The United Nations has called on member states to adopt urgent legislation outlawing all cloning practices "as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life." The declaration, introduced by Honduras, also calls on countries to "prevent the exploitation of women." Cloning requires harvesting eggs from women. The decision by the Sixth Committee (Legal) of the United Nations ends three years of deadlock caused by countries seeking approval for cloning research. The United Kingdom, Belgium and Singapore led the opposition for a total ban, insisting that a ban should only apply to letting a cloned human live while allowing cloned embryos to be used for research which would kill them. The declaration represents the international community uniting in condemning all human cloning as exploitative and unethical. At the insistence of delegates from developing countries who feared their women being turned into "egg farms," the declaration calls on Member States to introduce measures to prevent the exploitation of women. Delegates expressed concern that poor women would be targeted to extract the vast numbers of eggs that would be needed, inevitably inflicting painful, dangerous and invasive procedures on vulnerable women. Included is a proposal calling for wealthier nations to direct attention and funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It also condemns all applications of any genetic engineering techniques which threaten human dignity. This declaration represents a significant step forward in advancing respect for human life. Previously, some countries have blocked moves to ban all cloning with claims that stem cells from cloned embryos will treat various maladies (so-called "therapeutic cloning"). Not a single person has ever been helped by these embryo stem cells. However, ethical adult stem cells are providing miraculous treatments for numerous conditions, including spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's Disease, cancer, heart failure and blindness doing what cloning supporters can only promise. The declaration has the same immediate effect as if the committee endorsed a convention in that it sets an international standard. It sends a clear signal to countries that encourage the practice, such as the United Kingdom in particular where two "licences" for research cloning have been issued. The first is currently subject to a legal challenge on the basis that the cloning "licence" was unnecessary and otherwise granted unlawfully. The legal challenge is being brought by Peng Voong, who works as a Public Policy Analyst for the UK Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, and is due to be heard in the High Court shortly. Voong's legal team is also considering a similar challenge of the second licence, issued to Professor Wilmut who is famous for creating Dolly the Sheep. Andrea Williams, Barrister and Public Policy Officer of the LCF said: "The United Kingdom has a duty to fulfil its international obligations with a thorough re-evaluation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act and interpretation of the law consistent with the UN declaration. If the international community can recognise the gross violation to human dignity and human life that human cloning involves, why can't we?" Source: LCF
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