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7th Annual World Congress of Bioethics: A Report

Genetic Crossroads
December 2nd, 2004

The Center for Genetics and Society, in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, organized a special symposium and other activities at the biennial World Congress of Bioethics and the Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Meeting, held in Sydney, Australia November 7-12. The sessions were collectively titled New Voices, New Perspectives: Towards a Movement for Responsible Governance of New Human Biotechnologies.

Our purpose was to connect with international bioethicists who share our vision and concerns about the new human genetic technologies, and to insert a social justice and feminist perspective into these professional meetings. We organized and supported a group of eleven of our colleagues from Benin, Canada, India, Nigeria, Peru, the UK and the US to attend the meetings and present papers.

During the New Voices, New Perspectives sessions, we raised concerns about the global South being left out of global bioethics discussions, shared information about the state of current policies regulating genetic and reproductive technologies worldwide, talked about the struggles to implement regulation (including the case of sex selection in India and the potential for new forms of discrimination against people with disabilities), debated the new Canadian legislation on assisted reproduction, and offered feminist and human rights insights for building a movement for responsible global governance. We concluded with discussion of plans for expanded activities leading to the 8th World Congress, to be held in Beijing in 2006.

Presenters and conveners involved in the CGS/HBS activities were:

  • George Annas, Department of Health Law, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, USA
  • Marsha Tyson Darling, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA
  • Anita Ghai, Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi, India
  • Richard Hayes, Center for Genetics and Society, USA
  • Emilia Ianeva, California State University, USA
  • Rosario Isasi, Centre de Recherche en Droit Public, University of Montreal, Canada
  • Sujatha Jesudason, Center for Genetics and Society, USA
  • Rupsa Mallik, Center for Health and Gender Equity, New Delhi, India
  • Roxanne Mykitiuk, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto
  • Merry Osemwegie, Center for Bioethics, Nigeria / University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Andreas Poltermann, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Germany
  • René Segbenou, Institut Universitaire du Benin, Cotonou, Benin

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