Technology and human rights: Council of Europe participated in Euroscience Open Forum

Ethical issues raised by gene editing technologies, protection of the elderly, and the importance of public debate highlighted by the Council of Europe in EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF).
Toulouse, France 9-14 July 2018
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Technology and human rights: Council of Europe participated in Euroscience Open Forum

In a round table on elderly persons organised at the opening, Siobhan O’Sullivan, Member of the Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe (DH-BIO), referred to the challenges for the rights of elderly persons and highlighted the need to be vigilant with regard to the evolution of health care systems. This emanates from analysis carried out on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (“Oviedo Convention”) which will guide a new strategic action plan for the Council of Europe to address human rights challenges raised namely by technological developments in biomedicine.

In the Roundtable on “A European view on the recent public consultations on bioethics in France”, Lee Hibbard from the Bioethics Unit of the Council of Europe, comments on the robust mechanisms for public debate in France with particular regard to the new 2018 synthesis report of the French public consultations on bioethics prepared by the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE).

Further, in the event “Can public opinion shape the future of genome editing?”, he recalled Article 13 of the Oviedo Convention which states that “An intervention seeking to modify the human genome may only be undertaken for preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes and only if its aim is not to introduce any modification in the genome of any descendants.” What, how and when to engage the public in a debate on gene editing research was discussed with particular regard to the Council of Europe’s on-going work on a new guide to public debate in the field of biomedicine.

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