United Nations passes Declaration on human cloning

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The declaration was passed at the UN general assembly

A divided UN General Assembly has voted to approve a nonbinding statement against all forms of human cloning.

The vote, held Tuesday, came after four years of debate and an end to attempts for an international ban.

In the 191-nation assembly, there were 84 votes in favor of a nonbinding statement, 34 against and 37 abstentions.

Proposed by Honduras, the statement was largely supported by Roman Catholic countries and opposed by countries with active embryonic stem cell research programs. Many Islamic nations abstained.

The UN Declaration on Human Cloning, as it is named, calls for all member states to adopt a ban on human cloning, which it says is "incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."

The US, which has long pushed for a complete ban, voted in favor of the statement while traditional ally Britain, where therapeutic cloning is legal and regulated, voted against it.

The statement should have no impact on countries that allow therapeutic cloning, such as Britain and South Korea, as it is not legally binding.

"The foes of therapeutic cloning are trying to portray this as a victory for their ideology," Bernard Siegel, a Florida attorney who lobbies to defend therapeutic cloning, said in a Reuters report. "But this confusing declaration is an effort to mask their failure last November to impose a treaty on the world banning therapeutic cloning."

Breakdown of the vote

Of the 191 countries eligible to vote:

In favor

84 countries voted in favor of the declaration against cloning:

Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

Against

34 countries voted against the declaration:

Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom.

Abstention

37 countries abstained from voting on the declaration against cloning:

Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Absent

36 countries were absent from and during the vote on the declaration against cloning:

Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bhutan, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Sources