General Assembly legal committee postpones cloning debate for two years

6 November 2003

The United Nations today narrowly voted to postpone for two years debate on competing human cloning resolutions that had divided the General Assembly.

The United Nations today narrowly voted to postpone for two years debate on competing human cloning resolutions that had divided the General Assembly.

In an 80 to 79 ballot with 15 abstentions, the Assembly's Legal Committee approved a procedural motion from Iran, backed by 56 mostly Islamic States, that effectively put off a showdown on the two resolutions. Although both versions ban all human reproductive cloning, they differ on language referring to the treatment of human cells for other than reproduction.

The vote in the Legal Committee means neither resolution will get to the General Assembly for at least two years.

Michele Montas, spokesperson for Assembly President Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia, had described the body as "divided" on the issue.

A Belgian draft, submitted with 13 co-sponsors, while banning all human reproductive cloning, calls upon States "to take action to control other forms of human cloning by adopting a ban or imposing a moratorium or regulating them by means of national legislation."

A draft sponsored by Costa Rica and 44 other countries bans all forms of human cloning.

In both cases the drafts are not meant to come to resolutions, but to frame the instructions to an ad hoc committee, which, in turn, would be charged with drawing up a resolution.

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Video of legal committee meeting

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