AAAS Releases "Directory of Persecuted Scientists, Engineers and Health Professionals"
Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim
AAAS has published a new edition of the "Directory of Persecuted Scientists, Engineers and Health Professionals," a detailed look at the cases in which the association's Human Rights Action Network has intervened to protect those who have been imprisoned or harassed for their work or beliefs.
The 2005 online edition of the directory is designed in part to facilitate the exchange of information among human rights groups, scientific societies, and individual scientists in the interested of furthering scientific freedom and integrity. The directory reflects casework completed between January 2003 and December 2004 by the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, which oversees the network.
Cases include those of Egyptian sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who faced persecution for speaking out about election fraud and promoting democracy in his country before he was released; Dutch aid worker Arjan Erkel, who was held hostage for 20 months in the Russian republic of Dagestan, where he had been providing much-needed medical assistance to refugees from neighboring Chechnya; and Nguyen Dan Que, a Vietnamese doctor and human rights advocate who spent 19 years in prison for speaking out for democracy and human rights in his country.
The Human Rights Action Network "builds on the long-standing tradition of letter-writing as an effective means of reminding governments that their transgressions have not gone unnoticed," Victoria Baxter, a senior program associate at AAAS, writes in the directory. "Many scientists who have been released from prison credit their release to the strong international attention to their cases."
The AAAS Science and Human Rights program monitors human rights violations perpetrated against scientists, engineers and health professionals, and organizes campaigns on their behalf, often working with other groups. The program also organizes humanitarian and fact-finding missions to investigate human rights issues; prepares documentation for Congress, other U.S. government officials and international human rights groups; and organizes symposia on human rights-related issues.
The program was established in 1977 to give scientists a way to help their colleagues around the world whose human rights are threatened or violated. Mobilizing effective assistance to protect the human rights of scientists around the world remains central to its mission, as well as making the tools and knowledge of science available to benefit the field of human rights.
The "Directory of Persecuted Scientists, Engineers and Health Professionals" is available online. To order a CD-ROM, please contact the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program at (202) 326-6790.
19 April 2005