|The Impact of Technology on Human Rights: Global Case-studies (UNU, 1993, 322 pages)|
C. G. WEERAMANTRY
The bewildering array of problems emerging from these studies is a pointer to the volume of work awaiting attention if meaningful inroads are to be made upon the problems of using science and technology for the furtherance of human rights.
Science and technology are no longer the subject of a complacent assumption that they are synonymous with progress, freedom, and the betterment of the human condition. Consequently, the decisions associated with their adoption are no longer seen as neutral and value-free. Rather, they generate strong support or opposition, provoke emotional reactions, and, indeed, become political issues of considerable importance. the discussions surrounding these decisions raise sharply such issues as whether science and technology determine the course of their own development or whether society can and should control them. Answers that may suit one society may not suit another. Human rights issues become inextricably interlinked with decisions regarding suitable scientific and technological models for a given society.
One point made clear by these studies is the need for us to shake ourselves free from deterministic models of technological development and to move towards participatory ones. The grip of science and technology on the form and extent of their application to a given society is a heavy legacy from past modes of thought. It has generated attitudinal barriers that cannot be breached without a multi-pronged educational approach. This educational process ranges from the technical training and the intensification of the social awareness of engineers and technicians to the generation of a more informed and participatory altitude on the part of the general public. This latter is a long-term project which can no longer be delayed. It involves exposure of the problems of technological decision-making to the people and hence also involves the creation of more technical awareness and proficiency on the part of the general public.
The educational process cannot, of course, be confined to the technological sphere. It must extend also to human rights education, so that the technological issues can be seen in their human rights setting. Courses must be structured to include a reference to the possible inroads technology is capable of making into those rights. Today's schoolchildren, more than any of their predecessors, are destined to live in a technology-dominated age and any educational course which fails to alert them to this fact and to prepare them for it is seriously defective. Indeed, a perusal of most standard courses in civics in schools, even in the most industrially advanced countries, will be found to exhibit a lacuna in this all-important area. The Thai initiative in devising courses on basic rights could perhaps be developed for this purpose.
Another interesting feature emerging from these studies is the process of reorientation now taking place on a wide front, by which individual freedoms are moving to a position of priority over community-related interests. There is a technology-related dimension, not often perceived, to this process, for certain types of technology and patterns of technological decision-making are an impediment to individual freedoms. Hence the trend towards individual rather than community-related interests is altering attitudes towards technological development. The widespread shift in attitudes towards individual rights must therefore have its impact on attitudes towards technological choice and development in several countries.
The implications of this orientation also need to be worked out from the economic standpoint, especially since one of the primary obstacles in the way of adopting the desired technologies is economic. For example, the more advanced technologies required to minimize harmful environmental and health effects may not be within financial reach, however much they may be desired. The Polish study offers a good example of this. The cost factor looms large in the shift to a different human rights approach. If the gain in human welfare is substantial, the cost is worth while. It may pay its way, even on a cost-efficiency basis. The problem demands urgent attention.
There is also an ongoing legacy from the past in many countries where decisions were taken to introduce various technologies without consultation with the people or regions affected. The siting of nuclear reactors or great industrial works is an obvious example. Quite often, in the days when community rather than individual interests were emphasized, factories were located and technologies adopted as a result of decisions taken centrally without local consultation. If human rights denials were involved in those decisions, such denials still continue. Unsuitable or outmoded technologies, once introduced, will remain, and relocation invariably requires massive extra funding.
Such factors underline the need for generating fund sources for the promotion of third-world science. A useful start is the establishment of the new $1.5 billion Global Environment Facility (GEF) to pro mote pollution control, energy conservation, and other industrial development to protect the environment. Private foreign investment will not necessarily provide the required funding in certain areas of technology - for example, the scientific development and resources needed in the health and education sectors. International agencies will need to provide the funding for these as well as for training the workforce to higher levels of technical proficiency and for the spread of technological information among the public.
Just as cost is a barrier to the implementation of more liberal human rights attitudes, so also is lack of information. Popular participation is a meaningless shibboleth if that participation is to take place in the absence of relevant information. There are many individuals and entities with a vested interest in withholding that information. How does a concerned public inform itself adequately in order to exercise its participatory rights? Do we need to add new dimensions or devise new machinery in regard to the right to information? What other techniques can be devised and what conceptual advances can we make to facilitate access to the development planning process? the barrier of an authoritative bureaucracy and technocracy still remains. There are still attitudes that look upon matters of sophisticated science and technology as beyond the understanding of the average citizen. Hence it is argued There is little sense in explaining to him or her the finer details. Leave the citizen alone and take the necessary decisions in the social interest. Part of the required reorientation of human rights attitudes is the reorientation of such autocratic attitudes in official and technocratic centres.
Environmental problems loom large in these studies. While everyone is agreed on the interrelationship between these and human rights, the regulatory measures fall tar behind the professions of interest. This applies both domestically, in regard to such regulations as controls over pollution, and internationally, in regard to major ecological issues. Dozens of volumes would be required to reproduce international agreements on these matters, but since these agreements embody consensus at the level of the lowest common denominator, they are often watered down to a level of near-ineffectiveness. Indeed, the larger the number of countries participating in an ecological treaty, the softer its terms are likely to be. Domestically There can likewise be a multiplicity of legal norms, as the Venezuelan study has revealed, with 80 laws and 400 resolutions, resulting in problems of inconsistency and imprecise definitions which hamper their effectiveness.
The will to counter environmental catastrophe, both domestically and internationally, should not exhaust itself when it has found expression in conventions or legislation. That is only the beginning of a long process which needs to be actively translated from precept into practice. The hindrances to this translation -bureaucracies, vested interests, corruption, political manipulation, proliferation of rules with resultant grey areas and inconsistencies, suppression and withholding of information - need to be identified and addressed.
The Polish study highlights the vicious circle that occurs in environmental matters when certain human rights are pursued. The right of everyone to "a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family" (Article 25 of the Universal Declaration) is pursued by industrialization. This results in the absence of adequate environmental safeguards and in a deterioration of the environment. The deterioration of the environment is a threat to the right to life (Article 3), as well as to the right to a standard of living adequate to health and well-being. We are back where we began. The vicious circle needs to be broken at some point, especially in the context of growing urbanization and greater resort to industry as a solution to the resulting problems of unemployment.
One of the areas requiring concerned attention in the con text of democratization is the role of international monetary agencies who impose conditions on recipient countries in relation to the renegotiation of foreign debts. The Venezuelan contribution points out that the principal lines of the economic adjustment programme carried out by the government since the beginning of 1989 were not dependent on the will of the Venezuelan population, as shown in the elections of December 1988, but had already been defined by a mission of the IMF that had visited the country one year earlier. The demands for democratization, the strengthening of civil society, and the decentralization of the state were being counteracted by the authoritarian implications of the adjustment process required by the IMF.
This problem, as perceived from the Venezuelan perspective, is a widespread one. The participatory character, seen as desirable and democratic in decisions relating to technology, could well be adversely affected by such factors. Likewise the choice of mega development projects and their implementation could well have adverse and paralysing effects upon human rights, in the participatory sense.
Developing countries face the additional problem that the pursuit of appropriate technology, consonant with a country's traditions and needs, may tend to be brushed aside by modern technologies such as the indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilizers, which, apart from their expense, create a continuing and increasing dependence upon themselves. The Thailand study contains much material on this. There are many aspects of traditional agricultural technology which still retain their utility. Not only do they suit the local milieu in which they have evolved but they have also stood the test of time. Jettisoning them for the sake of modernity could be extremely unwise. Moreover, models of agricultural development suitable for a developing country are different from those suitable for an industrialized country. Prosperous agribusinesses of the latter, when they operate in a third-world country, may have objectives different from providing basic nourishment to the population, which is the primary need of the country in which they operate.
When we pass from rural to urban problems, we are confronted by the spectre of urbanization which stalks all developing societies. This will bring in its train a whole series of new human rights/technology problems, given that in less than ten years more than half the world's people will for the first time in human history be living in cities. Cities, especially in the developing world, are growing at an unprecedented rate and many of them will by the turn of the century have populations exceeding 20 millions. Industrialization will be resorted to as a means of generating wealth. If the city succeeds in doing this, it compounds its problems, for the city will then attract more rural refugees and grow larger still, thus needing to generate more industrial employment - and so the cycle goes on ad infinitum. If, on the other hand, the city fails in its attempt at industrialization, it becomes a parasite upon the community rather than a generator of wealth. No matter what it does, the city is no nearer to a solution of its problems. Any attempt to seek solutions through the use of modern industrial techniques must bear this human rights aspect in mind.
Another urgent human rights problem associated with the spread of industrial technology is the exploitation of children and women. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, highlights the needs of children.1 Likewise, the protection of female workers from exploitation, the subject of considerable international attention over the years, is an acute human rights problem associated with industrial technology.
Biomedical technology raises another crop of issues. In common with environmental problems, it raises the question of the rights of future generations. However, as the Dutch study shows, other human rights are involved - such as the rights of the patient, issues of human experimentation, freedom of scientific research, protection of family life, privacy, travel restrictions, and the freedom of artificial procreation. Many of these lie on the frontiers of scientific research and, though they may seem remote now, will acquire fundamental importance as these techniques become widespread. The problems are not confined to developing societies, for the issues they raise concern the very integrity of the human body and, if not already global in their ramifications, will soon be so. Moreover, in the medical field the choice by poor countries of advanced and sophisticated technology results not in frequently in the diversion of resources that might be better used for satisfying more basic needs whose benefits would be more widespread. Particularly to be watched is the purchase of expensive equipment which, after a short while, falls into disuse owing to the lack of technical skill to maintain it.
The Ethiopian and Venezuelan studies bring us directly to one of the central problems of our time - the impact of weapons upon human rights. The Ethiopian investigation looks at one facet of the problem, the Venezuelan at another. The Ethiopian study demonstrates historically the corrosive effect of arms upon social organization. The Venezuelan study brings out the stark anomaly of a flourishing arms industry in the midst of a society where there is a vast inadequacy in the satisfaction of basic human needs. The problem is many-faceted and its implications are global. The arms race needs concerted attention from students of human rights.2 A trillion dollars a year devoted to armaments belies any claims that the earth's resources are insufficient to tackle the problem of poverty, seeing that a fraction of this expenditure could hold global poverty in check.
It is true that many forces are in place which help the armaments industry to maintain the hold it enjoys over a great share of the gross global product. The military-industrial complex, of which President Eisenhower warned the American people in his farewell address, is not a purely American phenomenon. Nearly all countries, rich and poor, are contributors to the flourishing condition of the arms industry.
This does not mean that there are no methods of minimizing its damaging impact upon human rights. A practical method that has come to the forefront in recent times is what is described as "conversion" - turning swords into plough-shares, tanks into tractors, rockets into spacecraft for peaceful purposes. This discipline needs to be pursued with vigour.
The international interest in many of the issues discussed in this volume shows also that discussion of technological decisions impacting on human rights can scarcely be kept within domestic confines when their effects are important enough to transcend national boundaries. Nuclear reactors or the felling of the rain forests of the Amazon basin, for example, trigger off international concern. There are numerous global organizations which link up with national human rights groups on such issues and it is becoming plain that many of the kinds of problems discussed in this book have global connotations.
For legislatures and law-enforcement authorities, an important feature emerging from these studies is the gap that often exists between legal norms as embodied in legislation and the practical problems to which they are the response. As Professor Lander points out, even in industrialized countries the law lags behind science and technology. In countries of the periphery the gap is even greater. When one adds to this gap the further gap that exists between the precept and the practice, between the legislation and its implementation, we are left with a situation in which science and technology in the greater part of the world are racing ahead of the regulatory and conceptual apparatus of the state.
As this volume goes to press, the international media bring us news of human catastrophes on a scale which dwarfs all available international means of affording adequate assistance. Cyclones in Bangladesh, famine in Africa, earthquakes in Georgia, refugee problems in the Middle East, and volcanic eruptions in the Pacific are examples. Such extensive disasters can be expected to appear with a fair degree of regularity from time to time. An age of sophisticated technology does poorly indeed if it brings its technology to bear on these human rights problems only after they occur. Should we not have in operation an ongoing technological research programme geared to prepare for such global emergencies, thus mitigating their severity even in some small measure? It is not impossible to foreshadow and plan for some of the needs that will arise. Technology will perhaps aid us in forecasting some of them with greater accuracy, but will certainly assist in planning more adequate transport and distribution facilities, medical facilities, structural research into earthquake- and fire-resistant buildings, communication facilities among different aid organizations, and the rebuilding and restoration of water supply systems. technology can assist us in performing all these functions with far more efficiency than we perform them today. The office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordination would no doubt be able to use such scientific and technological research to great advantage. The World Health Organization has recognized this by declaring the theme of World Health Day 1991 to be Disaster Preparedness.
In a volume on science and technology and human rights, it would not be inappropriate to suggest that all the technologies it deals with should not lose sight of their potential contribution to the urgent task of preparedness for disaster - one of the most massive of our human rights problems.
It will be seen that all the problems discussed need to be addressed on both a short- and a long-term basis. The urgency of the problem necessitates immediate relief as well as the formulation of long-term plans. Resources are limited and a combination of the two types of action is required. Global hunger, for example, needs to be addressed in the short term but, if one is to address its causes, long-term plans are required. Environmental degradation is another example. In nearly every field, we need to search for the most acceptable combination of short- and long-term measures. The need for the two sets of measures to be interrelated is also self-evident. The short-term relief measures must not cut across long-term development objectives - as has become apparent in the field of emergency food relief.
Finally, before dealing with specific suggestions, I would like to put forward a view I have advocated for a considerable time, that in an age so heavily dominated by science and technology we cannot progress far in creating harmony between science and technology and human rights unless we actively pursue a policy of introducing scientists and technologists to the human rights implications of their work. These are not always self-evident to the scientist or technologist engrossed in his or her particular work, and, indeed, most college and university courses of technical or advanced education totally ignore the social dimensions of science in their curricula. Among doctors, a code of ethics does exist but has not progressed far beyond the ancient Hippocratic oath. Apart from this, and a rudimentary code of social responsibility among some societies of engineers, there is a lack of an ethical code among most groups of scientists.
The time is perhaps right, owing to the immense power of science and technology, to pay attention to alerting scientists and technologists to the power they wield for human good or ill depending on how they use it, and to the ways in which their work impacts upon the human rights of large sectors of the global population. An ethic once created and formulated will tend to grow in strength, and increasing numbers of scientists and technologists will become sensitized to the social implications of their work. Societies for social responsibility among scientists could also assist in heightening this sensitivity.3
A useful pointer to the current lack of scientific concern with the problems of developing countries is the observation in the Brandt Report that while 51 per cent of the spending on research and development in the industrialized countries is devoted to defence, barely 1 per cent is specifically concerned with the problems of developing countries. A heightened sensitivity to these problems could result in an immense contribution by scientists to their solution.
At the same time we must not lose sight of a factor attracting significant attention in the context of the desire of developing countries for rapid development. This is the possibility that the pace of development can be accelerated - as indeed it has been, in certain instances - at some cost to human rights through processes of regimentation and the imposition of unrelenting disciplines upon the population. Economic growth is increased thereby, but human freedom is curtailed. An important problem is encapsulated herein, one with which the development debate cannot remain unconcerned. The need for development is often rooted in the need to eradicate factors such as starvation which imperil human rights. Development is thus a means of combating the denial of human rights. But accelerated development can itself involve a denial of other human rights. This poses a dilemma to the planner and raises a problem which has thus far attracted insufficient scholarly attention. Any significant development planning for the future should endeavour to achieve a balance between economic growth and human freedom. The task is not an easy one and merits concerned scholarly attention.
Another factor to be borne in mind in the context of development planning is the tendency, highlighted in the Ethiopian study, for new technology to be chosen by male-dominated societies, to serve the needs of the male rather than the female workforce. This imbalance can all too easily be lost sight of under the general impression that an overall technological improvement is taking place, when in fact this improvement leaves out of consideration the needs of half the workforce. Technological planning cannot afford to ignore this important factor.
In the midst of this welter of concerns, where do we begin? A few major areas compete for attention. The bulk of them arise from the studies contained in this volume and a few have suggested themselves in the overall context of the problems dealt with.
1. The recognition of scientific and technological decisions as vital democratic issues. This is one of the central conclusions emerging from this study and needs to be incorporated into contemporary democratic theory.
2. Education.(a) Scientists and technologists.(i) Education of scientists and technologists in the social implications of science.
(ii) Incorporation of a topic of social responsibility of scientists in university and tertiary education curricula.
(iii) The expansion of the scientific ethic so as to include the concept of responsibility towards humanity.
(iv) The formulation of a human rights code for scientists.
(v) Encouraging the creation of societies for social responsibility among scientists.
(vi) Closing the communications gap between lawyers and legislators on the one hand and scientists and technologists on the other.
(b) The general public.(i) Education of the general public towards a more informed and participatory attitude on matters of technological decision-making.
(ii) Education of schoolchildren in the human rights significance of science and technology.
(iii) Broader human rights education of the general population.
(iv) A study of methods of using modern technology for the furtherance of human rights knowledge.
3. Information.(a) Investigation of means of spreading technological information to the general public.
(b) Identifying and breaking down the barriers which clog the flow of technological information to the public.
(c) Breaking down autocratic attitudes of the bureaucracy and of technocracy towards informing the public of matters pertinent to technological decision-making.
(d) Clarification of the concept of the right to information.
4. Development of new human rights.(a) The study of the possible recognition as human rights of:(i) the right to access to information bearing upon new technology;
(ii) the right to participate in the decision-making process in relation to scientific and technological issues;
(iii) the rights of future generations - conceptual bases and structures for their protection; and
(iv) the right not to be taken advantage of owing to one's ignorance of science and technology.
(b) Whereas the traditional emphasis in human rights doctrine has been on protection of the individual against state action, a particular need exists in the field of science, technology, and industrialization to emphasize the possibility of violation of human rights by other actors - for example, industries and corporations - and devise appropriate protections.
(c) The stress on development must be safeguarded against the tendency to view people as instruments of production, whereas development is only a means to advance the welfare and culture of the people.
5. The generation of funds for promoting third-world science and technology.(a) International organizations will need to generate funds for this specific purpose. The current Global Environment Facility (GEF) is one example. Similar funds are required for fostering human rights/technologyrelated projects.
(b) Exploring areas of human-rights-related technology to which private foreign investment can be persuaded to devote some of its research funding. Private enterprise devotes vast sums to scientific research. Some part of this could, with profit to themselves or as a gesture of goodwill, be devoted to human-rights-orientod scientific and technological research.
6. Credit availability.(a) Exploring avenues of credit at rural, urban, national, and international level.
(b) Ensuring that the availability of credit is not tied to technologies which achieve economy at the expense of human rights.
(c) Concessional funding for the promotion of technologies which promote or protect human rights.
(d) The generation of funds for promoting third-world science and technology.
7. Access to development planning.(a) Positive efforts at international, regional, governmental, and local governmental level to involve the public in the technological decision-making process.
(b) Analysis and publication of the human rights credits and debits of a proposed item of technology.
8. The role of lending agencies.(a) A study of the impact upon human rights of the decisions, guidelines, and directions of lending agencies to borrower governments.
(b) An international conference of lending agencies exploring in depth the human rights implications of the technologies encouraged by their lending policies.
9. The arms industry.(a) Exploration of the human rights implications of the arms industry and of the human rights violations implicit in it.
(b) Vigorous pursuit of the discipline of conversion in all its aspects.
10. Urbanization.(a) Special studies of the human rights problems involved in the "urban explosion" of the 1990s, with its attendant temptation to introduce job-creating technologies without prior scrutiny of their human rights implications.
(b) Adopting a principle of use of "clean technologies" in mega-cities.
11. Agriculture.(a) The study and application where possible of indigenous agricultural technologies.
(b) The careful scrutiny of pesticides, fertilizers, etc., from the point of view of their potential to generate a continuing dependence on them.
(c) Careful scrutiny of the projects of agribusiness with a view to ensuring that they do not lose sight of the primary objective, essential in developing countries, of providing basic nourishment to the population rather than generating lines of business which increase the dependence of those countries upon imported products.
12. Obstacles to democratization.(a) Identification of these obstacles, which include blockage of information, lack of education, technological and bureaucratic élitism, corruption, and the arms industry.
(b) Possible legislative measures, e. g. on access to information aimed at diluting the effect of these obstacles.
(c) Credit and other financial arrangements that bring technology and its enjoyment closer to the reach of the average citizen.
13. Environmental concerns and norms.(a) Studies of the extent of the discrepancy between the norms set by international agreements and domestic legislation. This can be achieved on a global scale if rapporteurs are appointed from each country.
(b) Systematization of domestic legislation on environmental norms with a view to clarification of principles, elimination of contradictions, easy intelligibility to the public, and effective enforcement.
(c) Domestic and international investigations of the obstacles in the way of enforcement, such as corruption, political pressure, international lending policies, the armaments industry, and multinational economic power.
(d) Domestic and international action preventing developing countries being used for the deposit of toxic waste from the industrialized world.
(e) Closing the gap between pronouncements of standards and enforcements action.
14. Integrity of the human body.(a) Human experimentation.
(b) Organ transplants.
(c) Medical confidentiality.
(d) In vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation.
(e) Genetic engineering.
(f) Mind manipulation.
15. Intellectual property.(a) Study of human rights problems involved in the protection of computer software.
(b) The human rights issues raised by protection of pharmaceuticals.
(c) The human rights issues raised by protection of special agricultural techniques.
(d) A study of the foundations of the concept of property in knowledge where there is tension between this principle and concepts of human rights.
(e) A study of means of securing a greater recognition of the public interest, especially in developing countries.
(f) Stepping up levels of research and development in products relevant to the problems of developing countries.
(g) Acceptance of an international code of conduct on the transfer of technology.
16. Industrialization.(a) Studies of the principal obstacles in the way of modernization of outmoded industrial plants.
(b) General availability to other regions of the methods found most effective for this purpose in the Eastern European region.
(c) Stepping up the levels of protection and the standards of protection and safety in industrial plants.
(d) Investigating that effects upon the labour force of new and untested chemicals to which it is exposed, and prevention of exposure to new chemicals without adequate testing.
17. Rights of women and children.(a) Special attention to the ways in which the new technologies will be particularly damaging to the human rights of women and children.
(b) A study of the traditional barriers in the way of women's and children's rights and of ways in which new technology can be adapted so as to overcome those obstacles.
(c) An intensive effort in technology planning, to pay due attention to the ways in which new technology can benefit the female workforce and the female half of the population.
18. Medical technology.(a) The proper study of the appropriateness of sophisticated medical technologies and equipment before their introduction.
(b) Research on drugs tailored to meeting the specific medical requirements of a country and the careful scrutiny, from the standpoint of suitability, of new pharmaceutical products.
(c) Ensuring, before the purchase of expensive medical equipment, that the necessary expertise and facilities exist for its continuing maintenance.
(d) Attention to the manufacture of generic drugs that reduce the costs of medical treatment, thus increasing the accessibility of medical services to low-income groups.
(e) A careful screening of advanced biomedical technologies from the standpoint of their appropriateness to the less developed countries and their impact on the health services and resources of those countries.
(f) A higher priority to be accorded to preventive medicine and primary health care.
19. Privacy.(a) Domestic and international regulations relating to transborder data flow.
(b) Guidelines in regard to access to health, financial, psychological, and other data.
(c) The creation of national privacy and data-protection authorities.
20. The evaluation of new technology.(a) A vigorous evaluation of proposed new technology from the standpoint of national suitability, rather than an adoption of sophisticated technology merely because it is the best available.
(b) Consideration of the proved experience that adopting high-technology solutions, e.g. in health and housing, may result in an incapacity to respond to needs at other levels.
(c) Careful impact assessment of new fisheries and agricultural technology to ensure against negative inpacts on existing resources.
(d) Creation of structures for impact assessment, such as technology assessment boards.
(e) Dissemination of technology-assessment information among national and international technology-assessment boards and agencies.
(f) The development of expertise in technological assessment through the creation of interdisciplinary courses at universities and elsewhere .
21. Intensive studies of appropriate technology. Factors to be considered:(a) Climatic factors.
(b) Availability of local materials.
(c) Indigenous technological tradition and skills.
(d) The need for a spread of benefits rather than choice of sophisticated technologies serving élite groups.
(e) Environmental impact.
(f) Short- and long-term impacts.
(g) Economic factors.
(h) Monitoring of waste in the use of materials and scarce resources.
22. Technology as a contribution to disaster preparedness. This would cover such fields as building and irrigation reconstruction, transport and communication, water supply and sanitation, medical care (both curative and preventive), and early-warning systems connected with earthquake and cyclone forecasting.
All of these are areas for research. Each of them offers a variety of problems. Grave threats are involved not only to human rights but to the human future. Yet they all contain within themselves some of the greatest possibilities presented to any generation to play an active role in shaping the human future. This is a time of the confluence in human history of far-reaching forces that are in apparent opposition. Two of the most powerful are the power of science and technology and the ideological power of the human rights concept. Neither of these has at any time in history enjoyed the power it now enjoys. The first can undermine if not destroy the second. In combination, they can represent a phalaux of power for human betterment such as history has never seen. Studies of the way in which they can be drawn into mutual cooperation rather than confrontation are among the most vital that can engage our attention at the present time. It is hoped that the contributions which this volume contains will be found useful in the global quest for a better life for all.