Human Rights and Technology - A Conflictual Relationship? Assessing Private Research and the Right to Adequate Food
Hans Morten Haugen
Diakonhjemmet University College
Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 224-44, 2008
Human rights provisions addressing technology have been much ignored. The connections between technology and human rights have, however, received renewed interest recently. Patent disputes, stagnation in publicly funded research and the role of technology in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, are three areas of substantial interest. After an analysis of the two main provisions on technology of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article 11.2(a) and Article 15.1(b), the relationship between technology and environment, is analyzed. As also evidenced in two other treaties, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, there is no assumption of any conflict between technology and the environment. International cooperation for the realisation of the right to food, is widely acknowledged, and such cooperation also includes technological efforts to produce more high-yielding varieties. The article proves that there is a basis in human rights treaties, especially in the ICESCR, for serving as a guidance in the formulation and implementation of technology policies. The wording of the relevant paragraphs are, however, not of such a kind as to set out clear and unambiguous obligations.
JEL Classification: K33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 3, 2009
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