[Ip-health] Cross Regional Statement by Egypt at the Human Rights Council : Towards a Human Rights Approach to Intellectual Property
Ahmed Abdel Latif
aabdellatif at ictsd.ch
Fri Mar 14 12:25:47 PDT 2014
The cross regional statement below (Towards a Human Rights Approach to Intellectual Property) was delivered today - 14th March 2014 - by Egypt, on behalf of 90 countries, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
It states that: "International relevant organizations in the field of intellectual property should take fully into account the existing State obligations under international human rights instruments in conducting their activities, and to perform regular human rights impact assessments of intellectual property systems, including on access to medicines and intellectual property."
Senior Programme Manager
Innovation, Technology and IP
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
The Human Rights Council
Ambassador Dr. Walid M. Abdelnasser
Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations
and other International Organizations in Geneva
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of a group of countries from several different regional geographical and political groups, endorsed by the African, Arab and OIC groups and members of other groupings, totaling 90 countries.
Intellectual property regimes should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations. Intellectual property regimes have been established on the fundamental trade-off that Intellectual Property Rights are a special privilege given to right-holders for the economic exploitation of their works, and designed to serve the public purpose of promoting the progress of Science and Culture. For this reason, international Intellectual Property systems should seek to balance the moral and economic rights of creators and inventors with the collective and wider interests and needs of the society. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right "to share in scientific advancement and its benefits" as well as to the "protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author", subject to limitations in the public interest. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications is also recognized in article 15(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights affirms a number of principles applicable to ethical issues raised by medicine, life sciences and associated technologies. <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/CulturalRights/Pages/Seminarbenefitsofscientificprogress.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ftn2> Perhaps the most relevant of these are found in article 15, which provides that "benefits arising from scientific research and its applications should be shared with society as a whole and within the international community, in particular with developing countries". For instance, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health clearly stipulated that the framework of the right to health make it clear that medicines must be available, accessible, acceptable and affordable to reach ailing populations without discrimination throughout the world. Benefits may take the form of special and sustainable assistance to, and acknowledgement of, the persons and groups that have taken part in the research, access to quality health care and access to scientific and technological knowledge.
We recall the General Comment No. 17 on the right of everyone to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author (article 15, paragraph 1(c) of the Covenant), adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 21 November 2005 (E/C.12/2005/GC/17). We also note that it is important not to equate intellectual property rights with the human right recognized in article 15, paragraph 1 (c) and that the full realization of this human right requires measures necessary for the conservation, development and diffusion of science and culture. There may be apparent conflicts between the intellectual property rights regime embodied in the TRIPS Agreement, on the one hand, and international human rights law, on the other, as the resolution 2000/7 of the UN Sub Commission on promotion and protection of Human Rights stated. Resolution 2000/7 further notes that apparent conflicts that may exist between the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement and the realization of economic, social and cultural rights are in relation to, inter alia, impediments to the transfer of technology to developing countries, the consequences for the enjoyment of the right on access to patented pharmaceuticals and the implications for the full enjoyment of the right to health. These possible apparent conflicts are yet to be resolved, through a more balanced international Intellectual Property system that takes into account human rights. We recall in this regard the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, A/HRC/11/12, A/HRC/23/42, and the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, A/64/170.
International relevant Organizations in the field of intellectual property should take fully into account the existing State obligations under international human rights instruments in conducting their activities, and to perform regular human rights impact assessments of intellectual property systems, including on access to medicines and intellectual property.
I thank you.
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