Opposition to the HGDP
1. Karioca Declaration (June
An assembly of indigenous peoples worldwide who met prior to the UN Conference
On Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio De Janeiro.
Mataatua Declaration (June 1993)
A meeting of over 150 participants, from 14 UN member states, who developed and
tabled with the United Nations the Declaration:
3.5 Calls for an immediate halt to the ongoing Human Genome Diversity
Project until is moral, ethical, socio-economic, physical and political
implications have been thoroughly discussed, understood and approved by
3. The UN-Working Group on Indigenous Populations (July 1993-94)
An annual UN meeting at which on average 300-400 indigenous representatives
attend. The working group and the Sub-commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (comprised of 26 human rights
experts) in Aug. 1994 approved Article 29 in the Declaration of the Rights of
Article 29: Indigenous peoples are entitled to the recognition of the
full ownership, control and protection of their cultural and intellectual
property. They have the right to special measures to control, develop and
protect their sciences, technologies and cultural manifestations including
human and other genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the
properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, and
visual and performing arts.
4. Maori Congress (1993)
An assembly of representatives of the tribes of the North and South Islands of
Aotearoa, passed resolutions at three Executive Meetings, condemning the
Project, the patenting of life-forms and the potential for the GATT to
encourage exploitation of genetic materials.
5. World Congress of Indigenous Peoples (1993)
WCIP are the ones who re-named the Project "The Vampire Project".
They have been consistent critics of the Project and of human genetic research
in general, working directly alongside communities at risk.
6. National Congress of American Indians (1993)
The NCAI is the oldest and largest national organization comprising
representative of all the American Indian tribal governments in the US. NCAI
passed Resolution No. NV-93-118 in 1993 declaring, among other things:
"NCAI does hereby condemn the HGDP and call upon all parties and
agencies involved in it and related activities to cease immediately.."
7. Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Position Paper on the HGD
"Vampire" Project (November 1993)
"The Vampire Project is legalized theft. The Vampire scientists are
planning to take and to own what belongs to indigenous people....We must make
sure that our people are not exploited once more by corporations, governments,
and their scientists."
8. Maori Congress Indigenous Peoples Roundtable (June 1994)
Indigenous participants from the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, Greenland
Home Rule Government, COICA (Peru) Treaty Six Chiefs (Alberta) and governmental
representatives from Vanuatu, PNG and Fiji.
5.l.5 The collection of genetic samples from indigenous peoples such as
the Human Genome Diversity Project, is unethical and immoral and must be
brought to an immediate halt.
9. Guaymi General Congress (1994 - Panama)
The Guaymi, along with PNG and Solomon Islands have experienced the horror of
discovering that the US government has taken patent claims over the cell lines
from people of their communities. In the case of the Guaymi, through effective
and focused protest, they were able to have the patent claim abandoned.
10. Geneva IPR Workshop (August 1994)
The International Academy of the Environment, along with WWF and the UN Centre
for Human Rights, convened in July 1994 an informal workshop to consider
Intellectual Property Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Approximately 50 people
"The issue of HUGO , and others related to human genes, is a serious
violation of our peoples rights. Without consultation with the indigenous
communities , several projects are now taking blood, hair, tissue and other
samples for purposes that are not clear. This practice of collecting samples
without our approval is very dangerous because in this way our genetic material
can be patented or used for other purposes. Such practices not only violate
ethics and human rights, but also violate nature, our spirituality, and our
knowledge of creation that connects us with all forms of life."
11. Latin & South American Consultation on Indigenous Peoples
Knowledge, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia (September 1994)
Rejected the HGD Project and human genetic research.
12. Asian Consultation on the Protection and Conservation of Indigenous
Peoples Knowledge, Sabbah, Malaysia (February 1995)
Rejected the HGD Project and human genetic research.
13. Declaration of Indigenous Organizations of the Western Hemisphere,
Phoenix, Arizona (February 1995)
A meeting of indigenous leaders from throughout the US, Canada, Panama,
Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina to focus specifically on the HGD Project.
"Our responsibility as Indigenous peoples is to ensure the
continuity of the natural order of all life is maintained for generations to
come...We have a responsibility to speak for all life forms and to the defend
the integrity of the natural order..We particular oppose the HGD Project which
intends to collect, and make available our genetic materials which may be used
for commercial, scientific and military purposes...We oppose the patenting of
all natural genetic materials. We hold that life cannot be bought, owned, sold,
discovered or patented, even in its smallest form..."
14. Pan-American Health Organization (April 1995)
PAHO passed a Resolution on 15 April 1993 opposing the HGD Project, and
"This type of research will have a negative impact on future health
programmes and projects in indigenous communities, by undermining indigenous
peoples' trust in the medical and health professions."
15. Pacific Consultation on the Protection and Conservation of Indigenous
Peoples Knowledge, Suva Statement (May 1995)
The Suva meeting has developed a Treaty declaring a Life-Forms Patent Free
Pacific. Within the Treaty, specific objection is directed to the HGD Project.
16. The "Heart of the Peoples" Declaration, from the North
American Indigenous Peoples Summit on Biological Diversity and Biological
Ethics (August 1997) Fort Belnap, Montana
Calls for a moratorium on the patenting of all life forms, and all
activities related to human genetic diversity involving indigenous peoples,
including access, sampling, testing, research and experimentation, and calls
for a return of all genetic samples taken from indigenous peoples with their
full prior informed consent.
17. Ukupseni Declaration, Kuna Yala on the Human Genome Diversity Project
(HGDP) Kuna Yala, Pamana (November 1997)
Condemns the Human Genome Diversity Project, calls for a moratorium on
the collection of genetic samples from indigenous peoples, demands the
repatriation of genetic samples and data already obtained by unethical means,
opposes the application of intellectual property law, and patents, to human
genes; and calls upon scientists to denouce any research conducted in a manner
that violates the protocols which protects the human right of human
Source: A paper presented by Aroha Te Parake Mead titled
"The Integrity of the Human Genes and Whakapapa," presented to
the New Zealand Health Research Council Consensus Development Workshop
"Whose Genes Are They Anyway: the Use and Misuse of Human Genetic
Information, Wellington (July 1995)
>> Model Resolution for Tribal Governments
>> Key Points for a resolution
Opposing the Human Genoome Diversity Project
BACK TO RESOLUTIONS PAGE