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World's first anti-organ trafficking treaty opens

The agreement would make it illegal to take organs from people living or dead without their free and full consent, according to the text drafted by members of Europe’s top rights body, the Council of Europe. The treaty also bans making money off transplants.

It will “fill in the gaps (in legislation) and puts in place protection for the victims,” council Secretary General Thorbjoern Jagland said Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation estimates that some 10,000 black market transplants are carried out every year, a problem that frequently involves international crime and desperate victims.

Fourteen nations — including Britain, Spain, Italy and Turkey — are expected to sign the treaty Wednesday at an international conference devoted to the topic in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

At least five countries have to ratify the agreement, which is open to all countries, before it takes effect.

Under the treaty, victims would be eligible for compensation, but would also be the focus of prevention efforts which are intended to guarantee the transparency of and equitable access to transplant services.

Governments will be allowed to decide whether to prosecute organ donors as well as if they should be considered as accomplices in the trafficking.

Other countries expected to sign Wednesday include: Albania, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Moldavia, Poland and Portugal. -AFP



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