IV World Conference on Bioethics

 

(Gijón, España, 2005)

OBSERVING

 

  • That human dignity is an attribute unique to all human beings and its recognition is a fundamental right and the foundation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of each and every individual and of humanity as a whole which must be respected and protected
  • That violence of any kind -be it physical, psychological, emotional, moral, technical, environmental, social, economic or any other, is unacceptable behaviour which is anti-social and contrary to human dignity.
  • That war, terrorism, violence and the abuse of power, and the misuse of science and technology are detrimental to Humankind and that such acts are increasing in number and intensity and are often carried out without any punishment.
  • That the use of biological and chemical weapons is particularly cruel and affects indiscriminately civil populations and is forbidden in many international and regional documents such as:
    • The Geneva Protocol dated 17th June 1925
    • The Convention on the banning on development, production and storage of bacteriological (biological) weapons and toxins and about their destruction, which was opened for signature in 1972 and which entered into force in 1975, Annex to the resolution of the General Assembly of United Nations No. 2826 (XXVI).
    • The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights of 11 November 1997
    • The Declaration "Universal Commitment to the Dignity of the Human Being" II World Conference on Bioethics, Gijón, Spain, 2002
    • The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, 2005

RECALLING the appeal of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity

AFFIRMING that individual and collective human dignity isdenied

  • If we remain indifferent to aggression by the strongest against the weakest countries.
  • If we continue to resort to the use of force, including terror, to resolve our differences, instead of building bridges of tolerance, understanding and constructive communication.

CONVINCED that

  • Every person has a moral obligation to promote Human Dignity and assume the defence of the dignity of the person and also the obligation to guard against and denounce any infringements of it.
  • That Bioethics recognizes a specific obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and to promote the banning of the use of biological knowledge, techniques and means to destroy and annihilate human beings and their natural surroundings.

WE EXPRESS our firm commitment with regard to

  • Progressing with determination towards a new world order that is based on justice, universal participation, mutual responsibility, co-operation, equity and solidarity so as to put an end to armed conflicts, wars and terrorism.
  • Adopting and encouraging individual, social and political measures and attitudes in order to defeat intolerance and violence in all their forms and to impose the effective respect of human dignity
  • Advocating destruction of all existing biological weapon, and rejecting military strategies which summon biomedical professionals to cooperate in the procurement, use and encouragement of biological arsenals, as well as to publicly condemn non-compliance with international agreements.
  • Requesting participation of Bioethics advocates in the commissions that have a say in the drafting and control over such agreements.
  • Condemning participation of experts, technicians and scientists in the development of biological weapons.
  • Condemning participation of public health institutions in schemes that aim to develop programmes that may lead to the procurement of biological weapons which, under the excuse of their being defensive strategies, might be applied in reprisal against others.
  • Constructing coherent theoretical grounds against the arguments that provide support to religious wars, torture, and pro-war ethics.
  • Demanding from all Governments that they promptly implement the measures and actions that are required to make the present Declaration effective.
  • Widely publicising this Commitment through all the media of communication and demanding that it be urgently put into practice.

Adopted by assent of the Plenary Assembly
of the IV World Conference on Bioethics
Gijón (SPAIN), 25th November 2005

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II World Confernce on Bioethics (Gijón, Spain, 2002)

Considering that this Declaration has been formulated with a view to establishing a universal ethical base to protect and guarantee the basic dignity, rights and freedoms of people living with HIV-AIDS, increasing public awareness of the problems of discrimination and rejection, and highlighting the need for international co-operation so that all of humanity can benefit from the contribution of science and the application of justice.

Conscious of the fact that improper use of science and law can threaten the dignity of the human being at times, justified by irrational fears, prejudices, assaults, abuse and violation of rights, and that apart from the political or merely human actions, AIDS is just another illness, and should therefore be accepted as such by all societies, regardless of gender, race, nationality, sex, religion, origin, ideology, sexual preference, behaviour or social condition.

WE ASSERT THAT:

  • Any action aimed at denying people living with HIV-AIDS employment, insurance, residence and social-health and legal aid is considered discriminatory and should be punished.
  • Sufferers or carriers of the virus cannot be excluded, limited, impeded or denied participation in school, collective, labour, military, social, or any other kind of activities due to their condition.
  • The carrying out of examinations for the detection of antibodies of the HIV virus will not be permitted without the knowledge of the person, and without their informed consent, always guaranteeing the necessary psychological, medical and social assistance in the decision-making process.
  • No health-related intervention on the person will be carried out without prior informed and free consent, principle of autonomy, with anonymity, respect for intimacy and strict compliance with confidentiality being established in the control and/or detection examinations.
  • No law of exception shall be applied to people living with HIV, not even when deprived of their liberty, reiterating that as far law and science are concerned, AIDS is just another illness.
  • The codes of ethics of the professionals are based on the principle of confidentiality of the same among themselves and with the people with HIV/AIDS. Non-compliance with this deontological obligation with respect to third parties, and in particular employers and governors will lead to prosecution.
  • Any reference made by second parties to the HIV carrier's or AIDS sufferer's condition without their consent, will be punished.
  • Information regarding HIV will be dealt with in the media in an objective manner, with clear and precise language, thus contributing to the construction of a more just society with greater solidarity, avoiding the usual tendencies of bias, the sensationalist and morbid manner in which it has unfortunately been broadcast to the population during the years of the evolution of the pandemic.
  • Freedom of movement, residence and acquiring of documents due to diverse situations will not be affected by the persons condition as carrier of HIV/AIDS.
  • The main aim of government policy and plans for economic development in rich countries should be to make the necessary resources and means available to the poorer countries so that they do not lose any more years of development of health, welfare and right to life.
  • We demand the rejection of the character of guilt with which infection has been treated, and continues to be treated, by some civil, religious and governmental societies, discriminating the person living with HIV-AIDS and his/her environment, halting and/or bearing witness to the setting up of prevention, damage reduction and health education programmes as the only mechanisms available to date for stopping this pandemic.
  • Scientific research, technology and the development of the pharmaceutical industry should be set to work for humanity.
  • A dignified life implies a dignified death, and advance will is a right of capable people with HIV/AIDS, being able to leave provisions for a final ending, if they find themselves in a situation of terminal illness.
  • It is necessary to promote transverse education both formal and non formal that allows the rapprochement and development of knowledge, skills and attitudes from the solidarity and tolerance towards HIV/AIDS.
  • The lack of awareness of pressure groups and others who do not hesitate to sacrifice their aim to economic opportunism and/or social status instead of changing the alarming situation of HIV in the world, should be criticised.
  • The implementation of specific establishments with the subsequent creation of ghettos should be prosecuted.
  • The concept of self-care and co-responsibility should be defended as opposed to charity.
  • The interest and welfare of the human being must prevail as opposed to the exclusive interest of society or science, as is established in the Asturias Bio-ethics Convention.
  • Basically, universal behaviour should be aimed at normalisation, equality of opportunities, rights and freedoms, with a view to guaranteeing the dignity of the human being.

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II World Conference on Bioethics (Gijón, Spain, 2002)

We, the participants in the Second World Conference on Bioethics:

Shocked at the immense number of people dying of starvation and malnutrition each year, which constitutes an ongoing global emergency of enormous scale;

Alarmed at the threat to global prosperity, security and stability posed by the deep fault line that divides human society between the rich and the poor and the ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds;

Disappointed by the current rate of reduction in the number of undernourished people in the world of only six million per year, which means that the World Food Summit target, as reaffirmed by the Millennium Declaration, of reducing the number of the undernourished by half by 2015 will not be attained;

Concerned at the ever decreasing emphasis placed on food, agriculture and rural development by Official Development Assistance and International Financial Institution budgets and programs;

Desirous of a humane, democratic equitable and caring global society that respects the human dignity of every person ;

Recalling the important recent agreements reached under the auspices of the United Nations, including the negotiation and adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and aware of the current efforts for the development of guidelines for the realisation of the Right to Food and an international Code of Conduct on Biotechnology; and,

Recognising the importance of ethics in all aspects of sustainable development and in particular issues affecting food and agriculture;

CALL UPON governments and civil society to:

Justice, Equity and the Right to Food for All

Maintain the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food that is indivisible from the right to life;

Effectively implement the fundamental human right of the right to food, both at the national level and internationally, through the development of a set of voluntary guidelines to support countries' efforts to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food under the auspices of FAO, and by taking due account of the right of everyone to adequate food in WTO negotiations on the Agreement on Agriculture;

Urgently develop strategies to mitigate the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS, which has already killed some 7 million agricultural workers since 1985 in the 25 worst hit African countries alone, that threatens to fatally undermine efforts at sustainable agricultural development and food security;

Ensure adequate access to clean water and effective sanitation as a critical component of nutritional security and a safe working environment to agricultural producers;

Ensure ethical food trade through the provision of fair wages to agricultural workers and more, generally, labour welfare, according to the ILO Conventions and the UN Charter of Rights for Children;

Recognise the risks to human dignity and other basic human rights concepts posed by failure to preserve the right of the recipients of international food aid to make an informed choice regarding that food;

Recognise that equality of rights for all, without distinction as to sex, race, origin, language, religion or economic status is fundamental in addressing the economic, social, political and humanitarian problems that undermine food security;

Implement Farmers' Rights, as provided for in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as a fundamental element in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers throughout the world, which are essential for the conservation and sustainable development of the agricultural biological diversity that is the basis of all food security;

Globalization and Sustainable Development

Take into account the interdependency of the world's regions in agricultural production and to reaffirm the integrity of the global common goods that are the basis of this production;

Recognise that monopolies on key global resources, through mechanisms such as intellectual property rights, do not automatically contribute to poverty reduction and may undermine the equality of access to resources and information that is critical to global food security;

Support and encourage the rapid ratification and effective implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to ensure continued conservation and sustainable use of the raw materials of agriculture while also ensuring free access to these materials for all;

Recognise the seriously adverse effects of the current world trading system on the poorest countries, which have limited market access for their agricultural produce, while being flooded with subsidised products from the world's richest countries;

Recognise that economic globalisation continues to pose a severe threat to cultural diversity, local knowledge systems and institutions and social organisation that are essential for the maintenance of globally significant biological diversity for food and livelihood security and ecosystem health.

Make all efforts to ensure that the world's poor and marginalised, and particularly those in developing countries, are assisted in meeting the challenges of the process of economic globalisation and that they are not excluded from, or prejudiced by, it;

Commit themselves to effective multilateral approaches to the world's problems and pursuant to this commitment ensure harmony in the development and implementation of international agreements in all sectors;

Food and Agricultural Biotechnologies

Recognise that new food and agricultural biotechnologies are powerful instruments with great potential in agricultural development but that may also pose new risks and that consequently must be subject to internationally accepted regulatory mechanisms;

Support and encourage the rapid ratification and effective implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as an important element of international regulatory approaches to biotechnology;

Oppose monopoly domination of new biotechnologies, that frequently leads to the development of inappropriate technologies that do not take into account the real situation and needs of the the world's poor, whom they may further marginalise;

Support and encourage the further development of a comprehensive Code of Conduct on Biotechnology aimed at maximising the benefits and minimising the risks of new biotechnologies;

Implement farmer and consumers'right to choose to produce and consume organic agriculture products by protecting organic fields from GMO contamination;

Reaffirm the important role of Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention and the Office International des Epizooties to provide effective, science-based, internationally-accepted standards of food safety, plant and animal health;

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II World Conference on Bioethics (Gijón, Spain, 2002)

OBSERVING

That human dignity, as an attribute or value which is unique to human beings and from which other values and fundamental rights follow, is recognised or is alluded to in international documents such as:

the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UN, 10.12.1948)

the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (4.11.1950)

the Social Charter of Europe (18.10.1961)

the International Agreement on Civil and Political Rights (16.12.1966)

the International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (16.12.1966)

the American Convention on Human Rights (22.11.69)

the African Charter on Human and People Rights (26.09.81)

the Convention on Children's Rights (20.11.1989) the Arab Charter on Human Rights (15.09.94)

the Declarations, Treaties and Protocols of the UN with regard to Women (1967, 1974, 1977. 1993, 1999)

the Convention of Asturias on the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine (COUNCIL OF EUROPE, 4.4.1997)

the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (UNESCO, 11.11.1997)

the Declarations, Agreements or Protocols that followed the Summits of Rio (June 1992), Kyoto (December 1997), Montreal (January 2000) and Johannesburg (September 2002)

or any other such documents whose principles have been embodied in general in the Constitutions and legal and juridical order of democratic nations, as well as in

the International Convention on suppression of all kind of racial discrimination (13.7.67, adopted and promulgated in 26.4.68)

the Declaration of Barcelona: "Human Rights on Essential Food" (March 1992)

the Bioethics Declaration of Gijón (I World Conference on Bioethics, SIBI, 24.6.00)

the Bioethics Declaration of Caracas (I Iberoamerican Conference on Bioethics, 9.2.01)

- That full dignity is an attribute of humankind, and that its recognition is a fundamental right of each and every individual which must be respected and protected.

- That, in spite of this fact, in far too many places in the world, such norms or principles are still restricted or even deliberately violated because neither the dignity of the human being nor the rights that follow from it are recognised in their full scope.

- That millions of people are suffering from hunger, lack of clean and drinking water and proper housing facilities, from diseases (AIDS being the most dramatic example), from indigence due to poverty and scarcity of essential goods or services - all of them evils that could be easily and readily overcome, conditions that are turning individuals into completely dependent beings, or are leading them to extermination and death, while the affluent society - the smallest part of the world's population - are enjoying wealth and abundance and are even squandering global resources.

- The nature, biodiversity and environment are undergoing an increasingly alarming decline with the progressive reduction of green areas, the extermination of animal species, the accumulation of waste and garbage in continental and maritime areas, the degradation of soil and waters because of global pollution levels, regardless of the fact that these are the habitats, resources and spiritual resorts which are essential to the human beings.

- That intolerance and violence, be it physical, psychological, moral, technical or social, is irrational behaviour which is anti-cultural and contrary to the dignity of human beings.

- That abuse of power, wars and armed conflicts, terrorism, political or religious persecution, forced emigration, attacks on cultural diversity and most particularly on that of indigenous peoples, racism, xenophobia, social exclusion, exploitation and abuse of women and children, the abandonment of the elderly, the promotion of selfish economic interests and the abuse of scientific and technological superiority, make evident the many violent and daily acts that affect all layers and domains of humanity, acts that are increasing in number and intensity and often carried out with total impunity.

AFFIRMING

That individual and collective dignity is only a fiction

- If we fail to prevent that millions of disadvantaged people go on suffering from famine, chronic malnutrition and lack of clean and drinking water.

- If we consent to the suffering of millions because of poverty-related diseases and scarcity of food and drinking water, or because they live beneath the standards for healthy living, and have no access to essential health care services.

- If we fail to promote the notion that everyone is entitled to access to education, fairly remunerated work and correct information on issues of concern to them.

- If we fail to avoid discrimination against persons and peoples, abuse of women and children, abandonment of the elderly and the handicapped, and aggression towards cultural groups, their identities and their vital surroundings.

-- If we tolerate or in any way foster racism or xenophobia, sexual option discrimination, ideological, religious, political or cultural persecution or forced emigration, and discrimination against immigrants.

-- If we remain indifferent to aggressions from the strongest to the weakest countries.

- If we fail to arrest environmental degradation, the decline of nature and the arbitrary extinction of species (biodiversity).

- If we fail to humanise education, science and technology so that they serve the general interest of humanity, and most particularly the interest of the most disfavoured.

- If we continue to resort to weapons or terror to resolve our differences instead of building bridges of tolerance and constructive communication.

BELIEVING that

- Only with the promotion, respect for and the effective exercise of individual and collective human dignity everywhere on the planet can peaceful living, social justice, democracy, pluralism, equity, freedom, security, privacy, brotherhood, cultural diversity and the conservation of nature, be achieved and be finally established as natural rights we human beings are to enjoy and pass on to future generations.

- Every person has the ethic obligation to promote the Human Dignity and assume the defence of the person dignity but also the obligation to ensure and denounce the attend against it.

- There is an imperative need to have every country sign and ratify as soon as possible the Treaty on Phytogenetic Resources with regard to food and agriculture, as well as to promote the fair distribution of benefits.

WE EXPRESS

Our firm COMMITMENT with regard to

-- Promoting and implementing respect and protection behaviours of human dignity and biosphere, so that they manage to turn into an universal and everyday habit and an exercised asset for peaceful living, responsible exercise of freedom, liberty and autonomy, that is to be a legacy for future generations.

- Progressing with determination towards a new world order that is based on mutual participation, co-responsibility, co-operation, equity and solidarity, so as to put an end to human miseries such as social injustice, hunger and poverty, economic mishaps, unemployment, cultural, ideological or religious persecution, illiteracy, social exclusion, poor immigrants, women and children mistreatment and exploitation, armed conflicts, wars and terrorism.

- Undertake a reorientation on research, science and technologie investments, defending the right of every human being to essential food and health care through the promotion of whatever means will secure that right, and by facilitating equity in the access to the benefits from scientific and technological achievements in the area of education, nutrition and health care.

- Protecting the environment, nature and biodiversity, and focusing on the prompt restoration of the damage so far inflicted upon these assets.

- Undertaking, in short, the measures and implementing the pro-active attitudes - be they individual, collective, societal or political - that are required to put an end to violence in its different expressions and to establish effective respect for the dignity of human beings as an emerging new culture which is inalienable.

-- Urging Governments to readily implement - with no excuses whatsoever - the measures and actions that are required to make the present Commitment effective.

-- Spread widely this Commitment through all the possible diffusion ways, and specially, through the Committees and/or National Commissions of Bioethics, among all the Planet population, demanding to be taken into account and implemented.

II World Conference on Bioethics
Gijón (SPAIN), 4 th October 2002

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