Human rights education & vulnerable groups

by David Matas Does human rights education help to realize the human rights of the most vulnerable groups? International Conference on Human Rights Education, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DC. Human rights education spreads the language of human rights to everyone, perpetrators as well as victims. This vocabulary can be and has been…

The Protocol on Trafficking in Persons and Transplant Tourism

by David Matas

Prepared for a side event to the Conference of States Parties, Vienna, Austria.

Does the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime encompass transplant tourism?  That is a question I want to address.  My answer to that question is yes.  Getting to that answer though takes some explaining.

I should state up front that, though this question is general, I approach it from quite a particular perspective.  I wrote a report with David Kilgour in June 2006 which concluded that prisoners of conscience in China, practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong, were being killed for their organs which were being sold at high prices to transplant patients, mostly transplant tourists.  We produced a second version in of our report in January 2007 and a third version in book form under the title Bloody Harvest in November 2009.   Our report prompted the founding of a non-governmental organization Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting or DAFOH.  I and Dr. Torsten Trey, the founder of DAFOH, co-edited a book of essays on organ transplant abuse in China published in August 2012 under the name State Organs. Ethan Gutmann, in research with Jaya Gibson, announced in June 2010, and, in a book titled The Slaughter published in August 2014, wrote that the killing of innocents for their organs had spread from Falun Gong to Tibetans, Eastern Lightning house Christians and Uighurs.

Canadian Remedies for Organ Transplant Abuse in China

by David Matas

Presented to a forum at The National Archives, Ottawa

I want to express my appreciation for the remarks of Ethan Gutmann and Damon Noto.  I have been on this file for over eight years now and it is a relief to have colleagues as informed and articulate as Ethan and Damon joining me and David Kilgour in our efforts. 

Today I am not going to talk about the evidence.  I start with an assumption that you are either convinced by my colleague or at least troubled enough by what they said to want to do something about it. The question I want to address is what that something in Canada might be.

Ethical Standards and Chinese Organ Transplant Abuse

img895954BY DAVID MATAS

Chamber of Deputies, Rome, Italy

I wrote a report with David Kilgour in June 2006 which concluded that prisoners of conscience in China, practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong, were being killed for their organs which were being sold at high prices to transplant patients. We produced a second version in of our report in January 2007 and a third version in book form under the title Bloody Harvest in November 2009.   Our report prompted the founding of a non-governmental organization Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting or DAFOH. I and Dr. Torsten Trey, the founder of DAFOH, co-edited a book of essays on organ transplant abuse in China published in August 2012 under the name State Organs.

Going through all relevant evidence to come to an informed conclusion on the killing of Falun Gong for their organs is a time consuming task and it is unrealistic to expect everyone interested in the issue to do that. That does not mean though that those who have neither the time nor inclination to engage in this work should to nothing.

David Matas Combatting in Utah

0 BY DAVID MATAS

(Remarks prepared for delivery to the University of Utah, 19 September, 2014)

I want today to address two topics, the evidence about the killing of Falun Gong for their organs and what Utah can do about it.

  1. Evidence

I am a lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in private practice. My clients are primarily refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada. I have been engaged in this professional work for almost all of my professional career.

 

Because my clients flee human rights violations, I have become familiar through my work with the human rights situation in many countries, including China. I try, as best I can, not only to assist my clients in obtaining protection, but also to combat the human rights violations which caused them to flee. In addition to tribunal and court work for individual clients, I have become involved in research, writing, advocacy and activism in the broader human rights scene.

David Matas: ‘Transplant Tourism from the Middle East’

938-674x499BY DAVID MATAS

Remarks prepared for delivery to the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation, Istanbul, Turkey, 10 September, 2014

There needs to be more of an effort in the Middle East to combat transplant tourism from the Middle East. National professional associations should require compliance with international standards.

My focus is, in particular, transplant tourism from the Middle East into China. Why I have this focus will, in the course of this presentation, become apparent.

International Standards

These professional international standards worth noting:

The Transplantation Society Ethics Committee Policy Statement ‑ Chinese Transplantation Program November 2006 and Mission Statement (TTS).

The Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism May 2008 (Istanbul)

World Health Organization Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation, May 2008 (WHO)

World Medical Association Statement on Organ and Tissue Donation October 2012 (WMA)

Update on Numbers – Organ Transplants & Sources in China

figuresby David Matas

Remarks prepared for a parallel and poster presentation to the World Trade Congress, San Francisco, California, USA, 29 July, 2014)

How many organ transplants are there each year in China? What are the sources of these organs?

David Kilgour and I, in a report published first in July 2006 and then January 2007 , concluded that there were 41,500 transplants in the six year period 2000 to 2005 where the only explanation for the sourcing was Falun Gong practitioners. In November 2009, in our book Bloody Harvest, we concluded that, since our report, matters got worse, that there had been an increase in sourcing of organs from Falun Gong practitioners .

The Government of China has acknowledged that organs for transplants done in China has come overwhelmingly from Chinese prisoners. The claim of the Government of China has been that these prisoners who are the sources of organs harvested for transplants are convicted criminals sentenced to death and then executed who consented before execution to the use of their organs for transplants.

Flip flopping in China over sourcing organs from prisoners

20140531-2_2by David Matas

A public lecture at the Galbraith Building, University of Toronto, 28 May 2014

I want in this talk to cover two topics: the evidence of the killing of Falun Gong for their organs; and recent developments in China on this issue.

Evidence

I am a lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in private practice. My clients are primarily refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada. I have been engaged in this work for almost all of my professional career.

Because my clients flee human rights violations, I have become familiar through my work with the human rights situation in many countries, including China. I try, as best I can, not only to assist my clients in obtaining protection, but also to combat the human rights violations which caused them to flee. In addition to tribunal and court work for individual clients, I have become involved in research, writing, advocacy and activism in the broader human rights scene.

Forced Organ Harvesting Continues in China, Canadian Lawyer Says

449161778_1280By Epoch Times

The Chinese regime’s macabre practice of killing prisoners of conscience for their organs and selling them to transplant tourists for “huge money” has not abated—that was the grim message imparted at a University of Toronto seminar on May 28.

Forced organ harvesting in China was the topic of the seminar, and Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer David Matas told his audience that the vast majority of organs are seized by killing illegally imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners who are targeted by the state.

Matas is co-author of two books on the subject, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs and State Organs: Transplant Abuse in China. His work on drawing attention to the issue worldwide since 2006 garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2010.

Seminar: Forced Organ Harvesting in China – guest speaker DAVID MATAS

fohcflyer475x7inBy The Star

On Wednesday, 28 May 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT) Toronto, Ontario David Matas, a Canadian human rights lawyer, will speak about the continuing Chinese practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners of conscience.

In China a heart can be purchased and transplanted for about $130,000, a kidney for $62,000.

The organs are largely harvested from prisoners of conscience, such as Falun Gong members, and purchased by desperate transplant tourists who fly in and out without considering the source. The practice made international headlines in 2006 with a report by Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer David Matas, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. He turned that study into a book, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs.

Update and next steps: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs

david-matasRevised remarks to the European Economic and Social Committee

19 March 2014, Brussels, Belgium

by David Matas

I want in this talk to cover three topics: the evidence on the killing of Falun Gong for their organs; recent developments and next steps to combat organ transplant abuse in China.

Evidence

I am a lawyer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in private practice. My clients are primarily refugee claimants seeking protection in Canada. I have been engaged in this professional work for almost all of my professional career.

Because my clients flee human rights violations, I have become familiar through my work with the human rights situation in many countries, including China. I try, as best I can, not only to assist my clients in obtaining protection, but also to combat the human rights violations which caused them to flee. In addition to tribunal and court work for individual clients, I have become involved in research, writing, advocacy and activism in the broader human rights scene.

The Italian Parliament and Chinese organ transplant abuse – by David Matas

Presentation to a Senate Human Rights Committee hearing and a Chamber of Deputies briefing session.

Italian Parliament

19 December 2013

I wrote a report with David Kilgour in June 2006 which concluded that prisoners of conscience in China, practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong, were being killed for their organs which were being sold at high prices to transplant patients. We produced a second version in of our report in January 2007 and a third version in book form under the title Bloody Harvest in November 2009. Our report prompted the founding of a non-governmental organization Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting or DAFOH. I and Dr. Torsten Trey, the founder of DAFOH, co-edited a book of essays on organ transplant abuse in China published in August 2012 under the name State Organs.

A. Evidence
While it would take far too long to go through all the evidence which led me, David Kilgour and other researchers to the conclusion that Falun Gong are being killed for their organs, I will mention a few bits.

Reaction to a comment from Dr. Jeremy Chapman – by David Matas

Reaction to a comment from Dr. Jeremy Chapman

07 December 2013

Dr. Jeremy Chapman, former president of The Transplantation Society, has been quoted as having made this comment about the killing of Falun Gong for their organs: “I heard your accusations that it was happening. I have seen no evidence of using any executed prisoners other than through judicial process in China. There are stories of criminal murders, which have occurred in China, individual cases. David Matas’ report does not provide evidence. You are seeing smoke and saying this fire is burning FLG victims, and you are not showing us that data. I can’t substantiate it. We are very clear that China should not use organs from executed prisoners.”

The source of the quotation is Christine Hond, Australian Epoch Times. See
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/382146-transplant-doctors-concerned-about-china-organ-trade/

My reaction is this:

It is true that The Transplantation Society has been clear that China should not use organs from prisoners and that is to their credit. Sourcing of organs from prisoners, any prisoners, is ethically wrong, according to medical ethics.

Sourcing from prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong, is more than just a violation of medical ethics; it is a crime against humanity. Whether the crime has been committed is not or should not be a matter of indifference to the profession.

One consequence from establishing the existence of the crime would be avoidance of collaboration with criminal transplant professionals. As well, the international transplant profession, if it is established the crime has been committed, would be, I suspect, the first to want to call for prosecution of the perpetrators.

Prevention and Cure – by David Matas

Combating organ transplant Abuse in China: New Developments

(Remarks prepared for a forum in Taipei, Taiwan, 28 February 2013)
David Matas

I. Introduction
The bulk of organs for transplants in China come from prisoners of conscience, predominantly practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong. That was the conclusion of research in reports published in June 2006, January 2007, and in the book Bloody Harvest, November 2009 all of which I co-authored with David Kilgour and in the book State Organs August 2012 I co-edited with Torsten Trey.

One reason, amongst many, that David Kilgour and I came to the conclusion we did is that the precautions which should be in place to prevent the abuse were not in place. After the first version of our report, we launched on a global advocacy campaign to attempt to end the abuse we had identified. The book State Organs is a reflection and continuation of that campaign by joining together professionals from around the world, each making their own contribution to the ongoing effort.

Since the release of the first version of our report, more than six and a half years have passed. In the intervening period, much has changed, and not always for the better. This paper focuses on the changes both in China and abroad, the changes in China for better and worse and the changes abroad to attempt to prevent the abuse and to remedy the wrongs inflicted.

The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs: Individual Cases – by David Matas

Revised remarks

William Pitt Union, University of Pittsburgh

28 March 2013

The conclusion that practitioners of the spiritually based set of exercises Falun Gong have been killed in large numbers for their organs relies on the confluence of a number of evidentiary trails. This evidence does not necessarily identify individual victims. Sometimes I am asked to do just that, to name names.

This request may be made out of scepticism. When I say that tens of thousands of practitioners of Falun Gong have been killed for their organs, sometimes I get the retort, name one.

Alternatively, the request to identify individual cases is made because activism around an individual case may be easier than advocacy around a general phenomenon. It is harder for the Government of China to skate round an inquiry when it is pointed, when we tell them of the name of the victim, the date of the victimization and the place where it occurred.

State Organs – Introduction

jpeg-1The purpose of medicine is to provide care for those who suffer. The Hippocratic Oath commits medical doctors to not do harm. Giving a lethal drug to anyone or advising such an action violates that oath. Yet, in China, we can see that this ethical principle is violated by the taking of organs from prisoners, including prisoners of conscience. These prisoners of conscience are mostly practitioners of Falun Gong, but also include Uighurs, Tibetans and others.

While organ transplant abuse exists in many countries, China presents a unique situation, a country where state institutions are heavily implicated in the abuse. How do we stop the killing in China of innocents for their organs?

There appear to be three basic answers to that question. One is to end the persecution against a particular group such as Falun Gong, which was banned in China in 1999 because the then leader of the Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, feared that its popularity would threaten the ideological supremacy of the Party. The second is to end the network of slave labour camps in China, euphemistically called “re-education through labour camps”, where detained Falun Gong are mostly housed and which have become vast forced organ donor banks. The third is to end the killing of prisoners for their organs in general. End the killing of all prisoners for their organs, and then the killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs would inevitably cease.