DNA technology has tremendous potential to help victims of war crimes and human rights abuses throughout the world. Families torn apart by government-sponsored kidnapping can be reunited, the remains of victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing can be identified, rapists can be apprehended and brought to justice, and individuals wrongly convicted--some of whom are on death row--can be proven innocent. At the same time, DNA technology can be applied in ways that raise serious ethical and moral concerns.

In 2001, the Human Rights Center sponsored a number of activities aimed at clarifying the role DNA technology can play in the promotion and protection of human rights. During the spring and fall semesters, students attending the DNA and Human Rights Workshop helped create this website, wrote articles about the application of DNA analysis in human rights cases and, under the direction of Visiting Fellow Laurie Vollen, organized a two-day conference entitled DNA & Human Rights: An International Conference. Several papers and transcriptions of talks from the conference can be accessed by clicking onto the conference page above.


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