United Nation’s Head Opposes Human Cloning Ban, U.S. and Costa Rica Firm

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

United Nation’s Head Opposes Human Cloning Ban, U.S. and Costa Rica Firm

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 21, 2004

New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — The head of the United Nations says he opposes a proposal to draft a treaty banning all forms of human cloning. Meanwhile, the United States and Costa Rica are standing firm in their resolve to fight for a complete ban rather than delay a vote for another year or allow a partial ban to pass.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday endorsed embryonic stem cell research and said he opposes efforts by the 61 nation coalition, headed by the U.S. and Costa Rica, to draft a treaty opposing both reproductive and research cloning.

"Obviously it is an issue for the member-states to decide, but as an individual and in my personal view, I think I would go for therapeutic cloning," Annan told reporters Thursday.

Meanwhile, a U.S. diplomatic official told the French Press Agency that its position in favor of banning all human cloning has not changed.

"A partial ban that prohibits cloning for reproductive purpose but permits the destruction of cloned human embryos for experimental purposes is unacceptable," the State Department official said.

"Our position on cloning has not changed. We believe all cloning is wrong and should be banned," the official said.

A Costa Rican representative told the Associated Press that his country isn’t changing its mind either. However, Costa Rica’s U.N. Ambassador Bruno Stagno Ugarte also said he was concerned that pressure is building to delay a vote another year.

"We are convinced that we enjoy a clear majority. However, and I think we must be realistic here, we still face the specter of some type of procedural vote as a way of avoiding our responsibilities to address an urgent and important matter," Stagno told AP.

The UN’s legal committee opened debate on Thursday on guidelines for drafting a human cloning ban treaty.

On Monday, Moroccan U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Bennouna, who chairs the legal committee, said he would do everything in his power to delay a vote for another year, claiming the international community is not ready to vote on the controversial issue.

"This has become such an emotional issue that I hope to avoid a vote this year," Bennouna told Reuters.

The U.S. and Costa Rica want nations to sign on to a treaty saying "human cloning, for any purpose whatsoever, is unethical, morally reproachable and contrary to due respect for the human person and that it cannot be justified or accepted."

Belgium and other European nations are rallying a smaller group of countries in opposition.

The Belgian group of nations, with twenty-one supporters, have drafted a competing proposal that bans human cloning for reproduction but allows it for research.

In a September speech, President Bush endorsed the complete ban on human cloning.

"In this session, the U.N. will consider a resolution sponsored by Costa Rica calling for a comprehensive ban on human cloning. I support that resolution and urge all governments to affirm a basic ethical principle: No human life should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another," he said.

The issue has divided the U.S. presidential candidates with Senator John Kerry co-sponsoring a Senate bill, SB 303, that allows scientists to clone and kill human beings for research.

Related web sites:
United Nations – https://www.un.org
U.S./Costra Rica Cloning Ban – https://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/c.6/59/L.2