Brussels, 08 Dec 2003
A group of United Nations member states, led by Costa Rica, is expected to seek endorsement for an immediate ban on all forms of human cloning at the next meeting of the UN general assembly in December.
Countries that oppose plans to outlaw human therapeutic cloning believed they had succeeded in delaying the prospect of a total ban for two years, following a narrow victory by 80 votes to 79 in the UN's legal committee in November.
However, there is now speculation that some of the 15 countries that abstained during that vote have been persuaded to come down in favour of a total ban. Costa Rica's ambassador to the UN, Bruno Stango, told the Wired News service: 'We decided [that] we should seek to reopen the issue.'
A number of leading scientists, including Dolly the sheep creator Ian Wilmut, strongly oppose the prospect of a ban on human therapeutic cloning. They claim the practice offers the prospect of important medical breakthroughs, offering hope to millions of disease sufferers around the world.