The Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine is the first international legally binding instrument in the field of bioethics. It provides a framework for the protection of human rights and human dignity by establishing fundamental principles applicable to health care, medical research, transplantation and genomics.

These principles are intended to be developed in greater detail in additional protocols on specific biomedical topics. As of today, four additional protocols have been adopted, respectively on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings, on Transplantation of Organs and Tissues of Human Origin, on Biomedical Research and on Genetic Testing for Health Purposes. Apart from these binding instruments, the Committee on Bioethics has also adopted a number of Recommendations and issued several reports and white papers.