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

(Español)