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A Human Rights Approach to the Benefits of Scientific Progress Audrey R. Chapman, Ph.D. University of Connecticut School of Medicine July 26, 2010 AAAS.

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Presentation on theme: "A Human Rights Approach to the Benefits of Scientific Progress Audrey R. Chapman, Ph.D. University of Connecticut School of Medicine July 26, 2010 AAAS."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Human Rights Approach to the Benefits of Scientific Progress Audrey R. Chapman, Ph.D. University of Connecticut School of Medicine July 26, 2010 AAAS Human Rights Coalition Meeting

2 The Right to the Benefits of Science Article 27 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) – Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Article 15 (1) b - International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1966) – The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.

3 Distinctive Characteristics of a Human Rights Approach Consistency with human rights principles both in the process of scientific research and in evaluating applications Meet human dignity standard – All human rights said to derive from inherent dignity of the human person – Not violate or harm any person – Recognize importance autonomy and self-determination – Foster conditions human flourishing Uni versal – Applicable in principle to every person in all societies – Benefits broadly diffusion within and across countries Focus on the disadvantaged and vulnerable – Assessment of implementation – Monitor – disaggregated data and analysis – Compensatory measures - affirmative action

4 Human Rights Principles cont Equality all persons Legal principle of equal standing and treatment Equality of women and men Equal opportunity in both process of scientific discovery and access to benefits Importance compensatory measures – Nondiscrimination – rights must be exercised without any kind of distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status

5 Human Rights Principles cont Facilitating participation – Right of everyone to be consulted and participate in significant decision-making processes that affect them – Empowerment Transparency in decision-making Accountability – Accessible and effective accountability mechanisms must be in place – Ability of victims to seek redress – Legal and administrative mechanisms permit recourse when rights are violated

6 Legal Standard Can be legally binding for states ratified or acceded to relevant human rights instruments – Universal Declaration of Human Rights as declaration of General Assembly not legally binding b ut considered to be international common law – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights state parties ratified (all western industrialized democratic countries except U.S.)

7 Steps to Be Taken Art. 15 of ICESCR (2) The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture. (3) The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.

8 Steps to be Taken (contd) Article 15 (4) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encourage and development of international contacts and cooperation in the scientific and cultural fields.

9 Progressive Realization Recognition that not possible to achieve full implementation of rights immediately, particularly in case of less developed countries Art. 2(1) of ICESCR – Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.

10 Progressive Realization cont UN Cmt on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Means states parties have specific and continuing obligation move as expeditiously & effectively as possible towards full realization Need for interpretation – To take steps – which steps (no interpretation in UN system of 15 (1) c)) – Devote maximum of available resources – how calculate – Through international assistance and cooperation – what it entails Progressive – also requires measurement over time Immediate implementation – progressive realization not apply – Nondiscrimination – Equality – Core obligations – satisfy at very least minimum essential levels fo each right – Nonderogable, particularly of core obligations

11 Right to Benefits Scientific Progress and IP Both Universal Declaration and ICESCR link right to share in benefits of scientific advancement or progress with participation in cultural life (Art 15 (1) b) and another right. Art 15 (1) c – the right of everyone to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

12 CESCR 2001 Statement HR & IP Art 15 (1) c should not equated with commercial IP rights property systems – In HR human person central subject and primary beneficiary – Goal HR human flourishing – HR timeless expression and cannot be revoked or reassigned – Not necessary coincide with IP rights national leg or international agreements Qualified right – 15 (1) c must be balanced with rights to enjoy benefits of scientific progress and to participate in cultural life – Importance balance protection public and private interests in knowledge Countries at different levels development have different needs – may need to focus on access rather than protection of technology


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