April 29, 2017

Statement by H.E. Mr. A. J. Jacovides Ambassador, Special Adviser Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly on “International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings”

Mr. Chairman,

 We have been attentively following the debate on this important and sensitive topic in the Sixth Committee and have carefully noted the contents of the Working Group’s Report (A/C.6/58/L.9) and its related documents and also the texts of the two draft resolutions in A/C.6/58/L.2 and A/C.6/58/L.8, each with an impressive list of cosponsors, ably introduced yesterday by the delegations of Costa Rica and Belgium, respectively.Mr. Chairman,

The reproductive cloning of human beings raises ethical, moral, philosophical, scientific, as well as legal issues and has far-reaching implications in all of these areas. Clearly, divergent views are strongly held by many delegations, as ably summarized by the Chairman of the Working Group in Annex II of its Report and repeated during the debate held in this Committee yesterday and this morning.

Cyprus is firmly opposed to the reproductive cloning of human beings. At the national level, we have already adopted binding legislation, implementing the 1998 First Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Biomedicine, which prohibits the cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes. At the international level, we take into full consideration the relevant existing international instruments and the contributions of UNESCO, WHO, the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Council of Europe. We fully support the elaboration of an international convention which would ban the reproductive cloning of human beings, thereby confirming the universal attitude of the international community that the reproductive cloning of human beings is not only unethical but also illegal.

In this connection, we express sincere appreciation to the German and French delegations, for their initiative in inscribing this item on the agenda of the General Assembly two years ago and for their ideas in the non-paper they submitted in the Working Group. Similarly, we see much merit in the realistic approach of the Belgian delegation in ably introducing yesterday draft resolution L.8. We note that it is intended as a compromise solution, in that it deals with human cloning in a single legal instrument containing a mandate for a convention with two elements, first, a total prohibition of reproductive cloning with no possibility of reservations; and second, an obligation on contracting parties to take action regarding therapeutic cloning in keeping with their own beliefs by either banning it altogether, or imposing a moratorium while waiting for a definitive stance, or by regulating it strictly in order to prevent abuse.

At the same time, we understand and appreciate the concerns of the many delegations cosponsoring the draft resolution L.2, introduced yesterday, with great conviction and with the support of impressive scientific data, by the delegation of Costa Rica . While we respect these concerns and the reasons supporting them, we feel that, on balance, additional scientific research can be of assistance in improving medical knowledge and having a better understanding of the scientific and ethical issues involved.

We are also convinced that a mandate for a convention which aims at universality can only be based on consensus, if it is to prove effective. This is not an issue that lends itself to decision by majority, especially in the Sixth Committee, which traditionally operates by compromise and consensus. While recognizing that there still exist divergent points of view, we feel and urge that a way be found to avoid voting and the reaching of a consensus that is to everyone’s best interest at the earliest possible time.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.