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The Impact of Technology on Human Rights

C.G. Weeramantry
International Court of Justice,
The Hague, Netherlands

A Presentation Made at the United Nations University
on 14 May 1993
Tokyo, Japan

The topic that I will be dealing with today is one of great importance to the law and human rights, especially because we are moving into a technology-dominated age. We are at the closing phase of the twentieth century and, as we move into the twenty-first century, we will see technology playing an increasingly important role in every facet of the international and national lives of the people of that century. We must therefore anticipate some of the grave problems that advances in technology will pose for the disciplines of law and human rights. In fact, it already appears to lawyers who are now taking an increasing interest in this topic, that while science and technology are racing ahead, law and human rights are looking on helplessly from the sidelines because there is very little that they can do to match the speed of technology. Law moves very slowly, while technology moves with lightning rapidity. The result is that technology is racing out of legal control. In consequence, there can be grave damage to human rights as well. It is possible to look at technology in a kind of panoramic survey and see that almost every aspect of our lives is influenced by technology. Perhaps it could be compartmentalized in three great sectors.

1. The impact on the human body, because there are so many biomedical advances these days that tamper with the essentials, the fundamentals of being human;
2. The human environment;
3. The human society.
To give you some idea of the dangers that probably threaten us in these fields, I will ask you to imagine three scenarios, one set in each of these different areas. In the first scenario, try to imagine a poor man in a third world society. He has no job, no social welfare, four or five children to maintain, a wife, an aged mother, and the average income in that society is about one thousand dollars per annum, but he cannot even get that kind of job. He does not know where the family's next meal is coming from. He lives in squalor in an urban slum. One day he goes to the market and there he meets somebody who tells him, "Have you heard of that agent who arranges for organ transplants? He is there in the market place, trying to make arrangements for people to donate organs." Just out of interest, he goes and speaks with that man. The man tells him, "Well, you are a healthy person, and if you are prepared to donate a kidney for somebody who needs it desperately-it's a matter of life and death for that person-we will give you twenty-five thousand dollars. You can have three thousand dollars as a down-payment if you agree, and we will send you to one of the affluent capitals where the organ transplant will take place, and when you come back, the balance will be paid to you." The man spends a few sleepless nights thinking over this proposition. He thinks, "My children are growing up in malnutrition, I don't know what sort of permanent damage is being done to them by not having the basic nutrition they require. My aged mother doesn't have the nutrition she requires, and she may die prematurely. Am I not being selfish? The man assures me that I can live quite healthily with one kidney, and I will lead a normal life."

Our friend deliberates over the matter and finally, he decides, "Well, I should not be selfish, I will take this offer." He goes to the man, he gets his three thousand dollar down-payment and gives it to the family. This keeps them affluent for some time, for they have three years' wages in one lump sum. He donates his kidney, and comes back with twenty-two thousand dollars, but without a kidney. There are many questions of human rights involved in that one scenario alone, and, from that man's point of view, that twenty-five thousand dollars is something that he could not have saved in his entire lifetime assuming he had a job. The second scenario. Picture a robot, or a mechanical man who gobbles up everyday, 30 kilograms of raw steel. He drinks a barrel of oil a week. Steel is his staple diet, but he also has sundry accompaniments of a few kilograms of copper, aluminium, lead, tin, zinc and plastics. He breathes out noxious fumes and he produces at least 2 kilograms of garbage everyday. Professor Charles Birch, the Australian scientist, portrays that robot as an image of what each and every one of us are, especially in the developed world, because that is the amount of earth resources that each individual consumes. In consequence of this, millions of tons of garbage refuse are accumulated in the big cities. The atmosphere is polluted and earth resources are drained. That is the second scenario, which pertains to the human environment.

The third scenario relates to human society. Imagine a bright young man who has become a dictator in a small country. He knows something about modern science, he knows a lot about computers and he is determined to have a tight grip over the people of his country. So he streamlines the administration. He has first class records kept in schools and detailed scholastic records in universities. He has access to insurance companies' records of health and has a perfect medical history of everyone. Criminal records are all kept and, unlike other societies where there are laws that prevent the pooling of all this data in a single data bank, the dictator we are describing wants it all pooled and there is nobody to prevent him. He can even make this control more sophisticated because technology is now available by which everybody's movements can be monitored. He offers his people a "travel card." They present that travel card on the buses and the trains and, of course, pay for it later, but every trip is documented. There are cards that open the doors to public buildings and shops, there is a library card which records all the books that you borrow and there is even a TV monitoring system which keeps a record of the programs you watch. Now, if our dictator presses a button in his office, the full data bank or dossier of information regarding any particular person of that country will appear on the screen in an instant. Information is what such people would like to have, because information is power. If you think back on English history, William the Conqueror launched the project of the Domesday Book, which recorded every farm in England, the number of cattle on the farm, its extent and value and debts, who owned it and how many people there were on each farm. If he could have done this in 1086, imagine what he would have done if he had lived in the computer age nine centuries later. In fact, there is further material available to our dictator because technology is available today by which you can bounce off a light beam from the window pane of a house and capture and record the conversation that goes on within it. With all those devices available, imagine the life of people in that society.

I have now given you three scenarios, one relating to the human body, one relating to the human environment, and one relating to human society. Examples can, of course, be multiplied as much as we wish to, to include almost every area of scientific development. What should we do about it? I think it is clear that human rights are affected. Is there adequate protection available in our current structures of law and human rights to give some kind of protection against these invasions of basic rights?

Let us look at the history of science. The traditional belief was that the pursuit of knowledge could only be good. Science, which was the pursuit of knowledge, was the handmaiden of freedom. The more science and the more knowledge we had, the more the individual prospered and the more freedom there was in that society. This is the view that we have had following the persecution of Galileo.

In the old days, of course, there was the idea that scientific truth was not the only sort of truth. There was also the truth that came through revelation, the truth that was in the sacred books. If you visit, in Italy, a place called the Academei dei Linci (The Academy of the Linx), there is a room that you are shown where Galileo propounded a theory about the way in which solid substances descend in a liquid medium. He explained that objects of a particular shape descend at a greater rapidity than objects of another shape. The people who questioned him asked him to substantiate what he said from sacred scripture. At a certain point, Galileo grew so exasperated that he left the room and brought in a basin of water with the objects that he was talking about and said, "I don't know about sacred scripture, but this is what actually happens." This is a way of arriving at truth that was not accepted according to the thinking of that time. With the work of Galileo and thereafter, the emphasis on observation and natural science, and perhaps the work of Francis Bacon whose Novum organum was a sort of charter of scientific liberty, there was this emphasis on seeking truth through the experimental methods of science. In fact, Francis Bacon met his death trying to perform a scientific experiment. One winter day he was driving his coach and, seeing snow and ice all around him, he thought he would check the method by which a chicken could be frozen and kept preserved so that it could be used later. He got down from his coach and conducted this experiment. Through his zeal for science, he unfortunately contracted a chill and died of that chill. Such was the enthusiasm for scientific and experimental methods that it soon came to be considered to be the route to all truth.

Then we come to the point of view that whatever science does is for the benefit of humanity. That view, from that historical period onward, was the belief that gained acceptance, took root and grew. In modern times, analysts went further and said that there are three values of science, three important characteristics of science. First of all, science is value free; second, science is objective; and third, science is universalistic. All of these were excellent beliefs. So, with no impediments whatsoever, science was rushing ahead.

But there were some nagging doubts. The horrors of the concentra-tion camps made people see that science could be used for diabolical purposes. Science was not always the friend of freedom and could also be used for opposite purposes as well. Books like Huxley's Brave New World discussed and described a possible future world where people could be tailor-made to perform different tasks in society. Around the 1960s, there was a great deal of thought about this ominous idea. In these discussions about the effects of science, there were two points of view. From an optimistic point of view, for example, H. Cahn wrote a book called The Year 2000. This was a framework for speculation on the next thirty years, which was extremely optimistic. But there were others. The Club of Rome published their study Limits to Growth in 1972, which predicted a dire future for humanity if science progressed at its present rate without some kind of controls. Ann and Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb (1971) and Forester's World Dynamics (1971) painted frightening scenarios of what might happen if science were permitted an unbridled career. Bertrand Russell also sounded a note of warning which I have referred to in one of my books, to the effect that unless something rather drastic is done, under the leadership, or through the inspira-tion of some part of the scientific world, the human race will rush to its destruction in blind ignorance of the fate which scientific skill has prepared for it. So, there were doubts therefore as to the benefits of science. Science was good, but science could also be bad. What could we do about it?

In the 1980s, there was more literature on this, in particular, the Brandt Report, which showed that, while 51% of the scientific skill of the world was being used for the manufacture of armaments, only 1% of the world's scientific skill was used for solving problems of the developing world. There was also the Presidential report on the year 2000 and the OECD report called Interfutures. The matter of the destructiveness of modern science began to attract wider public recognition.

My interest in this matter came about through my interest in law. But I noticed that, while disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, history and political science were all looking into the problem, law was very slow to enter the field. There was scarcely anything written by lawyers on this subject. My interest was further stimulated when some kind person had subscribed for me to a magazine called Dialogue. I still don't know who it was, but I started receiving Dialogue for a year and there was an excellent article on the impact of science on legal protections, which stimulated me to look into this matter. I began writing in this field. In the early 1970s, I wrote a book called The Law in Crisis where I attempted to look at the various threats to the role of law from different sources, totalitarian regimes, militarism, multinational corporations, and science. It took me a long time to find a publisher, because publishers thought that this was going too far, which was the thinking at that time. Then I pursued this further in another book called The Threatened Peripheries, where I dealt with psychosurgery and torture techniques. There was a great spread of brain operations, where people were trying to control the workings of the human mind by surgery. Regard-ing torture techniques, there are, in fact, firms which specialize in manufacturing instruments for torture, which is something they advertise in glossy catalogues which they send around the world. Other dangers can be seen in media power, with the powers of mass circulation of the modern press, computers, data banks and DNA experimentation. The idea that science might perhaps have these hidden dangers concealed within itself was becoming more and more accepted.

At the university where I was teaching in the 1970s, I took this message from the Law Faculty to faculties such as Medicine, Science and Engineering, and I spoke to those faculties about the dangers that science might cause. I had a rather hostile reaction from some scientists because their point of view was that they knew the disciplines they were in charge of best, because, after all, they were human beings with a conscience like anybody else. Lawyers had their own discipline to look after and it was better for them to confine themselves to their discipline and not trespass on other people's preserves. That was the sort of reaction I had in the early 1970s. But by the time we reached the late 1970s and early 1980s, this had changed dramatically and they were beginning to accept that the work they were doing had these moral and legal overtones and dangers. In fact, the university itself set up a committee within the medical faculty-a medical ethics committee-which contained not only doctors, but also lawyers, theologians, members of the public, sociologists, etc. to advise the medical profession and the medical faculty on medical experimentation and medical work that might have a bearing on human rights. Later, I pursued this a bit further, and wrote a book called The Slumbering Sentinels which was published by Penguin. On the cover is a picture of a caricature of a sleeping judge. The idea is that the law is sleeping while technology is racing ahead.

The "Slumbering Sentinels" are law and human rights' defenders who are still in a state of deep slumber when they should be awake and protecting citizens against these dangers, and there I dealt with the three segments that I mentioned at the commencement-the danger to human society, the danger to the human body, and the danger to the human environment.

I also pursued this idea into the field of weapons science. I looked at nuclear weapons and looked at the weapons scientist's responsibility from the international law point of view, that had not been done thus far. To what extent is a scientist who makes a nuclear weapon doing something which may be contrary to the principles of inter-national law as well as to human rights? If nuclear weapons offend some of the cardinal rules that were laid down in the Nuremberg Trials, what would be the position of a scientist at international law if he knowingly made a nuclear weapon? Of course, there are scientists who contribute to the making of a nuclear weapon because they make some little part, and they do not know the overall purpose for which their research is intended. But if they do know that they are making such a weapon, ethical questions do arise. Ethical obligations arise in regard to engineers, not merely in the field of weaponry. Some years ago, I had the privilege of speaking to various groups of American engineers in the Lehigh Valley in America which is a very heavily industrialized area. We had discussions on the ethics of engineering. An engineer, like a doctor, can pursue his science regardless of its objectives, or he can have regard to the objectives of his science. The same rules of engineering that construct a beautiful building like this can construct a torture chamber. An engineer may be asked to construct a building but he must ask, "For what purpose is this building intended?" If it is for a torture chamber, then questions arise of his use of his specialized knowledge for a purpose which offends his basic moral obligations. When I spoke to the engineers in America, I found a very responsive audience at that time. I found that there were professors of law in America who were already addressing this question and, in fact, looking at the ethical codes of the engineering profession, which were then in a rather rudimentary state.

This is another matter of great importance and perhaps a subject of research for the United Nations University. Doctors have the Hippocratic oath which mentions their moral obligations, but it is also a very rudimentary oath. Basically, it states that the obligations of a doctor are to use his talent for healing, and not for any self-interested purposes. But medical science has grown so complicated and refined now that you need a much more elaborate code than that, but the Hippocratic oath is the only oath binding exponents of medical science to a moral code. While the doctors have even this simple code, the engineers, the nuclear scientists, and the computer scientists do not have any obligatory ethical code. However, the idea of an ethical code is gaining ground among certain societies of scientists. A great deal of research has yet to be done on refining these codes and building up a climate of opinion among scientists to the effect that there is a certain moral objective they should have in mind when they do their work. By way of contrast, accountants, for example, have an ethical code and, if accountants have an ethical code, why not scientists? So when the United Nations University offered me the opportunity of editing these two volumes*, I looked upon it as a piece of good fortune to be able to pursue this interest further. I must congratulate the University on their vision in putting this project into operation. Now that this project has resulted in two volumes, I think the University has assumed a leadership position in the world with regard to this field which I hope it will put to good use and perhaps continue with connected research projects. I have given you something about the philosophical background, along with my personal background in relation to this, and I will also give you, very briefly, the parallel developments in the United Nations.

In the United Nations in 1966, there was a resolution on freedom of scientific research. Article 153 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obliged the parties to the Covenant to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity. In other words, scientific research was given a very firm foundation in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The next move was the General Assembly Declaration of 10 November 1975. By the 1970s you will note that this idea that science could become a source of danger was gaining ground and the General Assembly, by resolution 3384 of 10 November 1975, noted with concern that scientific and technological achievements can be used to intensify the arms race, suppress national liberation movements and deprive individuals and peoples of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. They also noted with concern that scientific and tech-nological achievements can entail dangers for the civil and political rights of the individual, the group and for human dignity. In addition, they noted the urgent need to make full use of scientific and technological developments for the welfare of man, and to neutralize the present and possible future harmful consequences of certain scientific and technological achievements. So all states were called upon to cooperate in strengthening the capacity of science and technology to further human rights. In other words, there was a realization by the United Nations in the mid-1970s that there were indeed two sides to the coin. The last resolution I shall refer to is the 1986 resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Resolution 9 of 1986 on the use of science and technological developments for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the resolution that invited the UNU in cooperation with other academic and research institutions to study both the positive and negative impacts of science and technology on human rights. It was that resolution which made the UNU decide to undertake this study and which has led to these two books. That is the background to the general problem and the way in which thought was developing over the last two decades in this very vital field.

Now I would like to make a few very general observations about science. Suppose you look at any kind of invention, any kind of invention gives power to the scientist over natural phenomena. The radio gives the power to influence opinion, a giant irrigation scheme gives control over vast agricultural areas, the steam engine gives power over communication between different parts of a country, nuclear science contributes to military and industrial power. All of these give power over others in different ways. Science opens up new power to the scientist and to humanity, but, just as it creates power and strengthens humanity in one sense, it also gives power over people. Every one of these inventions gives power over people, and whoever controls that technology, has additional power over people. If that power is used in a manner which runs contrary to our basic moral sentiments, that becomes power abused. Very often the scientist who is pursuing some research feels that he is absolved from liability because, after all, what he is doing is pursuing pure truth. It may be that someone else may misuse that knowledge and, if so, the blame lies on that someone else and not upon the scientist. That is an argument that you'll find the scientist advancing which of course has its weaknesses. It does not really account for the responsibility of the scientist to inquire about what he is doing and for what purpose. So the first observation of a general nature is that all science gives power over natural phenomena, but, at the same time, it gives power over people. The second observation is that there are two great movements in the world today. The human rights movement is pushing forward individual freedom as no legal movement has ever done in the history of mankind. It is one of the greatest movements we have ever had of a universal nature to push forward the rights of the individual. On the other hand, we have science and technology which is pushing forward the powers of control over the individual. Thus these two forces are pushing in different directions, and, when they clash, we find that invariably it is science and technology that has the upper hand because human rights does not have the power, even through law, to control it. There is thus a clash between two movements, each of which has never had its parallel in all human history, each of which has never been matched in power in all human history. With these two movements clashing with each other, there has never been so much power for good and never so much potential for harm.

Thus the scientific enterprise constitutes a very great power which lawyers must take into account. Moreover, the scientific enterprise, after some time, develops a momentum of its own. It is not pure science operating in a neutral way with some researcher trying to discover some new rule of nature, but there is an establishment that grows up around that piece of research. That establishment is very powerful. It is an establishment comprising not only the scientists concerned, but, behind that, there may be an industrial establish-ment, a military establishment, or there may be the state itself. This becomes a sort of embodiment of power which has a life and vitality of its own and this pushes forward, irrespective of the individuals who are in it. It becomes a movement. The great pieces of research that have been done in recent times, especially in the field of weapons research, have a momentum of their own, and it is very difficult to resist the phalanx of power which that movement represents.

Another aspect is that there is a widely-shared feeling that science, being the pursuit of truth, follows an inexorable course of its own. According to this view, science takes its own direction, and there is very little that we can do to stop it because, after all, it is the pursuit of truth and this cannot be halted. There is therefore a feeling of resignation to the power of science and to the direction which it takes. In the literature on the subject, this is sometimes described as the deterministic theory, or the deterministic view. But we have got to shake ourselves free of that because modern science has grown so complex that choices have to be made constantly between numerous alternative areas of research. There aren't enough resources in the world to handle all the research projects that are possible. Two or three hundred years ago, only a few directions of scientific research were contemplated. Today the number of directions of scientific research has proliferated. So a conscious decision has to be taken at some point in time between alternative pieces of research. Which is the one that we choose? Which is the one to which we commit public funds? Which is the one to which we commit corporate funds? The result is that the deterministic theory is outmoded. There is room, and indeed a need, for determinism of our own.

We have the ability, if we only give our minds to it, to contribute something to the direction of scientific progress. This is a power many people do not realize they have. This is especially so in the developing world, where the need to direct it is even greater than in the developed world. It is very important that there should be a greater realization that this deterministic approach is no longer a valid approach. We have the power of determination and, to exercise that power of determination, we must exercise our right of participation.

The first book of the series dealt with the theoretical aspect of the impact of technology on human rights. Some essays in that book dealt with this problem at greater length. We must work out a system by which members of the public become participants in the scientific endeavour, become participants in saying, "Well, of all these lines of research, our country needs this the most, and of all these lines of research, this will be the most friendly to the human future." This would require more education, and the spreading of basic scientific knowledge.

There is also the fact that when a scientist is engaged in his work-I mean this with no disrespect to scientists-he tends to be caught up in the intellectual thrill of the chase. He is pursuing his research from one step to another and then he is thrilled to find a further fresh step which nobody has discovered before. The thrill of the chase is heightened because he is engrossed in the particular scientific field that he is examining. But, while the scientist's vision may sometimes be bounded within the confines of his intellectual search, the world outside can see it in a wider perspective and they can see that particular piece of endeavour in its overall context. So there is room for a scientist to be reminded by the outside world that there are certain ethical considerations involved in what he is doing which may perhaps have escaped his attention. That is why, in the universities, you will now find a fairly well-accepted view of the importance of multi-disciplinary ethics committees. In major hospitals, there are ethics committees which determine such fundamental matters as whether a life-support system is to be withdrawn, or whether a particular kind of research involving experimentation on human subjects should be permitted. These kinds of matters cannot be decided by doctors alone. They need the input of other disciplines as well. Hence, feeding ethics into the scientific enterprise is very important.

In theory, all scientific knowledge is open but, in practice, scientific knowledge is often confined-confined by the interests of the establishment that finances the research, whether corporate or governmental. A corporate establishment may be researching some aspect leading to a new product that will take it ahead of its rivals. But, that is kept under wraps because, although it is science, and science belongs to everybody, that particular piece of science is kept guarded because it is in the corporate interest to keep it guarded. It is even more so in the military establishment. When the military establishment indulges in research, it often becomes classified information, and classified information is in files for only a very privileged few to look at, while the rest of the world is kept completely in the dark as to what sort of research is going on.

In regard to the scientists, the picture that is emerging now of the scientist is not of the pure research worker engaged in the pursuit of truth in his laboratory, but as a man of power in society. He has become a decision-maker. He is very close to governments, he is very close to corporate might, he is very close to the military estab-lishment, and they depend on him, because they do not have the expertise. Especially after World War II, in almost every major industrial country, leading scientists were very close to the heads of states and advised them about various scientific projects. Those scientists then became decision-makers, wielding enormous power in their own right. Heads of states would listen to them. The whole bureaucracy and the entire general public would not have comparable influence in those specialized areas, for the scientist could go direct to the head of state and advise him on what should be done. So the scientist became a power wielder and, if you read the books on the sociology of science, you will see what powerful figures the scientists were in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Because World War II had proved the power of science through the nuclear bomb and various other technologies that were used in the war, science was no longer a purely academic discipline, but an area vital to national welfare. Therefore, scientists acquired a very high position in the corridors of power.

While science is thus progressing in its technical ability, its physical power and its political influence, the law, which should be the sentinel or the watchdog protecting the rights of the public, is often outstripped and unprepared to meet this new responsibility. Its concepts are inadequate and its procedures outmoded. For example, we have trespass law that goes back many centuries into the past-a past in which I could not trespass on your privacy unless I set foot on your territory. The old English law relating to trespass protected the privacy of each person by protecting his territory from trespass. So they said, "You dare not, without the permission of the owner of the land, set foot on his land because you are committing an invasion of his privacy." But, today, I don't need to set foot on his land. From far away, from three miles away, I can hear the conversations that are going on in his room by bouncing sound waves off his window pane. I can tap his telephone. I can even scan the documents that are lying on the desk and, in this way, I can breach privacy. But the law was unequal to these new developments because it was geared to ancient notions of privacy.

The law has a long way to go to catch up with these new develop-ments. [When the law became aware of its inadequacies,...] For example, the English common law had no notion of privacy apart from this notion of physical trespass based upon considerations of property and the concept that every man's home is his castle. It had to evolve a legal concept of privacy adequate to deal with such new scientific phenomena. Existing legal concepts were so far behind the times that they needed to be drastically revamped. Again, the collection of data about an individual can be an infringement of privacy. The common law's inadequacies highlighted the need for codes of privacy and for regulations that prevent the pooling of data.

New computer technologies and data banks raise a whole host of problems which traditional legal principles are unable to address. For example, a person or regime which desires to consolidate its power over individuals would want to pool all available data together in a central data bank. At the international level another problem that arises is the problem of transborder data flow. A corporation that employs 300,000 people in country X has its head office in country Y, and would have the data of these 300,000 people in its corporate headquarters in country X-the health records of its employees, their insurance records, their family records, their credit records, their academic records. They've got it all. All they need to do is transfer that data to their corporate headquarters in country Y and then they have escaped from the privacy laws and from the legal system of country X. So transborder data flow is a very serious threat to privacy. The Council of Europe has worked out some very advanced regulations on this but there is still a great deal of work to be done on this problem. This is just one example of the problems that modern science is posing to law.

Now defenders of any particular legal system will turn perhaps and say, "The legal system is not static and has traditionally adapted itself to changing times. So why cannot it do so now?" It is true that legal systems are adaptable to changing circumstances but there are a number of inherent weaknesses that must be pointed out in this regard. There are basically two forms of law-judge-made law and law that is made by parliament or the legislature. Judge-made law has some weaknesses which make it rather inadequate to the age of science. First of all, a judge gives his ruling only after the event. An event occurs, the damage follows, the matter therefore comes to court and the judge then tries to work out responsibility. But he is not a planning agency, to plan for the future. He looks at the event only after it has taken place. It is then too late at any rate so far as concerns the parties, to lay down the rule by which they should have governed their conduct. Secondly, he only decides the matter that is before him, and he cannot make a general policy. Judicial law-making is therefore done in bits and pieces. The judge does not make his law out of whole cloth as they say, but adds just a thread here and a thread there which he weaves into the legal system. The judicial approach lacks the ability to give its overall attention to a given problem. Thirdly, most judge-made law results from the adversarial procedure. That is, there are two parties, each putting forward a point of view before the judge, while the judge sits like a dignified sort of umpire, and says which of the two parties should win. Science is not interested in what is the truth. The judge's primary concern is to give judgment to the party that has satisfied him more than the other party. The pursuit of truth is not the object of the judicial function except within that limited purpose. There are various rules of evidence which shut out a document because it is a copy of a document, or it is hearsay, or other rules that shut out evidence which may be perfectly valid from a scientist's point of view. The result is an award which is, of course, an unimpeachable award, as an umpire deciding between two players, who wins the game according to the rules of the game. That is a totally different undertaking from the pursuit of scientific truth. Furthermore, judges are rather reluctant to innovate because they feel they have no mandate from the people in the same way that parliament has. So the judge tends to be extremely conservative. He will think very hard before venturing out into new ground.

There is also the lack of scientific training of the judiciary. This may not matter in many cases but it does when we deal with matters of highly sophisticated science. If you take, for example, intricate scientific evidence that has to be placed before a court, it may be that it may take the judge out of his depth when he is called upon to evaluate intricate scientific data. There was a very interesting case in Australia, which achieved worldwide publicity-the Chamberlain case, where a lady was charged with having killed her infant child. There was no evidence apart from the prosecution's theory, which was that, for some reason unknown, the lady had taken the child into a van which she owned and had killed the child there. There was a blood stain on the dashboard of that vehicle. The lady's explanation of that blood stain was that, one day when she was driving along, she saw a person lying injured on the road after an accident and had taken that person into the van, and blood had spurted out from that person's injury, and that was the blood on the dashboard. The matter had to be determined by scraping off the blood from the dashboard and analysing the blood as to whether it was infant blood or adult blood, because that would perhaps deter-mine this issue. This meant going into a very sophisticated scientific analysis, in what is known as immunology, which lies at the very frontiers of medical science research.

I had the opportunity of speaking with a professor at my university, who gave evidence in the case. He informed me that the principles of immunology involved in this were so complex that, if he had a class of medical students, he would have to expound these principles to them for days, even though the medical students had a scientific background. This professor had to get into the witness box and, in the tropical heat of Darwin, in northern Australia, he had to explain this to the jury who were, of course, laymen and he had to do this within two or three hours. They may not have understood the intri-cacies of what he said, but they had to give a verdict and the verdict depended on their appreciation of that scientific evidence. In a case such as this, the matter involved such abstruse science that the legal apparatus, as we have it, was inadequate to meet the problems that the scientific evidence posed.

You may then ask me, "Well, if the judges cannot do it, why cannot parliament do it? Parliament has more time and parliament has more resources." But parliament does not have time. Parliament, in most countries, has a crowded roll of legislative business, and it is only certain selected items that can be the subject of full debate. Secondly, the parliamentarians, like the judges, are not scientific experts. They will be advised by scientists, provided the scientists can reach them. Thirdly, where there is some new science that somebody wants to push, there will be an interest group that may want to push it, and that interest group has great power by lobbying and other ways over members of parliament. Furthermore, when there is some project, or some piece of legislation involving much use of technology, there should be a technology assessment review undertaken of the impact of that legislation before it goes to parliament, but that is rarely done. So, all of this prevents our legislative mechanisms from being any more effective than our judicial mechanisms.

Now, what can we do about this? I have discussed the question of secrecy in science, in some of the chapters in these books. You will find that they discuss industrial science, the tight and rigid incorporation of that information into the establishment secrets, the isolation of that science from the general public and the fact that corporate science is targeted towards corporate profit. After all, why does a corporation indulge in scientific research? It indulges in scientific research to make a new or better product in order to increase its profitability. Thus, it is driven by the desire to make profit, not the desire to better the condition of the people. Of course, the corporation would probably say, and rightly say, that what they are inventing is for the general good, but the driving force is profit, not human welfare, and where the two interests clash, the profit motive would generally prevail. If, again, you take defence science, you will find even greater secrecy, and you will find the driving force is again not human welfare, but military strategy. Indeed, in defence science, very often scientists are kept under an oath of secrecy that they will not talk about what they are doing. That is why what is truly knowledge, which truly belongs to all humanity, becomes information which is classified and made available only to a select few.

One of the human rights that we may need to discuss, subject of course to common sense requirements of safety and security, is the question of the openness of scientific knowledge. The openness of scientific knowledge is something that has come to us from shortly after the time of Galileo, and it is a principle so important that every effort must be made to preserve it. The UN Declaration on the Right to Development is something which we have to look at in this context, and it is examined in the first of these two volumes. It is useless talking about various human rights that people enjoy unless they have the practical ability to enjoy them. If the right to development is neglected, all these discussions can become purely academic. There is no point talking to a starving man about his human rights. The Buddha once taught that before preaching the doctrine to a person, one should first see that he has a square meal because it is useless expounding the doctrine to a starving man. Likewise, it is useless preaching to a person about human rights who does not know where his next meal is coming from, or whose children are dying of starvation. Basic needs would be supplied if the right to development is well looked after and that is why it is said that the right to development is essential to the enjoyment of all the other human rights that we talk about. It is one of those most basic of human rights. So, we have to look then at human rights, at technology and science in the light of the right to development.

The developing world, which desperately needs development, almost invariably is the passive receiver of technology, and not the active originator of the technology that it uses. How does that technology come into the developing world? It comes sometimes by the country's own decision, sometimes through the pressure of external factors, and sometimes through a combination of the internal decision and the external pressure. What are these external pressures? There may be some technology that is tied to an aid package. Some country gives an aid package to a needy country and there is a technology wrapped into that package which the recipient country must receive as part of that package if it wants that aid. The technology may be introduced in that country by a multinational corporation which is so influential and generates so many jobs that those who are in political charge of that state cannot resist it. They have to agree because, if they do not, there will be so many thousands of jobs lost. There may be a prescription given to that country that it should adopt an open-door economic policy. Once it adopts an open-door economic policy, it is also an open-door technological policy. Or, it may be told by its most powerful trading partner, "Well, there is this technology which we consider important to you, and it is a precondition for doing business with you that this technology should be accepted." There are many ways in which technology comes into a developing country, other than through its own volition. One of the themes of some of the articles in these books is that efforts should be made to examine ways in which developing countries can assume a greater role in determining the technology that they will receive. One of the methods that I referred to earlier is to stimulate people in that country to a greater awareness of the ways in which technology affects them, because, after all, technology has got to have an input from the people themselves, and, once it is achieved, it must be enjoyed by all. But many of these technologies are enjoyed by only a select few in the developing world. They are not spread around for the benefit of everyone. Therefore, there is a great importance attached to more participation in determining what technology will be accepted.

Then we come to the question of suitable technology. What is the technology that is appropriate for that country? There is much discussion in these volumes on what is appropriate technology, what are the yardsticks of appropriateness, and in what way third world countries can make themselves more equipped to determine what kind of technology they will receive. There is probably also some work to be done on the social responsibilities of scientists because, as the Brandt report pointed out, 51% of scientific manpower in the world is spent on weapons of destruction, and only 1% on the needs of the developing world. Also, perhaps we should look at the objects of the introduction of the technology. The object should not be development per se. Development is not an object in itself. Devel-opment is only a means to an end. The end is a better life for all. It is a qualitative end, improving the quality of life for the people of that country, and not merely development for the sake of develop-ment. So, we have to determine to what extent the technology in question promotes actual improvement of the quality of life in that country. As Johan Galting has said, "Modern technology inherently creates inequality for this reason. It is capital intensive, it is research intensive." All of these require vast resources. They create a group of those who are in control, a group of the powerful, and it leaves out those who do not have the assets to participate in this intensive procedure. So it creates a centre for those who have power and a periphery of those who will enjoy or not enjoy whatever the centre gives to them. Therefore, it becomes a powerful economic force as well as a powerful political force.

I would like to give you, very briefly, the plan of the research in these two volumes. In the first volume, we have looked at the theoretical aspects which I have been speaking about, from the standpoint of legal philosophy, ethics, history, sociology, and economics. So there are a series of theoretical studies in the first volume. The second volume, which is being launched today, goes into the practical studies consequent on that preliminary theoretical exploration. We have chosen five countries from five different continents-Thailand from Asia, Venezuela from Latin America, Poland from Eastern Europe, Holland from Western Europe, and Ethiopia from Africa-and conducted case studies in each of those countries on the practical impact on those countries of a given technology. The results are most interesting. Some of these studies are not written merely by an individual, but by teams of researchers. There is much research that has been conducted and many practical hints, especially for developing countries in relation to the mistakes that have been made in the past, which will be of great practical value. We have also examined, in these different countries, five different technologies. As far as Thailand is concerned, we examined agricultural technology; in Ethiopia, we examined the effect of weapons technology on the social and political life of that country; in Holland, we looked at the impact of modern medical technology; and in Poland, we examined the impact on human rights of modern industrial technology in the form of a steel mill. This will give you some idea of the magnitude of the problem involved because we have taken only one country from each continent and, in that one country, we have only looked at one kind of technology. So you can imagine the number of projects that are still waiting to be researched on the impact of so many other technologies that have been intro-duced into those and other countries. Many lifetimes would not be enough to go through all the research projects that are involved in this process.

The Venezuelan study emphasizes the fact that the march of science ought not to be inexorable and that there should be a principle of choice. It discusses a very special situation that arose in Venezuela as a result of the oil economy. Venezuela, at a certain stage, was extremely prosperous. It had a surplus budget because of the oil that was discovered there. In the expectation of continuing oil revenues, a large number of new technologies of a very sophisticated and expensive nature were introduced and, once launched, depended on a continuing flow of that revenue for their continuation. Un-fortunately, when oil revenues went down, the country found that it had all these highly sophisticated technologies in place, but did not have the wherewithal to keep them going. This raised a number of ecological problems, medical problems, etc., which are to some extent reviewed here. In that context, the point is made that many developing countries, under the pressure of having to prove them-selves, sometimes decide to launch a showpiece technology or project such as a huge engineering dam or some high-powered scheme, or maybe even a nuclear reactor which they feel will give them prestige in the eyes of the world. All goes well initially but, after some time, various problems surface, including ecological problems and problems of altered lifestyles and cultural patterns which create enormous problems for the future. It is said in the chapter that, at one stage, Mexico planned for 20 nuclear reactors and Brazil planned for 8 nuclear reactors. There were mega-development plans in the Amazon basin. All of this has been pruned in the light of later experience, but there is a very strong warning note in that chapter in relation to showpiece technologies or technologies of a high profile nature.

The Thai study deals with the ancient agricultural technology of Thailand which has been there for seven to nine thousand years. It deals at length with the question of appropriate technology. The international transfer of technology is a matter of great importance to Thailand, as to all countries. Technology transfer is a very difficult operation to work out because, when technology is transferred from one country to another, all kinds of questions arise with regard to the right to that technology. What profits may be made from that technology? Should there be a code of conduct for the international transfer of technology? There are ways in which a country can internally gear its legal system to handle these new technologies, for example, by revamping its patent laws, creating legal incentives, or sponsoring indigenous research. There can be tax benefits for inventors and the profits from their inventions, a reduction on tariffs for machinery that is brought in for industrial development, incentives for energy-saving devices such as solar heating; sliding scales on import duty for foreign components of machines locally assembled so as to stimulate the production of components locally. There are many constructive ideas that emerge from indigenous sources in various developing countries which are often not proceeded with, for lack of encouragement and incentives. In addition, the Thai study is very important because it gives thirty-two indicators that have been worked out by the government of Thailand on the basic minimum needs to improve the quality of life, so that all technologies must be matched against those indicators. The result is that some of those indicators show that the introduction of foreign technology sometimes produces a negative effect. For example, pesticide technology produces much trouble for the Thai farmer. There are many detailed studies on what the farmer can do in stimulating research on rice cultivars, on new strains of rice useful for that country, on fertilizers, on pesticides, and on farm machinery, and what financial aids can be set in place.

The Polish study gives a very interesting case history of a great new project that was launched, known as the "Nova Hota Steel Project." This project was launched in April and was conceived just prior to 1950. Construction work began in the early 1950s and the scheme went into operation in 1954. It was a huge manufacturing combine, which was to produce 5.5 million tons of steel per year. It generated 30,000 jobs by direct employment, and many tens of thousands of jobs more by indirect employment. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the project, to service the people who were working in that factory, there were 50 nursery schools, 40 primary schools, 785 shops, 74 bars and restaurants. All that sprang up from the Nova Hota project, and it looked as if it was the very answer to the problems of a country that needed development. After some time, it was found that the effluent from the factory was polluting the Wista river at the rate of 3 cubic metres per second. There were 200 million cubic metres of sewage per year; fifty thousand tons of particulate matter were emitted into the atmosphere every year; and four million tons of solid waste. The factory and the town covered some of the most fertile land, which had been orchards and beautiful vegetable-producing areas, and the historic buildings of Krakow were deteriorating at an accelerating rate because of all this pollution. So, there were new problems. On the one hand, it seemed a magnificent project, a magnificent achievement, but, on the other hand, after a few years, it began to show the other side of the coin. After about fifteen or twenty years of operation, the machinery became outmoded. Competitors in other parts of the world had raced ahead, and there wasn't the wherewithal in Poland to modernize the machinery. The result was that it was seriously contemplated as to whether the entire venture should be scrapped. To scrap the venture was something that the economy of Poland could not stand. This is an excellent case study of a particular project, which may be of value to other planners.

The African study deals with the entry of firearms into Africa, Ethiopia in particular, and how the whole social structure of Ethiopian society was shaken by the entry of firearms. It discusses thereafter the instability in the country, how feudal leaders began to acquire firearms while the central state authority declined, how at some time it became almost a status symbol where every male's aspiration was to own a rifle, and every father would buy a rifle for his baby even before clothing. Ultimately, there were many disturbances of social patterns, disturbances of peace and stability, and cottage industries were killed along with traditional skills. At a certain time, of course, traditional skills were adapted to make firearms because they were making the bullets and the gunpowder in Ethiopia. But, as modern technology became more and more sophisticated, the Ethiopian product could not hold its own, and that industry too died out.

The Dutch study deals with the impact of the advancement of medical technology and raises various questions such as the right to life, the right to equality, the right to health care, the right to privacy, the right to found a family, etc. All these are affected by artificial methods of procreation, in vitro fertilization, egg donation, artificial insemination, etc., and the Dutch study discusses the human rights aspects of all these. The screening of people for genetic defects, the screening of people for other defects that might be transmittable, the question of compulsory medical examinations, whether by the state or the employer, the question of informed consent where there is to be medical treatment-all of these issues are dealt with at a very sophisticated level in the Dutch study.

So that gives you some idea of what is contained in the second volume. To conclude, I would say that there are many problems that arise from these studies. Problems of environmental concerns are an important issue because the Third World, especially, when it launches new industry, does not have the capital resources to equip that new industry with the environmental protections that are required nowadays. In the richer part of the world, in the developed world, there is the wherewithal to supply the environmental protections required by the product that is being launched. Where one is trying to introduce from scratch a new product, one has to have the envi-ronmental safeguards built in. This adds to the cost of the product and makes it less competitive which is a practical problem that must be addressed. Environmental protections are vitally important. Development is also vitally important. The problem posed must be seriously addressed. Other problems relate to the need for funds to stimulate research projects, the role of international monetary agencies which stipulate certain technologies, and the role and codes of conduct of the multinational corporations. Among other problems are the technologies introduced by multinational agri-business, the stimulation of false demands, the dumping of shoddy goods. To what extent can these be controlled?

Then, there is the question of urbanization which results from industrialization. We have a vicious circle, with the poor living in squalor in the cities. Governments, with the best of intentions, introduce industrialization to improve the lot of the poor. Some people are immediately benefitted, but people in the villages, seeing that the townsfolk are prospering, drift into the town again and, just as one group of the townsfolk have some employment, there is twice or thrice that number coming, who add to the problem of the urban poor. So, it is a vicious circle. The more you industrialize, the more you attract population, and the more you attract, the more you need to industrialize, and the more you industrialize, the more you attract. Another vicious circle is when we speak of the right to health and well-being, the fundamental right to the wherewithal to maintain body and soul together and to maintain a decent standard of living. This necessitates industrialization. Industrialization leads to pollu-tion, as in certain towns of Brazil where the pollution is so bad that people suffer permanent health damage for every day that they work or stay in the industrialized centre.

One other aspect that needs to be looked at is the armaments industry. Fortunately, it seems to be winding down in the world, but there was a time that it was estimated as consuming three trillion dollars a year. Three trillion dollars a year in a world of shortage and scarcity. When we did not have the wherewithal to feed the poor of the world, we were spending three trillion dollars on armaments. It could not be said that the earth does not have resources to feed the people. It is merely that its resources are sent in the wrong direction. What can be done about that? Elsewhere, I have argued at some length the thesis that the armaments industry constitutes a blind spot in human rights and international law. The small drug smuggler who brings drugs into a city is promptly arrested, taken and charged and sent to jail, maybe for life. The arms manufacturer, on the other hand, holds arms fairs with all the publicity of the marketplace, and the rich and powerful from all over the world come there as honoured guests. He is an honoured person who sells weapons of death in that place, with the full backing and approval of the law. There must be something wrong with the law and human rights if the one activity is forbidden, and the other is openly permitted. There is a blind spot somewhere which we have to try to locate. Of course, arms are essential for certain purposes. They are necessary for defence and there are limited purposes for which arms are wanted. But there is a blind spot somewhere in the human rights and international law structure when it comes to armaments.

Another area that needs to be considered is disaster relief technology. The world has been hit by cyclones in Bangladesh, famine in Africa, earthquakes in Georgia, volcanic eruptions in the Middle East, and so forth. There are all sorts of things that need some kind of disaster relief technology of an urgent nature that can swing into action fast, on the basis of proved scientific research, without waiting for the catastrophic event to generate the means of giving the relief that might be demanded.

We find, as a result of these studies, that there are numerous areas that can be looked at. Perhaps, Mr. Rector, it may be that the UNU, with the high prestige it commands as a centre of excellence for studies of a worldwide nature in the furtherance of peace-which is, after all the prime object of the Charter of the United Nations-might be able to take up some of these issues by gathering together scientists, lawyers, theologians, philosophers, social workers and others, to give their combined wisdom to the evolution of guidelines that may be universally useful. If we do not attend to the problem, science and technology, unbridled and at large, can cause great damage to the human future. As I said, we are faced with the most powerful ideological force in legal history, on the one hand, and the most powerful, practical force in scientific history on the other. If the two can be harnessed to move in tandem for the betterment of humanity, we might have a wonderful future for the human race.

* Human Rights and Scientific and Technological Development (UNU Press, 1990), The Impact of Technology on Human Rights: Global Case-studies (United Nations University Press, 1993).

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