Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group

with the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration in 2017, the Custodian Group is focused on updating its definitions and and engaged with world leaders

The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian group (DICG) is currently concentrating on two main focus areas:

  • Education to medical practitioners working in the field of transplantation to understand the principles of organ trafficking and commercialism;
  • Education to Governments and Departments of Health to understand the need for their intervention to prevent these unethical practices.

In this regard the workshop that was held in April 2016 in Madrid, highlighted some of the ongoing problems professionals are still seeing: living donor exploitation by commercialism, poor consent-taking practices and inadequate medical and follow-up care. This remains a pressing problem in many parts of the world and is often flagged by clinicians who look after patients who travel for a transplant. These patients would go to countries where the illegal organ trade is possible, mainly because they have poor regulation, lack of oversight and inadequate vigilance, surveillance and guidelines. Because organ trade is mostly presented as a criminal offense in need of a punitive response, countries that are unable to provide the necessary response are usually a target for organ traffic networks. Because of this issue, organ trafficking often goes hand-in-hand with patients traveling: the donor, the recipient or both patients might travel to supply an organ or receive a transplant in another country.

The DICG is currently planning the 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Declaration of Istanbul (DOI) with a meeting for the working groups in June 2017. During the next two years, the DOI will be updated in terms of definitions and structure in order to accommodate some of the new issues we are facing.

DICG is currently actively engaging with the World Health Organization, governmental leaders, religious leaders as well as lawyers and chief justices to combat organ trafficking with appropriate legal and professional responses. There is currently constant engagement with ministers of health, specifically Mexico, India, Egypt and Turkey.