Details of Treaty No.168

Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings
Title Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings
Reference CETS No.168
Opening of the treaty Paris, 12/01/1998  - Treaty open for signature by the Signatories to Treaty ETS 164
Entry into Force 01/03/2001  - 5 Ratifications including 4 member States.
Summary

The Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings is the first and only binding international legal instrument developed in this area. Reacting to the successful cloning of mammals in particular by the embryo splitting and nuclear transfer, the Council of Europe wanted to prevent further drift of applying this technique to human possibility.

Article 1 of Protocol prohibits "any intervention seeking to create a human being genetically identical to another human being alive or dead." Article 2 excludes exemption from this prohibition (eg, for reasons of public safety, prevention of crime, protection of public health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others).

These absolute prohibitions are based on the need to protect the identity of the human being to preserve the randomness of natural genetic combination that gives it its freedom and uniqueness, and to prevent its exploitation.

The scope of the Protocol is exclusively that of cloning human beings. It is therefore not intended to comment on the ethical acceptability of cloning cells and tissue for research purposes and for use in medicine, a field in which these techniques can prove to be valuable tools.

Finally, the Protocol leaves the domestic laws of the States to define the scope of the term "human being."

Along with the Convention, certain of whose provisions it supplements, the Protocol enshrines important principles which provide the ethical basis for further biological and medical developments, both now and in the future.


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Related sites
  • Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law - Bioethics
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