Organized by the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research and the “Associazione Luca Coscioni” in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva and with the International Institute for the Human right to science
Tuesday 20 September 2016, h. 13.00 – 15.00
Palais des Nations, Geneva
Side – Event on “The implementation of the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom indispensable for scientific research”
The World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research (a permanent forum to foster dialogue between scientists and politicians) and Associazione Luca Coscioni kindly invite States, relevant United Nations entities and other international and regional organizations, civil society, and academic and research bodies to attend a Panel discussion on “The implementation of the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom indispensable for scientific research”, on the occasion of HRC33.
The “implementation of the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom indispensable for scientific research” emanate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Specifically, Article 15 of ICESCR sets forth “1. the right of everyone: (a) To take part in cultural life; (b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; (c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. 2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture. 3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity. 4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields”.
Given the progress and advances in the scientific sector, “the implementation of the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom indispensable for scientific research” draw renewed attention to scientific freedom and its impact on human rights.
Within UNESCO, it has been recognized “that research on the human genome and the resulting applications open up vast prospects for progress in improving the health of individuals and of humankind as a whole, but emphasizing that such research should fully respect human dignity, freedom and human rights, as well as the prohibition of all forms of discrimination”.
In 2004, the then Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights initiated a study on human rights and the human genome (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2004/38). In 2009, at a UNESCO joint expert seminar, it was adopted the Venice Statement on the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress, which indicates that: “The ongoing process of science has different meanings and implications in different contexts and may pose significant challenges for human rights in the world today. The processes, products and applications of science should be used for the benefit of all humanity without discrimination, particularly with regard to disadvantaged and marginalized persons and communities”. More recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, F. Shaheed, focused her annual report-2012 (A/HRC20/26) on, inter alia, “the normative content of the right to benefit from scientific progress and its application”.
Against this background, scholars and practitioners tend to invoke the need to further promote and focus on this area, at the international level.
In the light of “the right to share scientific advancements” and the evolutionary interpretation of the relation between science and human rights, discussion on scientific freedom, including its potential and/or effective impact on individuals and society at large, should take momentum.
• Illustrate the evolutionary interpretation of “the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom indispensable for scientific research”, including within the framework of International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
• Share new data/information on stories of scientific progress and highlight areas of persistent challenge;
• Mobilize stakeholders.
Tags: freedom of research