Patents, Human Rights and Access to Science
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Patents, Human Rights and Access to Science

Aurora Plomer

The new millennium has been described as ‘the century of biology’, but scientific progress and access to medicines has been marred by global disputes over ownership of the science by universities and private companies. This book examines the challenges posed by the modern patent system to the right of everyone to access the benefits of science in international law.
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Chapter 5: The UN’s official thinking on Article 15(1)(c)

Aurora Plomer


In the previous chapters, I have suggested that the main undercurrents in the drafting history of Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) point to the drafters’ concern to preserve the unity and interdependence of human rights. While divided on religious, philosophical and cultural perspectives, I suggested that the drafters vision of human rights reflects an egalitarian ideal whereby the substantive rights enunciated in the Declaration and Covenant are intended to protect and enable each person to develop his or her capacities for education and learning, to form enduring relationships with others, to take equal part in political, social and cultural life and to work without fear of discrimination. The interconnectedness and personal character of the rights is reflected, for instance, in the right to education, the right to development of the personality, the right to health, the right to food, the right to vote and the right to non-discrimination and the core aim of the right to everyone to access the benefits of science.

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