Bioethics Declaration of Gijón


  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948,
  • the Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights of UNESCO on 11 November 1997,
  • the Asturias Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine of the Council of Europe of the 4 April 1997.

Aware of the enormous progress in biology and medicine, the imperative need to assure respect for human rights, the danger that abusing this progress could entail for human rights.

Affirming that it is for Bioethics to enlighten public opinion in regard to scientific and technological progress, the SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE makes the following observations and recommendations:

  • Bioscience and its technologies should serve the welfare of mankind, sustainable development of all countries, world peace, and the protection and conservation of nature.
  • This implies that developed countries should share the benefits of bioscience and its technologies with the inhabitants of less favoured areas of the planet, and serve the welfare of the human being.
  • It is an important task of Bioethics to harmonise the use of biomedical science and its technologies with human rights, in relation to the values and ethical principles proclaimed in the Declarations and Convention above mentioned, in so far as they constitute an important first step towards the protection of human beings.
  • The teaching of Bioethics should be incorporated into the educational system, and should be the object of understandable and accurate texts.
  • All members of society should receive adequate and accessible general information about scientific advances, biotechnology and its products.
  • Specialised and public debate to guide opinion, attitudes and proposals, should be encouraged. This debate will involve, interactively, experts from the various disciplines, citizens from different backgrounds, as well as mass-media professionals.
  • The exercise of personal autonomy should be guaranteed while at the same time fostering the principles of justice and solidarity. The identity and uniqueness of the human being should equally be respected.
  • Everyone has the right to the best medical care available. The patient and the doctor should decide together the scope of medical treatment of the former. The patient should be adequately informed before he/she expresses his/her free consent.
  • The human genome is the heritage of all humanity and is not patentable as such.
  • A fundamental purpose of assisted reproduction techniques is to medically treat the effects of human infertility, and to facilitate procreation if other treatments have proven unsuitable or inefficient.
  • Assisted reproduction techniques may also be used for diagnosing and treating hereditary diseases, as well as for authorized research.
  • The production of identical human individuals by cloning should be banned.
  • The use of stem cells for therapeutic purposes should be allowed provided that it does not involve the destruction of embryos.
  • Research on human beings should be carried out taking into account the freedom of science and respect for human dignity and must get the prior approval of independent ethical committees.
  • Experimental subjects must give their fully informed and free consent.
  • Genetically modified foodstuffs should first be tested for safety in regard to human health and nature in accordance with the best scientific knowledge of the moment. They may be produced and put on the market only after all the necessary requirements of information, precaution, safety and quality have been fufilled.
  • Bioetechnologies must observe the precautionary principle.
  • Trafficking in human organs should be banned. Further research on xenotransplantation should be done before clinical trials can be performed on human beings.
  • The ethical debate on end-of-life issues should be continued in order to analyse in depth the different ethical and cultural conceptions in this context and in order to assess the way to their harmonisation.
  • With the object of promoting a universal language for Bioethics, an effort should be made to harmonise and unify the concepts which at present have different terminologies. Respect for socio-cultural identities is essential in this domain.

In Gijón (Spain), June 24th 2000


Marcelo Palacios (Spain)
Physician. Founder of the International Society of Bioethics (SIBI) and President of the Scientific Committee
Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis (Greece)
President Founder of the Biopolitics International Organisation. Vice-president of the SIBI
Rev. Maurice Dooley (Ireland)
Representative of the Holy See
Jean Michaud (France)
Vice-president of the National Committee for Sciences of Life and Health. París
José Egozcue Cuixart (Spain)
Incumbent of the Cellular Biology Chair. Autonomous University Barcelona
Santiago Grisolía (Spain) Professor.
President of the Valencia Foundation for Advanced Studies and Research
Amos Shapira (Israel)
Incumbent of the Law and Biomedical Ethics Chair. University of Tel Aviv
Carlos Mª Romeo Casabona (Spain)
Incumbent. Director of the Law and Human Genome Chair. University of Deusto
Erwin Deutsch (Germany)
Incumbent. Director of the Medical and Pharmaceutical Institute of the University of Göttingen
Santiago Dexeus (Spain)
Prof. Director of the Dexeus Universitary Institute. Barcelona
Guido Gerin (Italy)
President of the International Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Trieste
Juan Ramón Lacadena (Spain)
Incumbent of the Genetics Chair. Biology Faculty. University of Madrid
Margarita Salas (Spain)
Professor of the Centre for Molecular Biology "Severo Ochoa". Autonomous University of Madrid
Alain Pompidou (France)
Professor of Biology in the University René Descartes. Paris
Victoria Camps (Spain)
Incumbent of the Ethics Chair of the Autonomous University of Barcelona
Erwin Bernat (Austria)
Professor of the Public Law Institute. University of Graz
Luis Martínez Roldán (Spain)
Incumbent of the Philosophy Law Chair. University of Oviedo. Secretary of the SIBI.
Paula Martinho da Silva (Portugal)
Member of the National Council of Ethics for the Sciences of Life
Jesús A. Fernández Suárez (Spain)
Professor of Law Philosophy. Universidad of Oviedo

Note: Adhesions to the Bioethics Declaration of Gijon. Any person, organisation or institution wishing to adhere to this document, may do so by contacting the International Society of Bioethics: E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.