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Areas of Work

Coalition members undertake activities on many topics, including the following specific areas of work. Coalition members interested in these areas of work are encouraged to join the relevant discussion group on Trellis

Science and Human Rights: Five Connections


Article 15: The Human Right to Science

The right to “enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” elevates fundamental scientific values, such as equitable access to scientific and technical knowledge, scientific freedom, and international cooperation, to universal standards that governments everywhere must protect. A right unto itself, this right is also a key prerequisite for the realization of other human rights, including the rights to health, food, water, and to a healthy environment. Although universally recognized, this human right remains largely ignored by governments, as well as the scientific, engineering, health and human rights communities. As a network of scientific, engineering and health organizations that recognize a role for science and technology in promoting human rights, the Coalition has a unique and vital contribution to make to efforts to ensure that governments respect, protect, and fulfill this neglected right.

Through empirical research and engaging Coalition members across disciplines, the Coalition has made substantive contributions to the ongoing United Nations (UN) process of defining the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. As a result, the Coalition has secured a place for the STEM community in the UN process and ensured that the perspectives of United States-based scientists, engineers, and health professionals inform that process. We anticipate that the UN will continue to explore the meaning and application of the right, leading to the adoption of a definitive articulation of the meaning of the right (General Comment).

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Welfare of Scientists

Members interested in this area aim to expand participation and effectiveness of professional societies in defending the human rights of scientists, engineers and health professionals; increase awareness and implementation of human rights frameworks that protect scientists; and help professional associations better respond to individual cases of human rights violations.

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Alert Network
The Alert Network is an interactive web platform hosted by the American Chemical Society that is used to engage Coalition members in advocacy on cases involving threats to, and the violation of, the human rights of scientists, engineers and health professionals.

Directory of Scientific Societies Working on Human Rights Issues
Profiles and contact information of scientific societies working on human rights. Also features links to resources for scientific society action.

Organizations Defending the Human Rights of Scientists
Provides contact information for and descriptions of organizations working to protect the human rights of scientists.

Primer on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights
Drawing from existing practices in the field, this guide aims to assist scientific, engineering and health associations to respond to threats to and violations of the rights of their colleagues.

Ethics and Human Rights

Members interested in this area of work aim to raise the visibility of human rights principles as part of the practice of science and its applications, linking ethics codes that guide the scientific, engineering and health communities to human rights principles.

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Connecting Science, Engineering, Ethics and Human Rights: Beyond Human Subjects Research
A report and workshop exploring the intersections of science, ethics and human rights within the context of human subjects research.

Human Rights in Codes of Ethics of Scientific and Professional Societies
Language that expresses commitment of scientific and professional societies to the principles enshrined in international human rights instruments.

Intersections of Science, Ethics and Human Rights: The Question of Human Subjects Protection
A report aimed at generating discussion among the physical, life, health and engineering sciences about how best to address human rights as part of the practice and applications of their work.

Social Responsibility: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Perspectives of Scientists, Engineers and Health Professionals
A report that explores the meaning of scientific responsibility as a corollary of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress (Article, 15, ICESCR).

Service to the STEM Community

Members interested in this area of work develop human rights‐related activities and services for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community to build the commitment and capacity of professional associations to engage meaningfully in human rights by leveraging the experience of their members.

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Article 15 Focus Groups and Analysis
A body of knowledge on the meaning of the right to benefit from scientific progress across disciplines.

Human Rights Starter Kit: Helping Your Scientific Society Promote Human Rights
A tool to assist scientific, engineering and health associations address human rights.

Webinar Series
Webinars exploring the links between STEM disciplines and human rights, and bringing human rights to members of associations in STEM fields. Past webinars include Ecology and Human Rights, Sociology and Human Rights and Linguistics and Human Rights.

Service to the Human Rights Community

Members interested in this area of work aim to strengthen communication between the scientific, engineering and health communities and human rights organizations to identify human rights efforts that could benefit from scientific approaches, tools and technologies, and then assist in making these accessible to human rights practitioners.

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Human Rights Projects: Guidelines for Scientists and Human Rights Organizations
A guide to facilitate partnerships among scientists, engineering, health professionals and human rights organizations.

Education and Information Resources

Members interested in this area of work aim to identify, compile and develop resources and create opportunities for exchange in order to establish a stronger foundation for productive, collaborative human rights efforts, and contribute to the professional development of science, engineering and health teachers and human rights educators.

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Partnerships: Scientists Working With Human Rights Organizations
Examples of collaborations between scientists from a variety of disciplines and human rights practitioners.

Science and Human Rights: A Select Annotated Bibliography
A bibliography illustrating the breadth of research in science and human rights across various scientific disciplines.

Syllabi on Science and Human Rights
A list of syllabi for courses and teaching modules on science and human rights.

Outreach and Communication

Members interested in this area of work aim to expand the impact of the Coalition’s work by growing the Coalition membership and building bridges with scientific, engineering, and health professionals as well as the human rights community.

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