Vatican summit participants vow efforts to stop organ trafficking

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Vatican summit on organ
trafficking called for greater efforts to prevent the exploitation of those
vulnerable to corrupt health professionals and criminal networks making the
sale of human organs possible.

“We, the undersigned participants of the Pontifical
Academy of Sciences summit on organ trafficking, resolve to combat these crimes
against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders
around the world,” said the final statement, released to the public Feb.

The summit, held at the Vatican Feb. 7-8, brought
together government ministers, judges, law enforcement personnel, medical
professionals, human rights activists and journalists — in all, representing
more than 50 nations, especially those plagued by organ trafficking, like
China, Mexico, India, Pakistan and Iran, where the sale of human organs is

One of the summit’s goals, according to its brochure, was
to build an alliance comprised of prosecutors, legal experts, governments and
healthcare professionals from all over the world to encourage each other to put
pressure on their own nations to implement measures to stop organ trafficking
and transplant tourism.

Signatories to the final statement approved 11
recommendations that will be proposed to “national, regional and municipal
governments, ministries of health, to the judiciary, to the leaders of the
major religions, to professional medical organizations, and to the general
public for implementation around the world.”

The recommendations included defining the use of organs
from executed prisoners — a practice human rights groups say happens in China
— and payments to donors — which is legal in Iran — “as crimes that
should be condemned worldwide and legally prosecuted at the national and
international level.”

It asked religious leaders do more to encourage the
ethical and free donation of organs while condemning organ trafficking.

It called on nations to do more in preventative
health care so as to reduce, where possible, the demand for organs, and to
improve people’s access to safe, ethical and regulated procedures in their own

It also recommended the creation of international data
banks to track all organ procurements and transplants and share data on
transplant-related crimes so as to “yield a clearer understanding of their
nature and scope and of the organization of the criminal networks

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Editor’s note: Full statement in English found online at:

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