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How Scientists Can Help

Scientific knowledge, tools, and methods can be utilized by human rights organizations in a wide variety of ways to enhance human rights monitoring, reporting, research, documentation, technical training, and litigation. Specific scientific knowledge may be useful in reviewing technical reports, answering questions about evidence or methodology, or assisting in the design of a survey. Scientists, engineers, and health professionals can also be valuable in analyzing research findings, or developing or adapting new technologies to meet the specific needs of a human rights organization. 

SciTech Partnerships for Human Rights: Video

In 2008, AAAS launched On-call Scientists, a project matching scientists, engineers and health professionals with human rights organizations requiring their technical expertise. In the years since, hundreds of experts from around the globe have signed up to contribute their time and skills. This video tells the story of how science and technology are being applied in support of human rights, as told by our volunteers and human rights partners.

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SciTech for Human Rights: Podcast Series

This podcast series features interviews with scientists and engineers about the applications of their work to human rights. Listen to the podcasts.

Examples of how On-call Scientists can contribute to human rights work include: 

  • Statisticians advising on good survey research methods to measure mass displacement
  • Climatologists reviewing a report on a human rights-based analysis of the impact of climate change
  • Forensic scientists offering guidance on the exhumation of graves
  • Sociologists developing indicators to measure project objectives
  • Engineers providing training for work on the right to housing
  • Geographers mapping incidents of discrimination
  • Public health professionals crafting appropriate health care policies to meet the right to health
  • Economists providing analysis of government expenditures on education for work on the right to education
  • Geneticists providing guidance in identifying victims of atrocities
  • Hydrologists providing training in water testing for work on the human right to water
  • Scientists of all disciplines can answer questions related to scientific method as well as data analyses and interpretation