Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The AU and human cloning
The Mail & Guardian reports today that the AU is looking to develop a common African position on human cloning. A number of African health ministers requested in a letter that it would be placed on the agenda of the next AU executive council meeting, saying "Human cloning has become an emotional and divisive issue also between African states," and added that "the question of human cloning raised serious ethical, legal, cultural, philosophical and religious questions regarding human dignity."

This raises two questions. Firstly, does Africa need an 'African position' on human cloning? Personally, I think that this is something that is policy that should be dealt with at governmental level. An 'African position' is not going to have any enforceable implementation and has the distinct possiblity of being reisgned to the bottom draw of accountable government policy. Moreover, the majority of African states do not have the scientific abilities to cure disease, let alone human cloning, and there are vastly superior priorities in health science development.

Secondly, is it viable to attempt to gain an 'African position'? Africa is a continent made up of 55 states with vastly different socio-cultural and religious values, and it may prove to be entirely impossible, or at best a distinct waste of time, to attempt to marry each state's diverse views. I think that the AU's time is better served elsewhere.