The international community - as individual nations and through multilateral bodies, such as the UN and UNESCO - has been active in developing biotechnology policy. Below are several of the more prominent international policy efforts addressing biotechnology and the human condition. For review of the international justice implications of emerging and biotechnologies see the topic briefing "Justice Issues".
a) United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning (2005)
The 2005 declaration urged all member states to pass national legislation prohibiting all forms of human cloning. It emphasized the inherent dangers to human dignity and rights that could result from genetic engineering and the necessity of preventing life science activities exploitive of women.
The United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning (2005) can be found here.
The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005)
The 2005 UNESCO declaration urged nations to adopt appropriate social, legal, and environmental measures related to life sciences, medicine, and other technologies as they relate to humans. The provisions of the declaration seek to maximize the benefits these sciences and technologies provide to humans through dignity and rights, including autonomy, individual responsibility, privacy, integrity, consent, equality, and justice, among others.
The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005) can be found here.
- Click here to read the report on the BioCentre symposium which addressed the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics & Human Rights.
International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003)
UNESCO articulated its opposition to genetic discrimination in a 2003 declaration in which the organization discussed the increasing uses of human genetic and proteomic data for a variety of scientific, medical, and legal applications, and stressed the necessity for ethical principles to guide these endeavours.
The International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003) can be accessed here.
Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997)
This document, adopted by UNESCO in 1997, addresses the relationship between the human genome and human dignity‹specifically the human family's right to respect and consent, and the right to be free from genetic discrimination. Guiding principles for genomic research, scientific activities, and international cooperation were also covered.
The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997) can be found here.
c) Council of Europe
Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (1997)
In 1997, the Council of Europe passed a binding treaty that strictly prohibits any form of genetic discrimination and only allows predictive genetic tests for health uses or for scientific research linked to health uses. 21 countries have ratified the treaty, and 13 more have signed it. The United Kingdom is not among those nations.
The Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (1997) can be accessed here.
- Click here to read the report on the BioCentre symposium which addressed the comparisons between the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics & Human Rights.
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