Legal Advisory Report and Policy Guidance – “DO NO HARM: Mitigating Human Rights Risks when Interacting with International Medical Institutions & Professionals in Transplantation Medicine” by international law firm, Global Rights Compliance
There is a new and comprehensive Legal Advisory Report and Policy Guidance, “DO NO HARM: Mitigating Human Rights Risks when Interacting with International Medical Institutions & Professionals in Transplantation Medicine” published by international law firm, Global Rights Compliance (GRC).
This was the world’s first business and human rights legal advisory addressing the legal obligations and responsibilities of transplantation medicine in the context of global organ trafficking. The Advisory provides a pragmatic human rights due diligence framework for universities, hospitals, medical institutions, grant awarding bodies, journals, and transplant professionals to assess activities that may cause, contribute to, or be linked to organ trafficking or forced organ harvesting. It advises how to avoid complicity through mitigation and remediation, and to sever ties where remediation is not possible.
The documents identify potential intersections between transplantation medicine, research and training, and international organ trafficking crimes, and explores the human rights risks of international collaborations in the field of organ transplantation. The Advisory outlines the hard and soft law obligations that govern such collaborations, while the Policy Guidance provides practical advice for mitigating risks, and outlines circumstances where disengagement may be required.
This ground-breaking Advisory is highly relevant to the legal profession, particularly those with interests in business and human rights, criminal law, human trafficking, modern slavery, human rights for ethnic and religious minorities and human rights issues.
We are currently coordinating private online briefings for legal professionals with Wayne Jordash KC from Global Rights Compliance, and would like to offer you a briefing for your organisation.
Given that we are a registered charity in the field of human rights education, this briefing is available free of charge. It would be an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the international law on complicity in the context of organ trafficking and the business and human rights obligations associated with transplant medicine, research and training, and to ask any questions that you may have.
Briefings have already taken place with a number of leading groups in the legal and medical fields. For example, in March 2023, the New York City Bar Association and Columbia University hosted a briefing on the GRC Advisory and Policy Guidance – https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/do-no-harm-business-and-human-rights-in-transplantation-medicine.
The accompanying Report published by New York City Bar can be found here – https://www.nycbar.org/member-and-career-services/committees/reports-listing/reports/detail/organ-harvesting-ethical-considerations
“The legal advisory report and policy guidance by Global Rights Compliance provide background information about the ethical and human rights risks associated with organ transplant medicine and specifically with forced organ harvesting in China. They set forth practical steps including adopting a human rights due diligence policy. They are valuable resources for human rights lawyers, as well as those working in organ transplant medicine and its related industries, who may be unaware that their inaction or policies could be enabling forced organ harvesting and other unethical practices. They sketch responsibilities and ways to mitigate human rights risks, especially in international research collaborations and they provide guidance on when to recommend disengagement. Lawyers representing hospitals, universities, and industry will benefit from a better understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities and the changing legal landscape.”
—Anne Zimmerman, JD, MS, Founder, Innovative Bioethics Forum; Editor-in-Chief, Columbia University’s Voices in Bioethics; Chair, Bioethical Issues Committee, New York City Bar Association
The GRC documents can be downloaded here – Do No Harm: Legal Advisory & Policy Guidance | Global Rights Compliance
Below we set out recent global developments that may be of interest:
2023 New York City Bar Report – Human Organ Supply: Report on Ethical Considerations and Breaches in Organ Harvesting Practices:
2023 Statement on Forced Organ Harvesting by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS):
“The United States government and American physicians should refuse to condone, enable, facilitate, or participate in forced organ harvesting, as by: Educating or Training personnel from a totalitarian country like communist China, or any other country, in skills that might be used for forced organ harvesting or referring patients to programs that use forced organ harvesting or participating in their care.”
View the full statement here: https://aapsonline.org/aaps-position-statement-on-forced-organ-harvesting/
2022 Statement/Policy on Transplant Ethics by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation:
“Given the body of evidence that the government of the People’s Republic of China stands alone in continuing to systematically support the procurement of organs or tissue from executed prisoners,submissions related to transplantation and involving either organs or tissue from human donors in the People’s Republic of China will not be accepted by ISHLT for the purposes listed above. This policy, including whether other countries systematically engage in the use of organs or tissue from non-consenting human donors and should be subject to this restriction, will be reviewed on an annual basis pending independently obtained proof that these practices have ceased.”
View the full statement here: https://ishlt.org/ishlt/media/documents/ISHLT_Statement_Transplant-Ethics_2022.pdf
As published on the ISHLT call for abstract submissions page here:
As published on the ISHLT policies page here:
2022 European Parliament Resolution was passed on “Reports of continued organ harvesting in China”:
Speeches that were presented in English can be viewed here:
Hilde Vautmans, MEP, Belgium – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU5_OEV5K6g
Sean Kelly, MEP, Ireland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQhRaTVvCzY
Miriam Lexmann, MEP, Slovakia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkkuVSQ62qg
Fabio Massimo Castaldo, MEP, Italy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjQl8VcWWXs
Jutta Urpilainen, Member European Commission https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zz-BE5Gnzk
2023 The US Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Bill of 2023 Passed in the House of Representatives:
View Press Release from Representative Chris Smith’s office here:
Further information on the bill can be found here:
2022 Amendment to the UK Health and Care Act Prohibits Commercial Organ Tourism:
2021 Amendment to the UK Medicines and Medical Devices Bill:
The new legislation is an extension to existing UK law and adds extra-territorial provisions; previously it was illegal to commercially trade in organs within the UK however the amendment provides ministers powers to introduce regulations to ensure that human tissues, organs and cells imported from overseas—that may have been forcibly harvested—are not allowed to enter the UK for use in medicine.
2022 Canada Passed an Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act:
2021 12 United Nations Special Rapporteurs (SR) and Human Rights Experts sent an official correspondence to the Chinese Government Regarding Forced Organ Harvesting:
View the UN SR press release issued by the OHCHR here: