By Serena Montefusco
On Tuesday June 27th, the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights took part in the event host by Diagrama Foundation in Chatham, UK. As part of the eight partners of European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL), co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, Diagrama Foundation invited migrants, refugees, and experts in this sector to attend an interactive art workshop.
The session opened with the presentation of the Fundación Altius Francisco de Vitoria on the main aspects, aims and prospects of EUROSOL project by the European Director Clara Úbeda Saelices. The event moved on to Nathan Ward’s contribution, drew a metaphor between birds’ migration with human migration and stressed the natural process in both birds and human beings in moving around the world for survival. He also explained the main aspects of the UK history and law regarding migrants and remarked upon the controversial idea of welcoming in detention centres. He explained that detention centres for first facilities often remind prisons.
In the second part of the event, the representatives of the UNESCO Chair, Dr. Alberto Garcia, Ing. Kevin Ramirez, and Serena Montefusco had the chance to express their perspective with the guidance of the Sensitive Labyrinth Theatre, Germany. It was an introspective experience where participants, at first, had to express with gestures and words what is most related to the refugees and solidarity topics. Second, the workshop participants divided into two groups to let them express their points of view and the reasons why they were chosen to be there through a drawing or a composition with newspaper. It was challenging for the audience to go all the way back to their beginning of careers, experience, and their life to appreciate their presence at the workshop.
In the third and last session, the guest Shawn Owen, from Migrant Help UK, presented Migrant Help organization and what it has been doing in delivering advice and supporting vulnerable migrants in the UK for more than 50 years. His intervention gave audience the possibility to better understand the actual situation in UK regarding refugees, human rights, and human trafficking. Apart from collecting data on how many asylum seekers are in UK, the aims of Migrant Help organization are to provide education, health care, legal, and psychological support. Even though the number of abused and trafficked people is still shocking, thanks to this organization as well as Diagrama Foundation and many others, it is interesting to see how numbers are decreasing. However, Owen highlighted that we are not talking about numbers but people, entire families, women, men, minors, who face atrocities along the journey in order to have a better chance in life. Birds migration is part of birds’ survival just as migration has been part of humanity since time immemorial.
The event held in Chatham was not only an occasion for discussion, confrontation, and dialogue among the participants, but also an occasion for Chair Director Alberto Garcia, to present the “Code of Ethics” that was prepared for the consortium. The role of UNESCO Chair is essential to carry out the entire EUROSOL project and in preparation of a Public Forum on “Human Dignity and Human Rights of Refugees” on November 27th in Rome through an ethical perspective.
One of Chair’s chief areas of interest since its 2009 has been Bioethics, Multiculturalism and and Religion. The Chair is thus deeply concerned with promoting and protecting the common human rights of all issues. Migration is a complex phenomenon that affects individuals of all creeds and cultures. Thus, the Chair’s experience in fostering the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics enables her to join diverse groups of individuals committed to creating more just and welcoming societies.
NEW EU project works on improving guidelines for Informed Consent, including vulnerable populations, under a gender perspective
The informed consent (IC) process allows the subject to voluntarily decide whether or not his/her participation in research.
Autonomy of the patient in the decision of having a medical procedure or participating in clinical research is of major importance. Here’s why:
Generally, ICs are difficult to read documents that do not include all stakeholders’ perceptions. Therefore, informative IC should be a process that include needed information under a gender and age perspective, more importantly if these are vulnerable populations.
Therefore, the main objective of I-Consent is to develop guidelines on how to present IC to citizens, so that these are comprehensive and facilitate participation of citizens in research.
‘Contributing in this project is developing a new way of understanding the IC process that reflects the needs and interests of all stakeholders for different therapeutic areas. The guidelines we will develop will be inclusive (with a gender, age and cultural perspective) to ensure autonomy and improve understanding. This will facilitate the participation of citizens in research’ (Jaime Fons Martínez, coordinator at the I-CONSENT project)
In particular, our UNESCO Chair will explore and analyze baseline knowledge of IC for the development and validation of ethical issues concerning informed consent in translational/clinical research and vaccination. The ethical reflection will focus on the pluralistic, multicultural and interreligious discussion regarding the ethical requirements of informed consent for vaccination addressed with specific attention to age (children/teenagers), gender (female) and status (pregnancy). Through this project “we’ll work on identifying ethical gaps and challenges between current EU and National regulations about IC and daily research and clinical practice, thereby offering to the EU citizens solutions to fill up those gaps, from an integral and solidary humanist perspective. By doing so we expect to inform and enlighten ethical, legal and public opinion, decisions and actions relative to medicine, life sciences and human rights and responsibilities. This is our mission and we are happy and honored to participate in collaboration with other I-CONSENT Partners (Alberto García Gómez, Director of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights)
Specific objectives of I-Consent:
- Identify gaps, barriers and challenges, and prioritize needs, requirements and areas for action in the process of IC
- Develop tailored strategies to inform the development of informed consent
- Create and validate guidelines to develop comprehensive IC that improve citizens’ participation in research.
The I-Consent project was granted within the Horizon 2020 Program of the European Union after a competitive one stage selection process. The project started with a kick-off meeting in Valencia (Spain) on the 11th & 12th of May 2017 and will be funded for three years.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement N° 741856.
UNESCO Chair Director Alberto García Gómez contributed to the recent work on Bioethical Responsibility in Businesses and Institutions (La responsabilidad bioética en las empresas e instituciones). García coauthored the article, “The Bioethically Responsible Business” with Radek Tadeusz Biernacki, Professor of Economics at the Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago de Chile. The authors explain how bioethical reflection at the start of the 21st century has given increasing importance to the social consequences of the biotechnical revolution. Hence, in addition to the traditional fields of clinical ethics and research ethics dealing with the ethical behavior of the individual, contemporary bioethics has been occupied with questions of global bioethics at the local, national, and international levels.
Since its 2009 foundation, the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights has worked to foster the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics. It continues to gather a forum of diverse bioethics thought leaders to assess the complex challenges of bioethics from an interdisciplinary perspective.
To learn more about the book and to download the work, please visit its publisher’s site here.
UNESCO Chair Research Scholar Thana Cristina de Campos will release her new work The Global Health Crisis: Ethical Responsibilities on May 4, 2017 at the University of Ottawa. Below is a summary of the work from the Cambridge University Press. Click here to download the book launch flyer.
The Global Health Crisis
Thana Cristina de Campos
University of Ottawa
Proposing a new view of global justice based on natural law, this book presents a discussion of the key ethical values in contemporary medicine and health, notably in relation to neglected diseases like malaria, Ebola and Zika. The lack of treatments for such diseases point to a global health crisis. Thana Cristina de Campos provides a general framework, based on global commutative justice, for discussion of the ethical responsibilities of international stakeholders, mapping the varying duties they have, and their content and force. She also addresses the urgent need for reforms to the international legal rules on bioethics, notably the system of intellectual property rights. These ideas will be of interest to those who are looking for a more nuanced view of the human right to health than that provided by advocates in the globalist mainstream.
Introduction; Part I. Defining the Object: What Is a Reasonable Scope and Content for the Human Right to Health?: 1. The moral value of health: health as a basic human need; 2. The human right to health and its corresponding responsibilities; Part II. Defining the Subjects: Who Are the Duty-Bearers of the Right to Health?: 3. States and natural persons as subjects of justice; 4. Pharmaceutical transnational corporations as subjects of justice; Part III. Defining Just Institutions: How Should Right to Health Responsibilities Be Allocated among the Subjects of Justice?: 5. The global health governance of the global health crisis; Conclusion.
Download Cambridge University Press information here.