Respect for vulnerability is a human right: Article 8 of the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, and senior citizens in South Africa

Riaan Rheeder


It is untrue that the elderly in South Africa (SA) are probably discriminated against in healthcare as the result of inadequate legislation that does not conform to international standards. The National Health Act recognises vulnerability and gives expression to it. Respect for vulnerability has not yet been introduced to fundamental political and bioethical frames of reference in SA and that is probably the reason why the concept and right have not become part of the ethical awareness in healthcare. The appeal of this article is that respect for vulnerability must be brought to conform to the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights by declaring the ethical principle as an independent human right.

Author's affiliations

Riaan Rheeder, Unit for the Development of Reformed Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2016;9(1):18. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2016.v9i1.456

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-01-26
Date published: 2016-05-25

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