Health Care and Global Justice
The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG
(2010) 22 SAcLJ 785
After outlining his experience in the world of bioethics, the author draws on his role in the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee to explain the new Universal Declaration of Bioethics, adopted by UNESCO in 2005. He describes it as the first global attempt to reconcile the differing sources of global bioethical principles: health care practice and experience and universal human rights. Whilst collecting, and accepting, some criticism of the text of the Declaration, the author sees its chief values in the wider ethical issues of concern to the community, the world and biosphere as well as the adjustment of health care approaches for consistency with the growing impact of universal human rights law. Whilst acknowledging the differing social experiences of people in different regions of the world, he invokes Amartya Sen to cast doubt on the notion of specific “Asian values”, whether in bioethics or human rights.