Autor: ---- Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

As momentum continues to build for a comprehensive ban on human cloning at the UN, cloning proponents are seeking a different more cloning-friendly venue. Namely they are trying to move the debate from the UN to the Paris-based International Bioethics Committee (IBC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Several diplomats and government officials have told the Friday Fax that they consider such a maneuver to be deeply anti-democratic, and little more than an effort to circumvent three years of public and open debate on cloning at the UN and replace it with the closed-door work of "experts" at UNESCO.

The IBC is now in the process of drafting a document called the Declaration on the Universal Norms on Bioethics, and an analysis of the members of the committee charged with writing the initial draft shows that the majority already favors research cloning, the creation of human embryos through cloning for their use and destruction in medical research.

Only one member of the committee, Professor Claude Huriet of France, has spoken publicly against the destruction of embryos for research, while seven members have made statements that appear to support the procedure.

Giovanni Berlinguer, an Italian politician and member of the Communist Party, has said that science should not be restrained by moral issues or dogma, and that the formulation of bioethical principles should be done "outside dogmas." Two other members have already stated that the use of embryos should not be addressed in the UNESCO Declaration. According to Roberto Andorno, "I have quite some difficulty in using the term 'against human dignity' as a sole justification to ban specific types of research or applications.Maybe it will be possible to agree on some generally accepted violations of human dignity (starvation, killing, torture) whereas for other issues (contraception, abortion, prenatal diagnosis, embryo research) we agree that a pluralistic approach is mandatory."

This "pluralistic approach" will ensure that the UNESCO Declaration remains silent on the issue of cloning for the purposes of human experimentation, which could then be considered tacit approval of the procedure.

The IBC drafting committee is working extremely quickly on the document, which leads one government official to believe that it is racing against the UN vote which is scheduled for this October. Because the UNESCO Declaration is not scheduled for completion before 2005, it is suspected cloning proponents will seek further delays in the UN vote. Last year, a coalition of countries including Costa Rica, the United States and the Holy See successfully reduced a two-year delay to one year, thereby setting the stage for this October's vote.
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