Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Human rights


Kwonjune Seung and Stephen Linton from the non-governmental organization EugeneBell discuss the worryingly high levels of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis they have observed in North Korea’s tuberculosis sanatoria. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Concepts: Joy Division, Non-profit organization, Tuberculosis, Human rights


BACKGROUND: Malaysia has relatively liberal abortion laws in that they permit abortions for both physical and mental health cases. However, abortion remains a taboo subject. The stagnating contraceptive prevalence rate combined with the plunging fertility rate suggests that abortion might be occurring clandestinely. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of women and their needs with regard to abortion. METHODS: Women from diverse backgrounds were purposively selected from an urban family planning clinic in Penang, Malaysia based on inclusion criteria of being aged 21 and above and having experienced an induced abortion. A semi-structured interview guide consisting of open ended questions eliciting women’s experiences and needs with regard to abortion were utilized to facilitate the interviews. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically. RESULTS: Thirty-one women, with ages ranging from 21–43 years (mean 30.16 +/-6.41), who had induced surgical/medical abortions were recruited from an urban family planning clinic. Ten women reported only to have had one previous abortion while the remaining had multiple abortions ranging from 2–8 times. The findings revealed that although women had abortions, nevertheless they faced problems in seeking for abortion information and services. They also had fears about the consequences and side effects of abortion and wish to receive more information on abortion. Women with post-abortion feelings ranged from no feelings to not wanting to think about the abortion, relief, feeling of sadness and loss. Abortion decisions were primarily theirs but would seek partner/husband’s agreement. In terms of the women’s needs for abortion, or if they wished for more information on abortion, pre and post abortion counseling and post-abortion follow up. CONCLUSIONS: The existing abortion laws in Malaysia should enable the government to provide abortion services within the law. Unfortunately, the study findings show that this is generally not so, most probably due to social stigma. There is an urgent need for the government to review its responsibility in providing accessible abortion services within the scope of the law and to look into the regulatory requirements for such services in Malaysia. This study also highlighted the need for educational efforts to make women aware of their reproductive rights and also to increase their reproductive knowledge pertaining to abortion. Besides the government, public education on abortion may also be improved by efforts from abortion providers, advocacy groups and related NGOs.

Concepts: History of abortion, Paternal rights and abortion, Human rights, Fertility, Pregnancy, Family planning, Birth control, Abortion


To establish the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) and force feeding (gavage) practices among children in Mauritania; to investigate factors related to FGM and gavage practices and attitude in Mauritania; and to explore implications related to the protection of children’s rights and welfare.

Concepts: Human rights, Youth rights, Feeding tube, Force-feeding, Nutrition, Female genital cutting


Rapid advancements in human neuroscience and neurotechnology open unprecedented possibilities for accessing, collecting, sharing and manipulating information from the human brain. Such applications raise important challenges to human rights principles that need to be addressed to prevent unintended consequences. This paper assesses the implications of emerging neurotechnology applications in the context of the human rights framework and suggests that existing human rights may not be sufficient to respond to these emerging issues. After analysing the relationship between neuroscience and human rights, we identify four new rights that may become of great relevance in the coming decades: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity.

Concepts: Liberalism, Human brain, Neuroanatomy, Rights, Nervous system, Brain, Psychology, Human rights


Abortion is legally permitted in Sri Lanka, only if it is performed to save the mother’s life. However, it is estimated that a large number of induced abortions take place in Sri Lanka. Knowledge and attitudes towards induced abortion in the society are key issues influencing the policy response towards changes in the law. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and attitudes of adults towards induced abortion in Sri Lanka.

Concepts: Paternal rights and abortion, Pregnancy, History of abortion, Abortion law, Sri Lanka, Abortion, Law, Human rights


Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security laws that regulate sharing certain types of data, this Perspective explains how to work through the general intellectual property and contractual issues for all research data.

Concepts: Civil and political rights, Property, Property law, Copyright, Intellectual property, Human rights, Law


This review describes the emerging global debate on the role of human rights childbirth. It is also tailored to a UK perspective in view of the Montgomery v. Lanarkshire [2015] legal ruling and it implications to practice. We can never underestimate the power of humane care on health. The compassion and evidence based medicine agenda in healthcare is interconnected with human rights in healthcare, feeding into the principles of decision making and patient centred care. When this has not happened and there is been healthcare conflict, the power of storytelling serves to connect disparate parties to their common humanity. Narratives are an important aspect of restorative justice processes and we suggest that this could be beneficial in the field of human rights in childbirth.

Concepts: The Canon of Medicine, Systematic review, Health, Narrative, Health care, Human rights, Restorative justice, Law


Genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs), developed to secure return on investments through protection of plant varieties, are among the most controversial and opposed genetic engineering biotechnologies as they are perceived as a tool to force farmers to depend on multinational corporations' seed monopolies. In this work, the currently proposed strategies are described and compared with some of the principal techniques implemented for preventing transgene flow and/or seed saving, with a simultaneous analysis of the future perspectives of GURTs taking into account potential benefits, possible impacts on farmers and local plant genetic resources (PGR), hypothetical negative environmental issues and ethical concerns related to intellectual property that have led to the ban of this technology.

Concepts: Human rights, DNA, Investment, Dutch East India Company, Biotechnology, Multinational corporation, Genetic engineering, Corporation


The European Union’s (EU) 2011 Directive on cross-border patient mobility codifies the right of any EU citizen to travel abroad for treatment and be reimbursed on the same terms as they would be at home. Governments hoped it would end the string of court cases that had reshaped EU health law but this article argues that it is likely to produce yet more judicial challenges. Patient mobility is an attractive idea with unclear definitions and divergent implementation. In many cases, providers, insurers and governments will not communicate and leave the patient with a bill - almost daring the patient to sue, and the courts to make more policy. Governments should try to prevent this by investing in coordination and alternative redress for patients who might otherwise sue.

Concepts: Gross domestic product, United Kingdom, United States, European Parliament, Human rights, Four Freedoms, Citizenship of the European Union, European Union


Abstract Access to palliative care has been advocated as a human right by international associations, based on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It has been argued that failure to provide palliative care for patients facing severe pain could constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Yet the governments of many countries throughout the world have still not acknowledged a human right to access palliative care for all those who need it. The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), and Human Rights Watch (HRW) discussed this at the EAPC congress in 2011 and formulated the Lisbon Challenge: Governments must: (1) put in place health policies that address the needs of patients with life-limiting or terminal illnesses; (2) ensure access to essential medicines, including controlled medications, to all who need them; (3) ensure that health care workers receive adequate training on palliative care and pain management at undergraduate levels; and (4) facilitate and promote the implementation of palliative care services as part of available health services.

Concepts: Palliative care, Hospice, Suffering, Illness, Health care provider, Human rights, Medicine, Health care