IBA plans to present UN with draft genetics treaty

A TREATY to prevent the misuse of genetic information is to be presented to United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan this month in New York when he opens the International Bar Association's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Annan and Al Gore, the US vice-president, are the keynote speakers at the three-day celebrations being held at the UN's headquarters.

The draft treaty, drawn up by the IBA's medicine and law committee and approved at the association's Berlin conference last October, is designed to provide individuals with legal protection against the abuse of genetic information gleaned from screening tests.

“Over the course of the past 50 years the IBA has become the voice and the conscience of the legal profession,” said the IBA president Desmond Fernando, who will use the celebrations to press for the treaty's international adoption.

The IBA is expecting more that 1,000 lawyers to attend the event, from 11 to 13 June. It will run alongside meetings of the IBA's ruling council, its human rights institute and its three sections covering business law, general practice and energy and natural resources.

And, in what is an extremely busy year for the international body, a further 3,000 delegates are expected in New Delhi for the joint biennial conference of the Business Law and General Practice sections from 2 to 7 November.

The conference will host more than 100 meetings.