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Note to the reader from the UNU
The UN Commission on Human Rights invited the United Nations University in 1986 to study both the positive and negative impacts of scientific and technological development on human rights and fundamental freedoms The University responded to the invitation by launching a research project on the interrelationship between human rights and the advances in science and technology, focusing especially on the interaction between socio-cultural, economic, and political factors on the one hand and scientific and technological advances on the other. One aim of the project was to formulate policy recommendations that will strengthen the positive impacts of technological development, and an effort was made to survey the opinions and perceptions of international experts and human rights lawyers in developing countries in order that those recommendations would carry not only social scientific significance but have legal applicability as well.
The present volume deals with the technological implications for development and human tights in Asia and Latin America, the norm-setting role of the United Nations, and the responsibility of the scientific community for promoting human rights. It concludes that science and technology are forces that are now too powerful and too full of ramifications for them to be left to laissez-faire attitudes which permit them to take what direction they please. There is an urgent need to guide and channel technology so as to make it an instrument for the furtherance of human rights, particularly in the developing world.
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