UN Colonial Mortal Dictata
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- "The Mortal Dictata Act defends many things, but mostly it enshrines the individuality and validity of each human life. I hesitate to call it a human rights charter, because that term has been utterly devalued and its intent completely distorted over the centuries. The Mortal Dictata are a suite of laws that remind us of the basic moral duty that we owe our own species. They bar us from creating humans for the purposes of harvesting tissue, even if that human has an otherwise independent life; they bar us from enslaving others; and they bar us from cloning entire humans. The Mortal Dictata recognize a central principle that no human should be brought into existence or coopted primarily as a convenience for others. Each life is equal and valid."
- — Dr. Graham J. Alban in his suicide note, concerning the violations of the Dictata committed as part of the SPARTAN-II program.
The UN Colonial Mortal Dictata, also known as the Mortal Dictata Act, is a human piece of legislation enacted by the United Nations and presumably a part of the Unified Interstellar Law. It is based on the UN Genetic Rights Act which was extended to the colonies in 2165 to regulate the activities of offworld genetics technology corporations which at the time conducted suspicious research outside Earth's legal jurisdiction. Essentially a basic human rights charter adjusted and expanded to cover biotechnological and medical advancements, the Dictata emphasize human individuality and basic rights in relation to genetic engineering; most notably, they forbid the cloning of human beings, or the exploitation of humans for the sakes of experimentation.
As she openly acknowledged in her journal, Dr. Catherine Halsey violated the code on a number of occasions throughout her career, most notably during her involvement with the SPARTAN-II program—which broke several of the primary clauses of the Dictata—as well as when flash cloning herself in order to create Cortana.
The Mortal Dictata Act
Section 1A/3 - Introduction and Overview
- 1A/3a: A human being shall be defined as a person recognized and accepted by a reasonable layperson as being human on the basis of form, behavior, or external appearance, and no authority shall be permitted to use any element of a genetic profile to exclude a person from that definition.
- 1A/3b: A human being shall not be restricted, selected, or subjected to discrimination on the basis of their genome or genetic profile, whether altered or unaltered.
- 1A/3c: A human being shall not be brought into existence with the intent of providing biological material or research data for the use, treatment, or benefit of another.
- 1A/3d: A human being shall not be subject to any commercial claim, patent, or restriction on the basis of any part of the genome or genetic profile, whether altered or unaltered.
- 1A/3e: A human being, regardless of any engineering of their genome or introduction of non-human or artificial DNA, shall not cease to be classed as human under any circumstances.
- 1A/3f: No human being shall be subjected to genetic alteration except with their express and informed consent, or, in the case of a person under the age of 18, with the consent of their legal guardian for the sole purpose of correcting a health defect in that child.
- 1A/3g: A human being or part of thereof may not be owned by any individual or organization.
- 1A/3h: A human being shall not be cloned.