Update: 12.05.2014

European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine

Official Text

English

The development of science over the years and its applicability to medicine and biology has the potential to take a dangerous turn. Science, with its new complexity and extensive ramifications, thus presents a dark side or a bright side according to how it is used. It has subsequently become necessary to ensure that the beneficial side prevails by developing awareness of what is at stake and constantly reviewing all the possible consequences. 

The Preamble states the aims of the Convention as summarized below:

  • Protection of the individual. The individual needs to be shielded from any threat resulting from the improper use of scientific developments. For example the prohibition of the use of all or part of the body for financial gain and restriction of the use of genetic testing.
  • Protection of society. Whenever choices are made in regard to the application of certain developments, legal standards must be recognised and endorsed by the community, which is why public debate is so important and has a place in the Convention. 
  • Protection for the human species. Progress in knowledge of genetics enables considerable progress to take place in the diagnosis and prevention of more and more diseases. However, the risks associated with this growing area of expertise should not be ignored. The Convention has set up safeguards, starting with the preamble where reference is made to the benefits to future generations and to all humanity, while provision is made throughout the text for the necessary legal guarantees to protect the identity of the human being.

The Convention seeks to raise public awareness in order for the human benefit and protection to be reconciled. 

Additional Protocols

  • Protocol No. 1 - Prohibition of Cloning
    Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings
    – 12 January 1998
  • Protocol No. 2 - Transplantation
    Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, on Transplantation of Organs and Tissues of Human Origin
    – 24 January 2002
  • Protocol No. 3 - Biomedical Research
    Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning Biomedical Research
    – 25 January 2005
  • Protocol No. 4 - Genetic Testing
    Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning Genetic Testing for Health Purposes
    – 27 November 2008

Further Sources

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