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Genetic Resources, Biotechnology and Human Rights: The International Legal Framework


  • Francesco Francioni


As with any rapid technological developments, the biotechnology revolution is putting great strains on the law and its ability to adapt to new realities and challenges. One particularly pressing need is to assess the role that international law and especially international human rights have in developing a generally acceptable framework of regulation in this area. This paper aims at identifying principles and norms of international law that can support this task. It shows that control over genetic resources cannot be linked to a single normative model butdepends on the nature and location of the resources; it highlights the notion of the common interest of humankind in the access to and utilization of genetic resources. It concludes with an inventory of the relevant human rights that should guide states and the international community in developing regulatory schemes that may be capable of reconciling the legitimate goal of scientific and technological innovation with the safeguard of human dignity. This paper will be published as the introductory chapter in Francesco Francioni (ed.) Biotechnology and International Human Rights

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Francioni, 2006. "Genetic Resources, Biotechnology and Human Rights: The International Legal Framework," EUI-LAW Working Papers 17, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0052

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