Human Rights and Bioethics: Competitors or Allies? The Role of International Law in Shaping the Contours of a New Discipline

  • Author: Judit Sándor


Bioethical norms that had constituted only a rather short chapter in the medical curricula are now integrated into universal human rights. This paper seeks to demonstrate the normative convergence between the fields of bioethics and human rights by discussing the recently adopted relevant international documents and some applicable cases from international law. Human rights case law relevant in this emerging legal domain is analyzed with the aim to tackle changes that have occurred in the fields of human rights and bioethics due to the convergence and interdependence between them. Bioethics and human rights are two different systems of norms but bioethics can enrich human rights by extending the traditional catalogue of rights in certain new fields. The theory of human rights nevertheless dictates some discipline in formulating new and new rights. Therefore it offers to bioethics, as an exchange, a more sufficient enforcement mechanism and international recognition.

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