The international context

6.51 There is an international perspective to the relevant ethical considerations. While the Terms of Reference of this Inquiry refer only to consideration of ‘the range of Australian ethical opinion’, the Inquiry is also directed to have regard to ‘the global dimensions of issues relating to research, regulation and the protection of interests’. These include ethical issues.

6.52 Several submissions emphasised the relevance of existing international standards. Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini pointed to the importance of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights[33] in providing a framework for ethical practice within Australia.[34] The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia urged that the bioethics body that it recommended be established maintain constant contact with the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee.[35] The Australian Academy of Science stressed the need to remain sensitive to the international level of ethical standards and deliberations, in order to maintain and promote the profile of Australian science overseas,[36] while UnitingCare NSW & ACT identified several relevant provisions in international instruments relating to human rights.

6.53 In determining the balance of ethical considerations on issues relevant to the protection of genetic information, the status of these international standards deserves continued attention.

[3] K Liddell, Submission G141, 23 March 2002.

[33]Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, UNESCO, <
ibc/en/genome/projet/>, 19 February 2003.

[34] N Tonti-Filippini, Submission G014, 16 November 2001.

[35] National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, Submission G008, 21 May 2001.

[36] Australian Academy of Science, Submission G097, 21 January 2002.