Genetic Engineering Risks Racism, Vatican Warns

Updates 1988 Document for U.N. Conference

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 31, 2001 ( In an era of artificial procreation and human cloning, genetic engineering risks becoming a «new form of racism,» the Vatican warns in a newly updated document.

«The development of these techniques might lead to the creation of a subcategory of human beings destined, essentially, for the well-being of a few,» the Vatican states in the document «The Church in Face of Racism: For a More Fraternal Society.»

This might lead to «a new and terrible form of slavery,» the document continues.

The document, an update of a 1988 report, laments the return of the «eugenic temptation,» which it says can be seen in the «enormous business interests» that are behind this type of experimentation.

«Governments and scientific communities will have to pay much attention in this area,» the Vatican states.

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace updated the 1988 document for the U.N. International Conference Against Racism, which began today in Durban, South Africa.

The document shows how various forms of racism are intensifying, while the process of globalization moves ahead.

«In regard to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and behaviors linked to intolerance, sadly, since 1988 until today, the situation has not improved,» the document says. «What is more, it has worsened, as the movement of peoples has continued to increase, to the point that the conflict between cultures, and the multiethnic character of the population, have become a real social problem.»

According to the Vatican analysis, «the fall of the Berlin Wall has spread resentment and nationalism, which was hidden during the years of the Iron Curtain.» The situation has become more serious in Africa too, it says, despite the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

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