New York(IANS) : Global leaders need to reach a compromise that outlaws reproductive cloning or be prepared to protect the rights of human clones from potential abuse, prejudice and discrimination.
A report by the United Nations University’s Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) says a ban on human cloning, coupled with freedom for nations to permit controlled therapeutic research, is the global community’s best option.
The report, titled “Is Human Reproductive Cloning Inevitable: Future Options for UN Governance” has been authored by UNU-IAS director A.H. Zakri.
Virtually every nation opposes human cloning and more than 50 have legislated bans on such efforts. However, negotiation of an international accord floundered at the UN in 2005 due to disagreement over research or therapeutic cloning.
“Human reproductive cloning could profoundly impact humanity,” said UN Under-Secretary-General Konrad Osterwalder. “This report offers a plain language analysis of the opportunities, challenges and options before us – a firm and thoughtful base from which the international community can revisit the issue before science overtakes policy.”
Without a global ban, the International Court of Justice could judge human reproductive cloning in certain countries perfectly legal, warned Brendan Tobin, Chamundeeswari Kuppuswamy, Darryl Macer and Mihaela Serbulea, co-authors of the report.
Tobin of the National University of Ireland said: “Failure to outlaw reproductive cloning means it is just a matter of time until cloned individuals share the planet.
“If failure to compromise continues, the world community must accept responsibility and ensure that any cloned individual receives full human rights protection.
“It will also need to embark on an extensive awareness building and sensitivity program to ensure that the wider society treats clones with respect and ensure they are protected against prejudice, abuse or discrimination.”
There is almost universal international consensus on the desirability of banning reproductive cloning based in part on religious and moral grounds, but mostly on concerns about underdeveloped technologies producing clones with serious deformities or degenerative diseases, Tobin added.
As technologies advance and possibilities of success increase, the current consensus is likely to erode and with it the possibility of securing a ban on reproductive cloning.