New Technologies, New Challenges for Human Rights? The Work of the Council of Europe

In: European Journal of Health Law
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  • 1 Head, Bioethics Unit – Human Rights Directorate of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France

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Convergence of emerging technologies (e.g. biotechnologies, information and cognitive technologies) has opened new perspectives for progress with regard to human health. However, these technologies also open new possibilities for interventions on human beings, which may be more invasive, and possibly affect and modify individuals. Established practices in the field of biomedicine are also evolving in a way that exerts pressure on existing protective mechanisms. Thus, consideration is required as to whether existing human rights provisions are still fit for purpose or whether there is a need to re-examine, clarify or re-enforce them or even a need to identify new human rights and protective measures. This article gives an overview of the main issues considered by the Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe to develop a Strategic Action Plan aimed at ensuring appropriate protection of human rights in the developments in biomedicine, promoting thereby progress for human health.