Resolution on Cloning, European Parliament, 1997 O.J. (C 115) 14.4/92 (Mar. 12, 1997)

The European Parliament,

-   having regard to the alarm caused by the announcement on 24 February 1997 from the Roslin Institute and Pharmaceutical Proteins Ltd of Scotland of the production of a sheep cloned from an adult cell and the possibility of such reproductive techniques being used to produce human embryos,

-   having regard to its resolutions of 16 March 1989 on the ethical and legal problems of genetic engineering(1) and artificial insemination 'in vivo' and 'in vitro'(2) and 28 October 1993 on the cloning of human embryos(3),

-   having regard to the Council of Europe's Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine ('Bioethics Convention')(4), and Parliament's resolution of 20 September 1996 thereon(5),

-   having regard to the reports of the Commission's ethical advisory group on biotechnology,

-   having regard to recommendation 1046 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the use of human embryos(6),

-   confirming its opposition to the cloning of human embryos, the position it adopted in its resolutions of 1989 and 1993 referred to above,

A.  whereas cloning breaks new ethical ground and has led to great public concern,

B.  in the clear conviction that the cloning of human beings, whether experimentally, in the context of fertility treatment, preimplantation diagnosis, tissue transplantation or for any other purpose whatsoever, cannot under any circumstances be justified or tolerated by any society, because it is a serious violation of fundamental human rights and is contrary to the principle of equality of human beings as it permits a eugenic and racist selection of the human race, it offends against human dignity and it requires experimentation on humans,

C.  whereas there is a need to ensure that the benefits of biotechnology are not lost as a result of sensationalist and alarmist information,

D.  whereas adequate methods of regulating and policing developments in the field of genetics must be established,

E.  whereas all necessary information must be made available to the public, and the EU must now take the lead in promoting full public consideration of these questions,

F.  whereas the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine does not expressly ban the cloning of human beings, and in any event is not yet in force in any EU Member State,

G.  whereas some Member States have no national legislation prohibiting the cloning of human beings,

H.  whereas cloning of humans for all purposes should be banned in the EU,

I.  whereas international action is required,

1.  Stresses that each individual has a right to his or her own genetic identity and that human cloning is, and must continue to be, prohibited;

2.  Calls for an explicit worldwide ban on the cloning of human beings;

3.  Urges the Member States to ban the cloning of human beings at all stages of formation and development, regardless of the method used, and to provide for penal sanctions to deal with any violation;

4.  Calls on the Commission to report to it on any research carried out in this field on Community territory and on the legal framework existing in the Member States;

5.  Calls on the Commission to check whether human cloning could form part of research programmes financed by the Community and, if so, to block the appropriations for them;

6.  Believes it is essential to establish ethical standards, based on respect for human dignity, in the areas of biology, biotechnology and medicine;

7.  Believes that it is desirable for such standards to apply globally and that they should conform to a high level of protection;

8.  Considers that the direct protection of the dignity and rights of individuals is of absolute priority as compared with any social or third- party interest;

9.  Calls for the establishment of a European Union Ethics Committee to assess ethical aspects of applications of gene technology and to monitor developments in this field; calls on the Commission to submit proposals for the composition and terms of reference of the committee under the procedure set out in Article 189b of the EC Treaty, while ensuring that it is constituted with full respect for transparency and democratic principles, and that all appropriate interested groups are represented;

10.  Considers that, in view of the universality of the principles relating to the dignity of the human being, efforts must be made by the European Union, its Member States and the United Nations to promote worldwide governance on this issue and to promote and put into effect binding international agreements in order to ensure that such principles are applied worldwide;

11.  Calls on researchers and doctors engaged in research on the human genome to abstain spontaneously from participating in the cloning of human beings until the entry into force of a legally binding ban;

12.  Aknowledges that research in the field of biotechnology, in particular the manufacture of proteins, medicines and vaccines for human use, could help to combat certain diseases;

13.  Considers that the international scientific community and governments should provide the public with complete and up-to-date information on current research relating to gene technology;

14.  Calls on the Commission, in connection with its research programmes, to prepare a recommendation concerning bioethics laying down strict limits on its research in accordance with respect for human life and to consider, if necessary, whether action at Community level is necessary;

15.  Calls on the Commission to propose Community legislation on animal cloning and in particular on the new scientific developments, with strict controls to guarantee human health and the continuation of animal species and races and to safeguard biological diversity;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments of the Member States, the Secretary-General and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Secretary- General of the United Nations.

(1)OJ C 96, 17.4.1989, p. 165.
(2)OJ C 96, 17.4.1989, p. 171.
(3)OJ C 315, 22.11.1993, p. 224.
(4)Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 1996, document DIR/JUR(96)14 of the Directorate of Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe.
(5)OJ C 320, 28.11.1996, p. 268.
(6)Recommendation 1046(1986) adopted on 24 September 1986 (18th sitting).

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