UNESCO chief condemns human cloning activities

30 December 2002

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today categorically condemned any research or practice directed towards reproductive human cloning and urged the international community to quickly act to ban such activities.

“This news, whether or not it is confirmed, brings home to us the urgent need to do everything possible, at both the national and international levels, to prohibit experiments that are not only scientifically risky but also ethically unacceptable, constituting as they do an intolerable violation of human dignity,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said, referring to the claim last week of the first cloning of a human being.

The Director-General said that “faced with such criminal practices, which we can only regard with disapproval and dismay, we must boldly press on with the efforts that, in 1997, led to the adoption of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights,” which bans practices that are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings.

“It is a matter of urgency that agreement be reached on a binding instrument of universal scope that prohibits and punishes any attempt at reproductive human cloning,” Mr. Matsuura said. “There can be no progress for humanity in a world where science and technology develop independently of all ethical imperatives.”

The Director-General also asked political leaders in every country and the international scientific, intellectual and juridical communities to cooperate in taking all appropriate measures “to respond as swiftly as possible to these challenges, which are a threat to the irreplaceable uniqueness of the human being.”


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