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UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

Beyond the well-established principles of informed consent and confidentiality, social responsibility, including improved access to quality health care, figures high in a new Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

_While it is still up to States to create legal texts and instruments appropriate to their cultures and tradition, the general framework proposed by the Declaration can help _globalize_ ethics in the face of the increasingly globalized sciences,_ UNESCO said of the text adopted by acclamation at its General Conference_s 33rd session in Paris yesterday.

_The Declaration meets a genuine and growing need for international ethical standards in this area,_ it added citing the proliferation of practices that go beyond national borders, often without a regulatory framework such as biomedical research projects carried out simultaneously in different countries and the importing and exporting of embryos, stem cells, organs, tissue and cells.

The first principle established by the Declaration is the respect of human dignity and human rights, emphasizing the priority of the interests and welfare of the individual over... see more