Bioethics and Bioethical Issues in Muslim Societies
a lecture by Professor Nouzha Guessous
11 November 2010, 5.00pm
Rooms 8&9, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge
In Muslim societies, bioethical issues need research and large debate in the light of cultural and religious traditions and with respect to the modern scientific knowledge and the human rights and fundamental freedoms principles. This talk will discuss whether Muslim societies are able to have an Islamic bioethics and even whether it is desirable. The talk will be followed by Q & A and a reception.
Advances in life and medical sciences and technologies have brought fundamental change in overall conditions of life all over the world which have inevitably lead to the raising of major ethical questions and dilemmas. During the elaboration process of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights that proclaimed in October 2005 a set of 15 universal principles , the issue of universality and cultural diversity was very controversial and ended with the recognition of the necessity of respecting cultural diversity and pluralism (Art 12) in the interpretation and implementation of the Declaration.
In Muslim societies, bioethical issues need research and large debate in the light of cultural and religious traditions and with respect to the modern scientific knowledge and the human rights and fundamental freedoms principles. In the context of globalization and according to the great diversity of situations in Muslim societies, an empirical question is whether we can have an Islamic Bioethics and even whether it is desirable. One of the most recurrent ideas is then to build bioethics on Islamic principles. Thus,a practical question should be addressed about how we can theoretically and practically deal with the needs and practices of any / every Muslim society.
Prof. Nouzha Guessous, from Morocco, is a researcher and consultant in human rights and bioethics, a member of the Ethics Committee of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), and a former Chair of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO (2005-2007). She has been carrying out a number of activities in women / human rights and bioethics both nationally and internationally.
ACTIVITIES IN WOMEN / HUMAN RIGHTS AND BIOETHICS
1. At the National level
– Member of the Advisory Royal Commission for the revision of the Moudawana (Family Laws), 2001-2003
– Award by His Majesty King Mohamed the VIth with a “Wissam du Mérite National du grade de Commandant” ( October 10, 2003)
– Women Rights activist for more than 30 years, working with Moroccan and international Women NGOs
– Founding Member of the “Moroccan Organization of Human Rights” (OMDH)
– Member of the Right to Health Commission
– Member of « Collectif Stratégie » du Centre d’études sociales, économiques et managériales (CESEM) since its constitution in October 2007
– Member of the Gender Commission of the Conseil Consultatif des Droits de l’Homme – CCDH (Moroccan Advisory Council for Human Rights) since 2008; nominated as chairperson
– Member of the Ethics Committee for the Biomedical Research, 2001 to 2008
– Founding Member and member of the National Committee of the Moroccan Association for Bioethics (March 2005)
2. At the International level
– Member of the Committee of Ethics of Sciences and Technology of ALECSO since 2008
– Member of the UNESCO International Committee of Bioethics (IBC) from 2000 to 2007
* Elected Chair during the IBC 12th session (Tokyo, 15-17 December 2005)
* Elected Vice- Chair (December 2002- December 2005)
– Member of the UNESCO Advisory Expert Commission for the Teaching of Ethics ( Division of Ethics of Science and Technology), since 2004
– Member of the IBC drafting groups