A Treaty To Safeguard Humanity and the Biosphere From Potential Catastrophe’s Issuing From Artificial Genetic Manipulation
Whereas the artificial[i] manipulation of genetic material, the substrate of all life, and is “likely to be the most radical experiment humankind has ever carried out in the natural world.”[ii], posing grave and even catastrophic results equivalent to nuclear holocaust for humans, other creatures, and the global biosphere for all time to come, and whereas the same promises major improvements in human health and other benefits, it is necessary to bring these processes under the active control of humankind by means of an international treaty.
Article One: The manipulation of genetic material to create new diseases or make old diseases more virulent for purposes of making biological weapons, shall be a crime against humanity prosecuted according to the protocols of the International Criminal Court and any appropriate national court with a penalty of life in prison without parole.
Article Two: All forms of and practice of artificial genetic manipulation shall be strictly confined to qualified scientists at universities and other certified institutions of higher learning whose work shall be overseen on site by independent ethics committees. No government laboratories will be assumed to qualify under these terms of restrictions.
Article Three: An independent organization of scientists, similar to the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose members are drawn from at least twenty-five different countries will be constituted to oversee and investigate all such research to evaluate its future impact on society and on the biosphere and recommend continuation or discontinuation of said research. These recommendations shall have the force of international law and violations prosecuted under the protocols of the International Criminal Court. The scientific community shall make the appointments to the Agency independently of national governments.
Article Four: It shall be illegal and construed as a crime against humanity to manipulate human genetic material that would result in transmission to subsequent generations or to in any way attempt to clone human beings.
What we can do
- Learn more about genetic manipulation.
- Debate and refine these provisions with others.
- Carry these provisions to any national or international organization to which we belong or which we think will be interested.
- Carry these provisions to our own federal officials and elected representatives.
- Carry these provisions to appropriate bodies in the United Nations, particularly ECOSOC.
[i] That is, any form of laboratory based manipulation, e.g., gene splicing, CRISPR, etc., outside of traditional methods of breeding of plants and animals by selecting for traits to be passed on via natural means to the next generation
[ii] Jeremy Rifkin, The Biotech Century: Harnessing The Gene And Remaking The World
(New York: Penguin/Putnam, 1998), p. x.