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Total ban on trading human organs must stay

A committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has reasserted the need for a total ban on any form of trading in human organs, expressing concern at recent suggestions that “some form of commercialisation” could be envisaged as a way of dealing with the shortage of organs for transplantation.

“Human organs must not be bought or sold or give rise to financial gain or comparable advantages for the person from whom they have been removed or for a third party,” said PACE’s Social Affairs Committee in a declaration unanimously adopted today, echoing a similar statement from Council of Europe experts last month. This was a “fundamental principle” of human dignity, enshrined in Council of Europe, EU and WHO texts, the committee said.

Moreover, removal of organs which violated this principle would be a crime under new Europe-wide laws due to be enshrined in a forthcoming multilateral treaty, the committee pointed out.