Strasbourg 5 December 2016
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High-level Seminar on International Case-Law and Bioethics: Insight and Foresight

The seminar took place on 5 December 2016 in Strasbourg under the auspices of the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

In view of the increase of high-profile cases relating to Human Rights in the biomedical field, the Seminar aimed at analysing the qualitative and quantitative evolution of the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and impact at national level. By analysing relevant national case-law, it further aimed at identifying emerging trends to allow a forward look on possible human rights challenges in the biomedical field. The Seminar is incorporated within the framework of the preparation of a Conference which will be held on 24-25 October 2017 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on human rights and biomedicine (Oviedo Convention).

Message from Ms Theodora Constantinidou, Permanent Representation of Cyprus to the Council of Europe and Professor Constantinos N. Phellas, Chairperson of the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee

"The study of bioethics is as relevant today as ever. Advances in technology, medicine and biology have not only led to new perspectives of ongoing debates on controversial issues such as euthanasia, abortion, or the right to refuse medical care on religious grounds, but also to the development of new ethical questions in fields of inquiry such as surrogacy, cloning and organ donation. The ethical evaluation of issues concerning biology and medicine has gradually grown into a distinct and constantly expanding field of study. In view of the above, this seminar which was under the Cyprus Chairmanship of the Council of Europe was indeed of great significance. The seminar’s deliberations would undoubtedly strengthen society’s understanding of human rights in biomedicine. The assessment by the various distinguish speakers at the seminar of existing initiatives and case-law in the field, as well as the comparative analysis of the existing trends and legislation, would enable the further understanding of the parameters of the debate and assist in the reformulation of the questions by taking into account the existing literature, case-law and experience. Furthermore, the thorough analysis of the existing case-law as carried out so successfully at the seminar would allow forward thinking on the future of  this ever-changing field.

We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to, the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe, to the speakers and to all participants, who contributed in making this Conference a forum of a valuable exchange of knowledge, practices and ideas."