A seminar on bioethics for the representatives of executive, legislative and judicial bodies as well as for specialists in law and medicine

A seminar on bioethics for the representatives of executive, legislative and judicial bodies as well as for specialists in law and medicine organized by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus was held in Minsk on 14 December 2016 at the Republican scientific medical library. The purposes the event sought to achieve included raising awareness and promoting the Council of Europe’s standards of human rights in the sphere of biomedicine as well as formulating the topics for future discussion and cooperation in the sphere.

In the course of the seminar the participants discussed the Council of Europe’s legal instruments in the domain of biomedical research, organ transplantation and genetic testing as well as the results achieved by Belarus in this area. Special attention was paid to the development of a study course on bioethics designed for specialists in law and healthcare within the framework of the Council of Europe’s HELP programme.

Members of the Council of Europe’s Committee on Bioethics presented the reports dedicated to the Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine (the Oviedo Convention) as one of the major international documents on human rights in the sphere of biomedicine. The reports also addressed the Convention’s Additional protocols on Transplantation of Organs and Tissues of Human Origin and Genetic Testing for Health Purposes. Belarusian side, in its turn, clarified the problems of bioethics development in our country, reported on the activity of  National bioethics Committee, on the ethical questions related to the development of transplantology in the republic, on the perspectives and ethical questions of genetic testing for medical purposes in Belarusian experience.

Becoming familiar with the international experience in resolving bioethical disputes and precedents, getting involved with the HELP’s study course on bioethics (for post-graduate education) as well as in-depth analysis of the Oviedo Convention with a view to the implementation of its provision into national legislation have become important outcomes of the conducted seminar.