An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Max Ocean follows:
U.S. scientists working together with oil company Maxus Energy took around 3,500 blood samples from the indigenous Amazonian tribe known as the Huaorani, Ecuador charged on Monday.
The Huaorani are known for a unique genetic makeup that makes them immune to certain diseases.
René Ramírez, the head of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, told Ecuador state TV on Monday that samples were taken from around 600 Huaorani, and that multiple pints of blood were taken from many members of the tribe. Ramírez said that it is not yet known whether the samples have resulted in any commercial gains, but that samples were sold for scientific research.
If big oil companies could get their oil without spilling, or stealing, blood, they’d be lost.
I have to say, When I read this, I found the report to be weak in certain respects. No, I’m not suggesting that I would for a minute entertain the thought that the behavior Max reports on might not be despicable. But the report suggests that the natives were lied to when those taking their blood told them that it would be for medical tests. That hardly makes the case. If they told those they took blood from that the blood was for tests pertaining to their health and that they would hear back from the doctors or scientists about the results, then yes, the natives were lied to. I can’t imagine that the doctors taking the blood didn’t at least imply to the subjects that it was about them, in a positive way, and that they’d be gaining something from the experience. But the report doesn’t even suggest that. Why?
This statement is unclear: “The taking of the samples was illegal, as Ecuador’s constitution bans the use of scientific research including genetic material in violation of human rights.” I’m sure that the actual law is more precise. I’m sure that that law bans scientific research that involves the use of genetic material if that research is ‘accompanied by’ a violation of humans rights. Is there a violation of human rights, automatically, when scientific research involves the use of genetic material? Would that ban apply when those providing the genetic material give their informed consent?