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Right to Science

Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) requires states to:

  1. recognize the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications
  2. conserve, develop, and diffuse science
  3. respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research, and
  4. recognize the benefits of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific field.

As a program devoted to mobilizing science and scientists to advance human rights, the Center for Scientific Responsibility and Justice (SRJ) is committed to promoting Article 15 (ICESCR) and engaging scientists in that effort.

The premise of the “Article 15” Project is that, just as governments are expected to adopt measures to respect the rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial, so too are they obligated to uphold the right to the benefits of scientific progress. To date, however, governments have largely ignored their Article 15 obligations and neither the human rights nor the scientific communities have brought their skills and influential voices to bear on the promotion and application of this right in practice. SRJ believes that the realization of Article 15 requires that scientists take up this neglected right.

Toward that end, the Project is:

  • building a clearinghouse of information and resources about Article 15
  • creating a database of State reports to the UN on the implementation of Article 15
  • identifying exemplars of State practice in the realization of this right
  • designing and implementing pilot projects to demonstrate the value of this right in practice
  • raising the scientific community’s awareness of the meaning, significance, and potential applications of Article 15, particularly through the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, and
  • working with scientific organizations to identify discipline-specific applications of Article 15 for use in teaching, research, public education, and policy advising.

Jessica Wyndham (AAAS) with Margaret Weigers Vitullo (American Sociological Association) briefing the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights | Mikel Mancisidor