Original Research

Benefit-sharing as a global bioethical principle: A participating dialogue grounded on a Protestant perspective on fellowship

Adriaan L. Rheeder
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 1 | a2502 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i1.2502 | © 2019 Adriaan L. Rheeder | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 June 2019 | Published: 28 October 2019

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Adriaan L. Rheeder, The Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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It has become evident from a practical, legal and theological perspectives that there are strong reasons that the principles underlying article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights (UDBHR) have to be grounded in the Bible. It is clear that the UDBHR states benefit-sharing in article 15 as a global obligation. A narrower understanding of obligation means that people participating in research has the right to share in the benefits. A broader understanding of article 15 states that it is also an obligation to share abundance in the health environment with the needy outside the context of direct research. It can be said that article 15 is based on the universal principles of equality, justice, solidarity and social responsibility. The theological argumentation indicated that it is acceptable to ground both the narrower and the broader interpretation of article 15 in the biblical concept of koinōnia [fellowship]. Koinōnia can be connected with trade justice or justice-in-exchange and research, as well as the duty to share the existing abundance in the health environment with the needy. Koinōnia, as an appeal to share, gives expression to equality, righteousness, solidarity and social responsibility. Article 15 of the UDBHR can be wholeheartedly supported and promoted by the Protestant faith community.


Koinonia; Fellowship; Benefit-Sharing; Global Bioethics; Human Rights; Scientific Research.


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