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Senate calls for Australia to act against organ harvesting

Media Release
Janet Rice 24 Nov 2016

The Senate has passed a motion recognising the human rights challenges of forced organ procurement in parts of the world and inviting the government to tackle the problem of Australians travelling to receive organs from non-consensual donors.

“Organ harvesting is an unthinkable crime against humanity and we must do everything we can to stop it,” said Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice.

Australia is going backwards in its organ donation rates, which might be fuelling the unethical procurement of organs overseas. Some Australians may be receiving those organs, potentially unwittingly.

“One of the problems is that we lack enough information to tell how widespread the practice is.

“The evidence is that organ harvesting has been happening in China, with researchers estimating there have been as many as 1.5 million victims.

“The organs have come from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, but also Christians, Tibetans and Uighurs.

“Although China has claimed it has reformed its practices, the evidence suggests otherwise.

“This is an important step towards Australia joining other countries which are stamping out this appalling example of human rights abuses. I sincerely hope that the Government takes this recommendation seriously.”

Motion text:

Senator RICE:  I, and also on behalf of Senator Abetz, move:

  That the Senate—

  (a) notes:

      (i) deeply concerning reports of unethical organ procurement procedures in foreign countries, including forced organ procurement from executed prisoners and prisoners of conscience in state-led processes,

      (ii) that a number of countries including Israel, Spain and Taiwan have banned organ tourism, and the United States and the European Union have passed strong resolutions against it, and

      (iii) that limited data is available on Australians receiving organ transplants overseas; and

  (b) invites the Australian Government to consider:

      (i) making it an offence to travel overseas to receive an organ acquired from a non-consensual donor, and

      (ii) establishing a register of Australians travelling overseas to receive organ transplants, including details on the country in which they receive them.

Question agreed to.


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