05.09.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Traditional medicine and the principle of non-discrimination at the heart of next International Bioethics Committee

Traditional medicine and its ethical implications, and the principle of non-discrimination and non-stigmatization will be the focus of discussions at the 19th Session of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and its Joint Session with the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) to be held consecutively from 10 to 14 September, at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters in Paris.

Two key documents will provide a background for the debate:

  • a Draft Report on Traditional medicine and its ethical implications, that invites governments to focus on the right of every human being to access quality healthcare and on the principle of respect for cultural diversity and pluralism;
  • a compilation of 6 papers initiating a debate on the new risks and responsibilities induced by the advances in biomedicine (biobanks, access to drugs, transplant and organ trafficking, as well as tissue and cell trafficking, neuroscience, HIV/AIDS and nanotechnologies). These papers are gathered under the conceptual umbrella of the principle of non-discrimination and non-stigmatization, as set out in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.

The IBC, the only body with international scope regarding bioethics, was created in 1993 and is composed of 36 independents experts appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO for a 4-year mandate. These experts in life sciences and social sciences release conclusions and recommendations on specific issues related to the application of scientific advancements while respecting the principle of dignity and freedom of the human being.

Created in 1998, the IGBC gathers 36 member States elected by the General Conference of UNESCO for a 4-year mandate. It informs the IBC of its opinions and submits these opinions along with proposals for follow-up of the IBC's work to the Director-General of UNESCO for transmission to Member States, the Executive Board and the General Conference.

Debates, during the public sessions to be held from 11 to 14 September 2012, will be webcasted live at the following address:


For more information, click here.

To download the documents:

Journalists wishing to cover the event require accreditation.    


Djibril Kebe: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 41 ;  d.kebe(at)unesco.org ou

Isabelle Le Fournis: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48 ; i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org

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