Issues that mix science and politics present some of today’s most daunting ethical questions. Did China violate the human rights of prisoners in 2001 by harvesting their kidneys and other organs without their formal consent? Do the victims of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have the right to effective pharmaceutical treatments that are beyond their financial reach? Have incautious steps toward human cloning trodden dangerously close to the revival of eugenics?
“Science in the Service of Human Rights” presents a new framework for debate on such controversial questions surrounding scientific freedom and responsibility by illuminating the many critical points of intersection between human rights and science.
In the wake of the horrors of the Nazi engineers’ grotesque experiments and the devastating advent of the atom bomb, the architects of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sought to structure new world arrangements where those in power would be bridled by rational principles favoring peace. Though U.N.-formulated norms have slowly matured to the status of binding international law, the fragmentation of knowledge in modern society is such that few scientists know about the existence and content of the related U.N. declarations and covenants or their implications.
Richard Pierre Claude, emeritus of government and politics at the University of Maryland and founding editor of Human Rights Quarterly, has written a book that will redress this lack and satisfy curriculum development aiming to integrate human rights standards into the humanities, law, public health, and the social and physical sciences. A veteran human rights advocate, Claude offers a systematic and much-needed clarification of the origins and meanings of everyone’s right to enjoy the benefits of the advancements of science.
— University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on September 19, 2002