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Ukupseni Declaration, Kuna Yala on the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP)

The Indigenous peoples' organizations gathered in the community of Ukupseni, Kuna Yala, with regard to the Human Genome Diversity Project(HGDP), declare:

Considering that for Indigenous Peoples, life constitutes a set of elements forming a small universe with relationships and inseparable harmonic dependencies, and after giving careful consideration to the Human Genome Diversity Project and other independent investigations on the human genome, we conclude:

a) That this research and other research projects on Indigenous peoples genome go against human life and, in particular, violate the genetic integrity of Indigenous Peoples and their values.

b) The process of genetic collection, based on deception and exploitation of poverty and mariginalization, violates fundamental human rights and collective rights, often with the consent of governments.

c) This research is an act of piracy and theft, and consists of an assault against Indigenous Peoples.

d) We consider that all funding for this research constitutes an assault against humanity and an open violation of Indigenous Peoples rights.

e) Having evidence that intense research already has been carried out and continues to be done in our communities, we demand the immediate suspension of these activities and the repatriation of all genetic collections, original genetic material, isolated cell lines, and the data obtained in this research.

f) We request that the international scientific community condemn any research that has been carried out contrary to recognized human values and moral principles, and that violates the international codes of ethics described in the Nuremberg Code and the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

g) We condemn all attempts to commercialize genetic material, or genetic cell lines of human beings, and in particular those of Indigenous Peoples.

h) We reject the use of existing mechanisms in the legalization of intellectual property and patent systems use of existing mechanisms including intellectual property rights and patents to legalize the appropriation of knowledge and genetic material, whatever their source, and especially that which comes from our communities.

i) For us, the concept of "individual consent" is a violation of our cultural norms and ignores our collective rights.

j) Indigenous peoples do not oppose development and use of new technologies provided they do not violate our harmonic relationships, principles of solidarity, and universally recognized fundamental rights.

k) We also condemn the active participation of some universities and NGO's who, in complicity with large transnationals, attempt to violate the spiritual, material and political integrity of Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous Peoples gathered in Ukupseni, Kuna Yala declare that our millennial existence has been based on the principles of respect, solidarity and harmony with the natural elements. In this context, our declaration is a contribution to all of humanity.

Organizations and Indigenous nations present in the Workshop on the "Human Genome Diversity Project", Ukupseni, Kuna Yala, 12-13 November 1997.