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Information for Host Organizations

Requests for hosting a volunteer will be accepted from human rights organizations only. For the purposes of On-call Scientists, “human rights organizations” are considered to be those organizations explicitly committed to and engaged in activities aimed at the realization of international human rights, including civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and/or related international, regional, and national human rights instruments. Such organizations will include non-governmental human rights organizations, UN agencies, and national human rights institutions (that meet the Paris Principles). Non-governmental organizations pursuing a project that applies a human rights-based approach are also eligible.

The activities of these organizations may take many forms, including monitoring, reporting, advocating, educating, training, and advising. The focus of their work may be international, regional, national, or local, and may address specific rights, the rights of specific groups, or be centered around one activity, for example, litigation or research. And their human rights work can be devoted to protecting and advancing human rights anywhere in the world, including in the United States.

What else should you know?

  • To host a volunteer, your organization must be a non-governmental human rights organization, UN agency, or national human rights institution engaged in human rights, or a non-governmental organization using a rights-based approach in its work. 
  • This is an extraordinary opportunity to obtain assistance with questions, problems, or initiatives that require scientific input or expertise.
  • If your organization needs the help of a scientist, we will do our best to find one for you. If you have wanted to introduce scientific data, methods, tools, or techniques to your human rights documenting and reporting, litigation, training, or other work, but have been unable to do so because of cost, lack of time to research precise needs, or not knowing where to begin, On-call Scientists can help.
  • No project is too small, but some projects may be too big. We will do our best to find the scientific expertise you need.
  • Volunteers provide their time and expertise on a pro bono basis. Responsibility for any expenses associated with the volunteer’s position (including travel, living expenses, insurance, etc.) is negotiated entirely by the volunteer and your organization.
  • Once we have partnered your organization with a scientist, our work is done on that particular project request. As the host organization, you will be responsible for all aspects of the volunteer’s contribution to your project, through completion.

Frequently Asked Questions for Potential Hosts

Q: How can volunteer scientists help our organization? What kinds of scientific expertise can volunteers provide?

A: There are many and varied ways in which science and technology can contribute to human rights work, for example, through the use of forensic and genetic sciences to identify victims of mass atrocities, the application of statistical and information management techniques to document large scale human rights violations, and the use of electronic encryption technologies to protect human rights communication. On-call Scientists will be drawn from all scientific disciplines, and may be able to provide a range of support, including data collection and analysis, review of documentation or evidence, training in scientific methodologies, and technology adaptation. For examples of the contributions scientists can make to human rights, read about How On-call Scientists Can Help.

Q: We do not know what scientific expertise we need. Can you help us identify our needs?

A: We will do our best to answer questions that you may have. If we are unable to assist you, we will try to put you in contact with someone who can help.

Q: Our human rights organization is new. Can we still host a volunteer?

A: You may host a volunteer providing you are able to provide three references that can attest to the credibility of your organization.

Q: Can we request more than one volunteer?

A: Yes. There is no limit to the number of volunteers any particular organization may request, so long as the project(s) requires the expertise of more than one volunteer.

Q: Once we have registered, are we guaranteed a volunteer?

A: No. Two key factors will determine whether your organization is matched with a volunteer: (1) the eligibility of your host organization; and (2) the interest and availability of a suitably skilled volunteer scientist.

Q: How long will it take to get a volunteer once we have registered?

A: We try to find the best possible match between volunteers and host organizations. The amount of time necessary depends largely on the pool of eligible volunteers and the requirements of each party.

Q: How long will a volunteer work with us?

A: The duration of the volunteer’s work with you will depend on the specific project to which they are contributing, and your agreement with the volunteer.

Q: Is there a fee for registering?

A: No.

Q: Are we responsible for any expenses?

A: Responsibility for any expenses (including travel, living expenses, insurance, etc) is entirely negotiable between the volunteer and your organization. The AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program is unable to meet any expenses associated with the volunteer’s work with your organization.

Q: Is SRHRL or AAAS responsible for the outcomes of our collaboration?

A: No. AAAS SRHRL’s only role is to match volunteer scientists with human rights organizations. We are not responsible for the outcomes of those collaborations.