Rapid advances in genetics and medicine present both opportunities and threats to the advancement of human rights and public health in this era of globalization. While such advances contribute significantly to progress against disease, they may also pose profound global public policy concerns in that the ethical and policy considerations that follow from scientific advances lag far behind. In this context, the aim of this book is to present the current global efforts to develop common principles relating to biomedicine.
Section I sets forth the pivotal role that the principle of human dignity plays in this domain, and identifies a number of other principles that can be drawn from the recent international policy documents on bioethics. Section II provides detailed commentaries on recent international instruments relating to biomedicine adopted by UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Section III elaborates upon specific biomedical human rights issues that are the subject of contemporary international standard-setting efforts, including biomedical research, population biobanks, genetic testing, and advance directives.
Essays in each of these sections examine the extent to which promoting and protecting human rights has created a common framework for contemporary international lawmaking in the field of biomedicine and the strengths and limitations of international law as a tool for advancing biomedical human rights.