Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN ORGANS AND TISSUES (6290/03)

Letter from the Chairman to Mr Bob Ainsworth MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office

  Thank you for your detailed Explanatory Memorandum of 13 March. It was most helpful for Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) in its examination of the proposal on 2 April. The Committee welcomes the attempt to extend the EU legal framework aimed at combating the scourge of trafficking in human beings and notes that the proposal raises a number of important ethical, social and public health issues. We have, however, a number of concerns regarding:

Drafting

  There are, as you point out, a number of drafting problems in the instrument. The Committee notes that the drafting is currently being revisited by the Greek Presidency.

Scope

  The Committee shares your concerns regarding the inclusion of donors in the scope of the proposal. Article 2(b) is presumably aimed at combating the sale of human organs for profit. As the meaning of "promise of financial consideration" is not clear, however, the provision may lead to the broad criminalisation of organ donation (with heavy penalties if the removal caused serious physical harm or has placed the person's life in danger). The wording needs to be tightened.

Liability of legal persons

  Problems with implementing these provisions have also been highlighted in the context of other proposals—such as the draft Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia. We note the solution which is proposed by the Department of Health in this specific context. Could the "responsible person" formula constitute a general model for implementing the liability of legal persons provisions of all Third Pillar instruments?

Jurisdiction

  As you note in your EM, the jurisdiction provisions in Article 7 are very wide. Is this acceptable to the Government?

  We would welcome your comments on these points. We understand that a revised version of the proposal will soon be deposited for scrutiny and would be content for your comments on the above to be incorporated in the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the new draft.

  The Committee decided to clear the documents from scrutiny.

3 April 2003


 
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