Votemos junto a UNESCO para coibir o experimento em embriões humanos

World scientists’ declaration on human rights for nascent human beings


As human ideals, human rights are immutable, even elegant in their obviousness and simplicity. No one should be abandoned to undue harm from another, no matter how young, no matter how old, no matter how weak, no matter how small. Each human being begins life with an instant right to protection from injurious acts by others.  If humanity will remain extant, the able must be unfailing in recognising and honouring a natural duty to safeguard innocents from harm. A human life is most glorious, when honoured with caring.

In recent decades, humanity has found itself in conflict and in contradiction over inconsistently-applied respect or disregard for the inviolable human rights of its nascent and unborn members, embryos and foetuses. At immediate issue, on 28-29 October 2008, the International Bioethics Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IBC-UNESCO) will deliberate whether human therapeutic cloning violates the principles of human rights, and is therefore impermissible.

Different than many past issues considered by IBC-UNESCO, the permissibility of human therapeutic cloning, not unlike abortion before it, rests on scientific reason; that reason being the assessment of whether embryos and foetuses are living human beings, the only requirement for full membership in the human family, with all the rights and privileges that pertain thereto, chief among them being the right to life. Thus, in this moment of human struggle, it is the sound thinking and truthful voices of scientists of human biology that are most needed and most appropriate.

Therefore, in this hour of great human need, for the sake of humanity and its future, world scientists and physicians of proper expertise and moral conscience are called upon to endorse the following declaration of the inalienable human rights of nascent human beings forthwith:


We, in our capacity as members of society who undertake scientific discovery and deliberate on scientific knowledge, herein pledge to respect the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults.

Based on sound science, human embryos, from the moment of fertilisation, are new living beings because of their unique genome and their ability to direct their own development. Human embryos are necessarily members of the human species because their life and form derive from the genome of the human species. It is an immutable law for life on earth that the genome of each species produces its own particular life and form. With rare exceptions, all biological life on earth follows a developmental continuum from embryonic form to mature form. Each stage of human development is equal in value to every other stage.

Humanity is now at a point in its history where human life may be initiated by means other than the natural union of human egg and sperm. These manipulations include, but are not limited to, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, parthenogenesis and somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning). The human genome also may be hybridised with other species to produce cross-species entities.

As stewards of humanity’s scientific investigations, including into its own nature, we here acknowledge, accept and profess our implicit obligation and responsibility to conduct ethically responsible research. In particular, when scientific research has the potential to harm human embryos or foetuses, we pledge that ethical principles will govern all considerations regarding the permissibility or otherwise of such research.

With this pledge, we request the removal of all existing permissions and practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalisation of abortion and approval for research that harms or destroys human embryos. Moreover, because human embryos and foetuses cannot consent, even research that is directed to their benefit must only be considered with the highest degree of ethical scrutiny.

We declare that every stage in the developmental continuum of human life has the same right to life and right to protection from harm as all others. As scientists, we pledge that we will not conduct, enable, support, or condone research or any other activity that violates this basic principle of human rights. Moreover, with this declaration we call on others, both scientists and non-scientists, to restore reason and humility to the manner in which each member of the human family is regarded, valued, and treated.

Denying embryonic and foetal human beings their inherent rights can only diminish the whole of humanity and hinder the search for truth that is the essence of the scientific endeavour.


James SHERLEY, MD, PhD, senior scientist, Boston Biomedical Research Institute, United States.