Forensic Use of DNA Information in the Justice Delivery System of Bangladesh: Human Rights and Privacy Challenges


The advancement of DNA technology has contributed significantly to various fields. Forensic use of DNA information has great potential to assist in the delivery of justice. At the same time human rights and privacy violations that exist in relation to its usage cannot be ignored. Therefore the forensic use of the DNA information has created two major mutually-exclusive dependent yet sometimes opposing contexts — one is ensuring justice by protecting public interest and security, and the other is protecting human rights and privacy of the data subject. This article, thus, explores the implications of one of the most successful (yet not universally accepted or uncontroversial) developments of science and technology: ‘the forensic use of DNA information in the justice delivery system’. It examines the human rights and genetic privacy issues in relation to the DNA information through a case study on the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory (NFDPL) of Bangladesh. The findings from the case study reveal that there are some scopes for human rights and privacy violations while using human DNA data for the justice delivery purposes, though the nature and scope of such violations differ to some extent depending upon the selected DNA facility the Article offers. It is also to be argued that forensic use of DNA information is vital for detecting criminals and exonerating the innocent; however, at the same time, such usage should not compromise human rights and privacy protection.

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