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The present volume constitutes a first response by an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural group of experts under United Nations University auspices to the invitation by the UN Commission on Rights to study both the positive and negative impacts of scientific and technological development on human rights and fundamental freedoms. The interrelationship between scientific and technological advances and human rights has attracted in recent years the increasing attention of academics, policy-makers, and the general public. Studies have also been conducted by the United Nations system on the subject, including the publication Human Rights and Scientific and Technological Development (UN, 1982). As this publication makes clear, there still exist important lacunae in the understanding of the complex and intricate interface between scientific and technological progress and human rights, not to speak of the practical application of such progress and knowledge to enhance human rights. This book, it is hoped, will make a contribution in this respect.

We are grateful to all the contributors to this volume, and particularly to Professor Christopher G. Weeramantry, who kindly agreed to co-ordinate the research work and edit this book. We were greatly saddened by the passing away of Dr Yo Kubota, who not only played a key role in the project from the UN Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, but was also a conscientious scholar and activist for the course of human rights. He was killed in an accident while working as a member of the UN Transition Assistance Group in Namibia in June 1989.

We wish to express our appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan for its encouragement and financial support for this research project. The research and this publication have been made possible by its generous grant.

Roland Fuchs
The United Nations University

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