NEWS.com.au,Australia: Human rights warning over organ tourism

HUMAN rights lawyers want Western nations to discourage or prevent their citizens
from going to China for human organs whose "donors" may have been killed
and the organs harvested.

Former Canadian cabinet member David Kilgour decried "organ tourism"
– rich foreigners buying a transplant which might have cost a Chinese life.

He and lawyer David Matas last year presented a report they say leads to the
inescapable conclusion that Falun Gong dissidents and other prisoners in China
are killed for their organs.

"Once a customer arrives into China, somebody’s killed for the organ,
whether it’s a prisoner sentenced to death or a Falun Gong practitioner, and
they just have this huge supply of people in jail waiting to be killed for organ
donations," Matas told reporters.

He said that was one reason China was seeing an explosion in dedicated organ
transplant facilities. The number of liver transplant facilities, for example,
multiplied to 500 last year from 22 before 1999.

Matas estimated that at least 100 Canadians have gone to China for transplants
although many might not know about the allegations that people are killed for
their organs. He suggested Canada and other countries should issue travel advisories
warning that transplants are sourced almost entirely from prisoners who do not
give their consent.

The report also called for legislation that would make it illegal for Canadians
to participate in an organ transplant without getting the donor’s consent.

Chinese Vice-Health Minister Huang Jiefu called last November for a network
to register all organ donations in what would be a step toward regulating the
transplant market.

Jiefu said that most organs came from executed prisoners rather than from traffic
fatalities.

Matas said none of these prisoners would have given their consent, and even
if they had, such consent would have been suspect. He said that the United States
bans the use of organs from executed prisoners for that reason.

"We shouldn’t be complicit in it," Matas said. "If we can impact
on the demand, then we can be saving the lives of these people who are executed
for their organs."

http://www.news.com.au/travel/story/0,23483,21157944-27977,00.html

Posting date: 4/Feb/2007
Original article date: 3/Feb/2007
Category: Media Report

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