Council of Europe unveils ban on human cloning

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Council of Europe unveils ban on human cloning
Council of Europe unveils ban on human cloning

Council of Europe presents ban on human cloning

Council of Europe member states may sign a supplementary protocol to the Bioethics Convention banning human cloning. 14 member states want to commit themselves to anchoring the protocol's ban on cloning in their respective national law. The Federal Republic of Germany is not one of them.

We are in the situation of having implemented German law throughout Europe, explained Stefan Winter, Head of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the Federal Ministry of He alth, but we cannot sign the protocol because we have not yet signed the Bioethics Convention of the Council of Europe have. In Germany the discussion is still ongoing, for many the provisions of the protocol are not clear enough. The regulations for research with persons who are unable to consent, such as children, those placed under guardianship or the unconscious, are particularly controversial.

However, according to the Ministry of He alth in Germany, the German hesitation does not mean that there is a legal gap here. Rather, since 1990, the Embryo Protection Act has prohibited human cloning, the production of human embryos for scientific purposes and other interventions in the human germ line. However, the Bioethics Convention and the additional protocol set Europe-wide protection criteria in sensitive but nevertheless necessary research areas, according to Head of Division Winter. Take childhood leukemia, for example. We can now cure three quarters of all cases because of research involving children, said the government official.

A global ban on human cloning is far from in sight. Although there is a UNESCO declaration on the protection of the human genome, it only applies to members of the UN sub-organization and is not binding.

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