In defence of Helsinki and human rights

A Plomer


The Declaration of Helsinki (DoH) is widely recognised as the leading authoritative source on ethical standards of medical research worldwide. Yet, in the past decade, different sources have questioned the authority of the DoH and its compliance with human rights, and argued for its replacement with UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights .
This paper argues that the tensions and alleged conflicts between Helsinki and human rights instruments are overstated, and that the latest version of the DoH is an important complement to human rights instruments in protecting the rights of disadvantaged populations and participants in biomedical research.

Author's affiliations

A Plomer, Department of Law, University of Sheffield, UK

Full Text



Research Ethics; Codes; Helsinki; UNESCO

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2012;5(2):83-86. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.232

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-09-11
Date published: 2012-11-23

Article Views

Abstract views: 6020
Full text views: 7302

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here