Letter from the Editor, Ann F. Corson, MD

2021 was a busy year for human rights activists advocating against state-sanctioned live forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China.  This last DAFOH newsletter of 2021 provides a review and analysis of concerns over China’s organ harvesting.

Throughout the year, many local, regional, and country level governmental bodies throughout North America and Europe spoke out against China’s organ harvesting with resolutions and the introduction of legislation to help combat and stop the unethical practice.

In mid-June, twelve UN human rights experts, including nine Special Rapporteurs released a report expressing extreme alarm over “reports of alleged organ harvesting targeting minorities being held in detention in China, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims, and Christians.” But, as China quickly responded with indignant denials, many expressed concerns that could there would not be adequate international condemnation and subsequent action against China for its human rights abuses.

In September, DAFOH was one of five international NGOs who hosted the World Summit On Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting that brought together “experts from the fields of medicine, law, government, and media to unmask the truth about these transplant crimes and discuss how the global community can act to stop them.” Summaries of the six-day summit were published as two DAFOH newsletters: World Summit Week 1 and World Summit Week 2.

The Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting was released on the last day of the World Summit with the mission of “Safeguarding humankind’s inalienable rights and justice” by “Ending one of the worst mass atrocities of this century: forceful harvesting of organs from living persons for profit.” The five jointly initiating NGOs: Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, United States; CAP Freedom of Conscience, Europe; Taiwan Association for International Care of Organ Transplants, Taiwan; Korea Association for Ethical Organ Transplants, South Korea; and Transplant Tourism Research Association, Japan “invite all peoples of the world to step forward and support” and sign the Universal Declaration on its website.

In commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, DAFOH hosted a webinar on December 10th entitled “Humankind at a Crossroads: Universal Human Rights versus Commercialized Forced Organ Harvesting from Living People.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out, for the first time in history, fundamental human rights to be universally protected by all peoples of the world. Unfortunately, the practice of forced organ harvesting continues unabated in China and more needs to be done by the world’s people to stop this atrocity.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, appended by the newly introduced Universal Declaration on Combating and Preventing Forced Organ Harvesting, can pave the path to ensuring ethical standards and universal human rights are respected by all of humanity.