“Ethics and Law in Biomedicine and Genetics: An Overview of National Regulations in the Arab World”:
A New Publication of UNESCO Cairo Office 2011
Book Review by Mr. Bahaa Darwish.
Biotechnology and medical treatments are unprecedently rapidly developing all over the world. Therefore, in order to prevent some researchers from conducting research in biotechnology and providing medical services in places where there are relaxing or no regulations at all, thus potentially exposing vulnerable people of such places to exploitation and sometimes humiliation, it is crucial that a regulatory system safeguarding ethical research and medical treatment exists all over the world.
Therefore, it was necessary that a comprehensive survey of bioethical regulations in the Arab region be conducted with the aim of having an overview of the existing regulatory provisions on bioethical issues in order to identify the needs, if any, that must be met to promote such regulations to safeguard the Arab people’s human rights and human dignity.
UNESCO Cairo Office took charge of such important mission. It initiated a project that lasted for two years 2007-2009, recently published in a book, where experts representing different disciplines from all the Arab countries were identified, each representing his/her country. They were assigned the task of collecting the legal data in their respective countries responding to ten important bioethical issues, most of which touch women’s bioethical needs and interests, analyzing them and monitoring what, if any, is missing. Such data were then compiled and succumbed to a comparative study by Dr. Fouad Boustany, (Professor of Medicine in Chronic Care center, Secretary General in Ethics Advisory Committee for Health and Life Sciences, member of the National Council for Scientific Research, Lebanon), the project coordinator who concluded the report with general conclusions and recommendations.
This project is of an unprecedented importance as such research was not conducted before in the Arab region. It is also of importance to the researchers as it guides them in complying in their research with their respective countries’ laws and guidelines revealing the values these regulations reflect. It is also important to the policymakers as it provides them with an overview of the state-of-arts legal situation of such issues in their respective countries and in the other countries of the region, revealing what regulation is lacking and what is in need of a revisit to cope with a rapidly changing and interdependent world.
Note of the moderator: You can view this publication by clicking on this link: Ethics&Law.pdf