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Dr. Claudia Surjadjaja, DDS, MSc, DrPH ALERTAsia Foundation, Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology Experts Meeting, Tropen Museum, 17 December 2010 Ethical.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Claudia Surjadjaja, DDS, MSc, DrPH ALERTAsia Foundation, Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology Experts Meeting, Tropen Museum, 17 December 2010 Ethical."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Claudia Surjadjaja, DDS, MSc, DrPH ALERTAsia Foundation, Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology Experts Meeting, Tropen Museum, 17 December 2010 Ethical Perspectives on Re-study of Human Remains Rights of the dead vs. scientific needs of the living

2  government funded institution  mission: molecular biology & biotech related basic research  est as research lab for pathology and bacteriology  1 st director Christiaan Eijkman  1965 closed, re-opened 1995

3  human genome diversity  genetic resource from many ethnic populations  basis for discovery of genes linked to diseases  Pan-Asian SNP Initiative of DNA barcode tracking  mapping biodiversity & disease  human DNA, pathogen DNA, ancient DNA

4  60 boxes of osteological specimens (skulls, fragments)  12 boxes of wet specimens (mostly foetus)  collected between 1800 to early 1900  entire archipelago, then Nederlands Oost–Indië (NOI)  until 1960 used for physical anthropology study  loaned to the medical institute for 3 decades  forgotten “Indonesian” Human Remains in Tropen Museum

5  6 years ago found and returned to the museum  documented and categorized  2007 discussions with experts, a report produced  unclaimed, less scientific value, space problem (Category C)  museum, through KITLV, contacted Eijkman Institute  discussion in May 2007, especially focused on remains of “Japanese” soldiers found in Biak, Papua “Indonesian” Human Remains in Tropen Museum

6 Three categories: 1. “Japanese” soldiers found in Biak, Papua 2. Remains from community cemetery in Surabaya 3. Other remains from all over the archipelago Medico-legal and ethical issues: - “Permission” to re-study the remains: who owns the remains? - Repatriation: is this morally just? what are the bases? - Indonesia: play what role? who plays a role? What consideration to Indonesian ethics?

7 Study aim: investigate dynamic cultural ethics in treating HR Specific objectives: 1. Document prevailing attitudes and debates, especially in Indonesian context 2. Analyze current global ethics on scientific study and repatriation of human remains 3. Assess the extent to which policy exists (mostly on legality and ethics) 4. Assess the likelihood for developing an Indonesian CoE

8 beliefs/ religious perspectives scientific/ medical perspectives human value/ moral perspectives Specific Objectives Research questions

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10 1. Beliefs/religious perspectives  Islam: where one dies is where one should be buried, human body is sacred even after death. “Breaking the bone of a dead person is similar (in sin) to breaking the bone of a living person” (Sunan Abu Dawud, SunanIbnMajah, and Musnad Ahmad).  Hindu and Buddhist: cremation is more than disposing of the body, it symbolizes a sense of detachment, the soul is set free from bondage  Christian: burial versus cremation, resurrection of bodies at the end times

11  value of HR in scientific study not archeological research  benefitting the living by studying past health  diseases evolve as do all organisms  what we can do TODAY to have better health & improve our lives  disagreement: information from HR provides insights that can only be obtained from HR  rationalist science-based view  Tiffany Jenkins (2003): “…the return of HR to indigenous communities is not just an assault on scientific research, but a faltering belief in human progress itself” 2. Science/Medical Perspectives

12 I certainly wouldn’t dig up my own mother. Well, I would if her graveyard was going to be destroyed. For scientific curiosity? Certainly wouldn’t do that. Oh, the body needed to be exhumed for use as evidence? OK, I would. What? It’s not only about excavation but about storage and display? Absolutely wouldn’t, even if the bones would be returned to the ground after use. Well, … unless they served some useful education purpose, e.g. better scientific analysis, new cure for cancer, etc, I would.  the dead is a means to the living  your end is my beginning?  human remains are not neutral objects  sanctity of human body, what constitutes respectful treatment (philosophical, cultural, ðical framework) 3. Human Values/Moral Perspectives

13  Uti possidetis juris principle: as you possessed, you shall possess henceforth  newly formed sovereign states should have the same borders that they had before their independence  HR issue is thus a matter of foreign policy  Source communities?  Law on Regional Autonomy: foreign policy is the domain of Central Government  involving various technical ministries, DG of Consular Affairs at the Foreign Ministry as coordinator (Law on Foreign Relations) Cultural and Legal Framework

14  who “owns” these HR? HR is cultural property?  human DNA on “Japanese” soldiers remains  pathogen DNA of a community remains  untracked, including Papuan remains  the dead right, infringe of privacy  “ownership”  politicization  Dutch (Western) perspective vs Indonesian perspective

15  Non-maleficence  Beneficence  Respect diversity  Respect the value of science  Solidarity Common ground  a shared humanity

16 How remains relate to existing research framework:  resource assessment (current state of knowledge)  research agenda (potential area)  research strategy (identify priorities & methods)


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