The Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking in Human Organs
The Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 9 July 2014. The adoption of the Convention represents a historical milestone in the fight against organ trafficking. It is the first legal document that provides an internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking in human organs, identifying the activities that ratifying States must criminalize in their national laws.
Like other criminal law instruments, the Convention also includes provisions to deter these practices and to protect victims. This instrument complements the existing international legal framework against trafficking in human beings (including for the purpose of the removal of organs), which does not reach some transplant related crimes and many of the actors, such as surgeons, whose involvement lies at the heart of the criminal activity.
Fourteen countries have already signed the Convention: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This signifies their intention to ratify it, which will bind them legally to incorporate its provisions into their domestic law. The Convention, which was conceived to have a global scope, is open for signature and ratification not only by Council of Europe member or observer countries but by any State in the world, and several have already indicated that they are considering acceding to the Convention, as have additional COE member States.
More information about the Convention can be found in the media and journal articles below.