The necessary balance between progress and respect for human dignity
Biological and medical research and developments in technology have produced spectacular advances in the health field. However, these advances raise ethical issues that affect the individual and protection of the individual’s rights and dignity (genetics, medically assisted procreation, antenatal diagnosis, stem cell research etc).
The 1997 Oviedo Convention on human rights and biomedicine established the basic principles of biomedical ethics. There have since been three additional protocols dealing with the prohibition of cloning human beings, organ transplantation and biomedical research.
The European Conference of National Ethics Committees (COMETH) was set up to promote co-operation between national ethics bodies in the Council of Europe member states. It plays a role in promoting public debate on all issues raised by developments in biomedical and health sciences.
The Council of Europe’s aim in the field of bioethics is to strike a balance between freedom of research and protection of individuals.