Utilizing Human Remains for Science: Ethical, Legal, and Scientific Issues in Croatia, United Kingdom and the United States

Authors: Ante Lozina, Ivana Kružić, Ana Banovac, Dea Bogunović, Željana Bašić,
Irina Zakirova, James Rayner, Martin Smith

The study of human remains has a significant impact on the present society. They are utilized in research, in fields studying the human past and origins, in epidemiology, the study of anatomy and morphology, pathology and trauma, and form a part of museum exhibits. On the other hand, they are significant to various groups in cultural, religious, spiritual, and personal ways. Therefore, these factors should be considered when conducting research. Although some countries ensure legal protection of human remains, usually, such concerns usually cover remains that are younger than 100 years. The differences between countries in legal protections and also the cultural, religious, and ethical attitudes that underlie them can hinder international cooperation. The current collaborative research study sought to investigate and compare such differences between Croatian, United Kingdom’s and United States’ approach to the study of human remains encompassing the following: definitions of human remains as cultural goods, legal issues with obtaining custody over the body parts, compensations for the next of kin for the use of human remains for science, and public perceptions about obtaining body parts for scientific purposes through cultural and religious aspects in perspective with religious beliefs, education, place of origin, gender and attitudes towards science. After collecting data and determining all the above mentioned factors, our aim is to propose the policies on utilizing human remains on multilateral/international level (especially regarding human remains in museums and related institutions) through guidelines, taking into account the differences in ethnicity, religion and degree of formal education between social groups in different countries.


Journal: Beijing Law Review
DOI: 10.4236/blr.2021.121009(PDF)
Paper Id: 107844 (metadata)

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