the question of 
cloning for research and medical experiments for future consideration.

A year ago, the General Assembly adopted a resolution setting up a group to 
draft a convention on human cloning. The treaty should "prevent practices 
which are contrary to human dignity," it said. But the working group has 
reached a deadlock.

The French and Germans said they proposed a two-step approach because there 
is strong international support for a worldwide ban on cloning babies, but 
less support for a ban on "therapeutic" cloning for research and medical 

But U.S. representative Ralph Martinez told the General Assembly on Tuesday 
that "the United States and many other member states support a total ban on 
human cloning."

"We believe that the growing support for a total ban signals that a course 
correction is underway and that the trend toward a total ban will forge a 
clear path toward a convention to prohibit all coming of human embryos," he 

A statement by France and Germany on Nov. 7 said it was "regrettable" that 
the group couldn't reach a compromise on drafting a treaty against cloning 
human beings while negotiations continued on other forms of cloning.

"France and Germany are ready to further engage in broad-based substantial 
negotiations, and we hope others are too, with a clear sense of urgency and 
with a non-dogmatic view on what is feasible in the short term, and what is 
not," said the statement, delivered by German diplomat Christian Much.

A German diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday this 
wasn't "Germany vs. the United States," but "a different approach to reach 
the same goal, which is to ban human cloning."

The General Assembly's decision "should not be misinterpreted by those 
scientists or others going for cloning of babies ... as a green light to go 
ahead," the diplomat warned.

Scientists who support cloning for medical purposes say they hope to use 
stem cells from human embryos to find cures for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's 
and other debilitating diseases. Stem cells, which are found in human 
embryos, umbilical cords and placentas, have not yet differentiated into 
any of the 220 cell types that make up the human body and so can divide and 
turn into any kind of cell in the body.

The Roman Catholic church and anti-abortion groups say stem cell research 
is tantamount to murder because it starts with the destruction of a human 

This year, President Bush restricted federal funding for human embryonic 
stem cell research to a select number of existing cells already harvested.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  The European parliament voted today by a large majority in favour
        of a total ban on human cloning
SOURCE: The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, UK
DATE:   Nov 21, 2002

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The European parliament voted today by a large majority in favour of a 
total ban on human cloning. An amendment to a report on life sciences and 
biotechnology which calls on the European commission and EU member states 
to push for a comprehensive cloning ban was adopted by 271 votes to 154. 
The amended paragraph 20 now reads: "[The European Parliament] solemnly 
reaffirms that the life and dignity of all human beings, whatever their 
stage of development and state of health, must be respected and is opposed 
to any form of research or use of life sciences and biotechnology that runs 
counter to this fundamental principle; repeats its insistence that there 
should be a universal and specific ban at the level of the United Nations 
on the cloning of human beings at all stages of formation and development 
and urges the Commission and the Member States to work towards this end." 
Pro-lifers were delighted at the vote, which represents a clear rejection 
of the Franco-German proposal at the United Nations for an international 
convention intended only to ban cloning for reproductive purposes. It also 
represents another rebuff of the UK's decision to encourage so-called 
therapeutic cloning, which has the active support of prime minister Tony 
Blair. The UK remains the only western country whose parliament has voted 
to allow the creation and destruction of cloned embryos in research - a 
decision which runs counter to the emerging international consensus.


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