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General Comment on Science – Official version and monitoring activities

Addressing United Nations

In April 2020, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) adopted General Comment No. 25 on science and economic, social and cultural rights (article 15 (1) (b), (2), (3) and (4) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Here it is in its final version in English of the General Comment on Science

The General Comment on Science is the key legal reference of Science for Democracy activities.

Key actions undertaken by Science for Democracy during the review of the General Comment on Science

Written contribution to the Draft of the General Comment on Science (2019)

Recommendations to the General Comment on Science (April 2020)

Key actions towards CESCR on Italian law No. 40/2004

Italy is a party to the International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR). The Covenant requires States parties to periodically report on the measures adopted and the progress made in achieving the observance of the rights enshrined in the treaty. The body responsible for the review is the UN Committee CESCR.

In 2020, the International Human Rights Center of the Loyola Law School, LA, Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy, participated in the 6th review of Italy’s implementation of the ICESCR. They drafted and submitted a so-called “parallel report” on Italy to the CESCR. 

The report focuses on Law No. 40/2004 (on artificial reproductive technologies), including the ban on embryo donation (or creation) for scientific purposes. The submission outlines that “These prohibitions and limitations significantly hinder scientific research in Italy and deny the world the contribution of Italian scientists to the advancement of medicine, violating Article 12, 15.1.b, 15.2 and 15.3 of the Covenant”.

On the 10th of March 2020, Giulia Perrone participated in the “pre-sessional meeting” in order to present the report to experts in the CESCR for their consideration.

The efforts of Science for Democracy in addressing the CESCR bore fruits. In October 2022, the CESCR publish an advance unedited version of “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Italy”. In it, it addresses law No. 40/2004 as follows:

65. The Committee is concerned that some unreasonable restrictions and limitations imposed by Law No 40/2004 might effectively hinder scientific research, as such restrictions are not compatible with the right to benefit from scientific progress and the obligation of the State party to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research (art. 15).
66. The Committee recommends that the State party review Law 40/2004 in order to remove such unreasonable restrictions.

Science for Democracy will keep following the developments in the CESCR is regard to law N0.40/2004.

The Webinar on the Right to Science – Perspectives on the application of the General Comment on Science


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