In Star Trek: Voyager Season 2 Episode 24, "Tuvix", there was an accident that following an away mission to collect some orchid samples. Only one molecular pattern rematerialized, and formed a healthy organism combining everything regarding Tuvok and Neelix, including organs, enzymes, and memories. According to The Doctor, Tuvix also possessed: "...Tuvok's sense of intellectual superiority, and Neelix's annoying ebullience." Despite repairs having just been made to the transporter, no fault could be found in the logs at the time of the accident. The Doctor told Tuvix that it might be many years before he could find a way to separate them – in the meantime, Tuvix was invited to become a member of the crew, and given the rank of Lieutenant.

A month later The doctor figured out a way to reverse the accident.

Tuvix announced that he didn't want to die, feeling that he had just as much right to exist as any other being. He explained to Janeway that while he did care about Tuvok and Neelix (regarding them as his 'parents'), this also gave him the will to live of two men, and he didn't want to die. He pleaded with Kes, among others, to speak to the captain on his behalf.

Captain Janeway pretty much forced him to undergo the procedure to separate the two and essentially killed Tuvix. However, The Doctor refused to perform the procedure; as a physician, he had sworn an oath to do no harm, and he refused to take Tuvix's life, especially against his will. Janeway herself, therefore, performed the process.

Isn't this a violation of Federation Laws? or at the very least a violation of human rights (or alien life rights if you prefer)? its simple people based off what we KNOW of Federation Values and laws and Todays EARTH Laws is this a Violation of Any of the federations values or Earths laws as of today? Could Janeways be held accountable by a court for these actions?

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    I highly doubt the Federation has laws regarding such a specific situation (beings fused by transporter). As for human/alien rights, well, that's really a question for an ethicist (off-topic). Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 1:17
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    This ethical question was pretty much the point of the episode. Like, the entire point.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 1:30
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    But yes, she made an abominable moral choice and the episode should be forgotten as much as Threshold. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 1:59
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    It's obviously not a Human Rights violation, as none of the involved individuals were Human. It may, however, be a Sapient Rights violation. That said, Janeway seems to love murder, so I don't think she was too bothered.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 21:10
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    "If only you could hear yourselves...'Human rights.' Why the very name is racist. The Federation is no more than a 'homo sapiens' only club."
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 16:01

4 Answers 4


There's an episode in TNG (The Measure of a Man, 2x09) where it's debated if Data is a sentient lifeform with basic human (humanoid?) rights; or a machine that can be disassembled to see how "it" was created. They actually go on to have a hearing about it, with advocates arguing both points.

Compared to that, it would seem that Tuvix's treatment is not up to the same standards that were held up in TNG, seven years earlier. There's no hearing, there's no advocate for Tuvix, etc. It's just the captain using the authority of their station unilaterally.

That, already, seems a violation of Tuvix's rights, unless we assume the Federation doesn't hold itself to such a high standard anymore. Or that those standards don't apply in the Delta Quadrant, but I didn't see them invoke even that argument in the episode.

Had they actually given Tuvix a chance to defend themselves, I think the only conclusion would have been to find that he actually was a sentient humanoid, and should be awarded rights just like all the other members of the crew. He held a rank on the ship, had relationships with other crew members, was obviously aware of himself, etc. How he was created has nothing to do with it, as it didn't matter with Data either.

(In the case of Data, even the opposing party is forced to admit that Data is self-aware and intelligent. The judge then finds that Data should be given the freedom of choice regarding the dangerous operation in question.)

Of course, combining Tuvok and Neelix on purpose would have been a violation of their rights. But the decision to separate them is a different question, and two wrongs don't make a right.

So yes, as far as I can tell, Janeway committed a premeditated murder of a sentient creature, with all the senior officers being accomplices. (Perhaps, even including the Doctor, as he didn't do anything to actively stop Janeway, either.)

Out of universe, it's of course obvious from the start that the reset button has to be pressed. However, I would have expected the episode to end with a peaceful solution, i.e. Tuvix agreeing to the separation, with possibly an assurance from the Doctor that he wouldn't "die", but would continue his existence as part of Tuvok and Neelix. (That's how it seems to usually go, in the end there is some magic technological solution that makes everything right again.)

  • "There's an episode in TNG where it's debated if Data is a sentient lifeform" Which episode? What was the conclusion they reached? How does that relate you your analysis of Tuvix's situation?
    – amflare
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 22:15
  • @amflare, added the link, and of course they found that Data is a sentient being and should not be forced to submit to a dangerous experiment without him having a say on it. I do find it relevant, since it gives a precedent from around the same time period that an individual is allowed at least a chance to defend his case. Tuvix didn't get even that chance.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 22:41
  • Excellent. It's a good answer, didn't need much more. Welcome to our site!
    – amflare
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 23:22

It's unclear if "deintegrating" Tuvix into Tuvok and Neelix is a violation of Tuvix's rights (indeed, if he has any) under the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets or the Charter of the United Federation of Planets, as neither document was completely enumerated in any of the Star Trek TV series or films.

Yes, Tuvix is a sentient being. If you consider Tuvix to be a new life form, then he's also not (yet) a member of the Federation and presumably doesn't share all of the rights of Federation citizens under the Constitution or Charter. Although I'd be surprised if there isn't a provision that extends basic rights to sentient non-member aliens.

On the other hand, he's also the result of a transporter accident that changed Tuvok and Neelix, severely altering their physical and psychological states when they were fused together. In fact, you could argue that Tuvix is Tuvok and Neelix. Therefore it stands to reason that both Tuvok and Neelix certainly have the right to be healed of any afflictions of their body or mind and returned to their original healthy state. Tuvix's right to remain Tuvix is on shakier ground since his existence is denying the fundamental rights of two Federation citizens.

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    I challenge your assertion that Neelix had originally possessed a mind in a 'healthy state', but otherwise agree with your points.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 4:24
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    I'm not sure the Federation places higher value on the lives of members over non-members - it doesn't seem very federationy. But I agree with your point that it's not necessarily killing Tuvix, just separating him into the two. After all, all the knowledge and experiences he has that makes him a functioning adult can only be those of Tuvok and Neelix. In fact - I can't remember from the episode, but can they both remember their experience as Tuvix? This would make it even less "killing".
    – komodosp
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:13
  • @colmde No it doesn't. If the UFP Constitution is based on, for example, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights then Tuvix would still hold basic rights if he were a separate alien life form they had encountered rather than Tuvok + Neelix. I don't recall if Tuvok or Neelix remembered Tuvix, but Tuvix certainly possessed all of Tuvok and Neelix's memories.
    – RobertF
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 14:25
  • If the argument is that Tuvix is both Neelix and Tuvok, then his wishes to remain merged would have had to have been respected as the wishes of Tuvok and Neelix. The procedure was not medically necessary for survival, so Tuvok, Neelix, and Tuvix all had the right to refuse it. If we consider Tuvix not to be Tuvok or Neelix, but someone new, then it is murder of a sentient life form, who is also a Starfleet officer (I believe Janeway does give Tuvix the rank of Lieutenant).
    – ench
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 15:25
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    @ench The problem is the individual personalities of Tuvok and Neelix cannot speak in their own defense through Tuvix. Sure, Tuvix may plead for his life, but he's not pleading for Tuvok & Neelix's life. Tuvix may be Tuvok & Neelix, but their minds were damaged during the transformation. I'll presume Tuvok & Neelix would not have voluntarily wanted their personalities and bodies to be combined together and supplanted in a sort of Borg collective of two.
    – RobertF
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 18:59

This question is explicitly asking if it was a human rights violation and there really isn't a true precedent in the show for us to take from. She didn't commit a human rights violation but, Tuvix might have. If I was a lawyer for the case against Tuvix and for separation I think my argument would go as follows.

Tuvix was a transporter accident combined from lysosomal enzymes on the planet in it's native orchids. None of the parties explicitly or implicitly agreed to the DNA merge. We know this because, weeks later the glitch in the transporter can be undone. The other evidence that we have that supports not a single party was involved in this decision is Vulcan ideology is incompatible with Talaxian ideology. I think we could call witnesses that would attest to this. So we have established it's against the wishes of Tuvok and Neelix.

I would argue as well that Tuvix doesn't have same rights as a normal sane federation citizen. Tuvix is under the influence of two different consciousnesses because of a physical glitch in a computer system. The consciousnesses of Tuvix are also blocking the true wishes of the other separate parties as previously mentioned. You could even argue that Tuvix is a sort of "conjoined twin" but, conjoined at the molecular level by something in a plant. We could say that the glitch coupled with the plant has in a sense murdered Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvix is not Tuvok or Neelix and should be treated as a third individual who from no fault of his own has access to everything Tuvok and Neelix had. But, if this glitch didn't happen Tuvix would not live.

There was a case a while back that vaguely fits this scenario. Tuvok and Neelix are destined to die but, only if Tuvix lives as a new entity.

Multiple times Tuvix abuses the rights of Tuvok and Neelix by using private knowledge of Tuvok and Neelix. In the episode he pleads with someone who loves Neelix because she was the first to be malleable for Tuvix's wishes. It's a negligent abuse of power and manipulation. The only reason Tuvix gets away with it is because Tuvok and Neelix aren't separate and are in an essence dead. Finally, the longer he is alive and doesn't perform the procedure he is willingly murdering Tuvok and Neelix. He has the knowledge that he could save two lives yet he doesn't. By law this is not a violation in the many countries alone. The circumstances in this situation may lean more towards involuntary manslaughter because he is actively refusing to save them when asked while he is the only person who could save them very easily.

According to the real world law I would say Janeway did the right thing. The doctor acted the most ethically and did the right thing.


I would argue that Tuvok and Neelix were in a constant state of mental and physical illness. They were always there, suffering, and Janeway had a duty to save them. I believe the doctor failed his patients. One could argue that Tuvix's "sentience" was a hallucination each patient was experiencing during their time afflicted. It can't be a Human Rights Violation if neither patient is a human.

  • OP already made that joke.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 21:50
  • Tuvix's sentience cannot be considered a "hallucination" any more than Tuvok's or Neelix's. Or yours. Or mine. You really have to be able to define it first if you're going to start differentiating. Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 21:26

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