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Working Group Report: Service to the Human Rights Community

The Service to the Human Rights Community working group is devoted to bridging the scientific, engineering and human rights communities with the aim of encouraging and facilitating the greater engagement of scientists and engineers in efforts to advance human rights.


Brian Gran, American Sociological Association
Susan Hinkins, American Statistical Association
Patricia van Arnum, Affiliated Individual

Progress Since Last Meeting

  • Guidelines for Human Rights Projects -The document is available now at /sites/default/files/Scientists_Human_Rights_Orgs.pdf
  • Held a workshop on program evaluation for human rights organizations in New York City in January 2013
  • Joint Initiative – Article 15 Indicators (more details below).

Goals for Next Six Months: Key Next Steps and Decisions Made

  1. Workshops: With approval from AAAS, plan and execute another workshop for human rights organizations, in Washington DC. Based on feedback from the Coalition meeting on Jan. 31, 2013 and feedback from NYC workshop, program evaluation continues to be a topic of interest, with a greater focus on specific tools/examples and case studies. The working group would like to set up a planning session with AAAS and interested participants to discuss the focus for such a workshop in Washington, DC.
    With approval from AAAS, would like to plan and execute a NYC-based workshop for the Fall 2013. Several suggestions for topics were offered at the Coalition Meeting.
    Next step: Discuss with working group at next regularly scheduled conference call on March 29.
  2. Knowledge-sharing: Advance knowledge-sharing among human rights groups and scientists through content provided on AAAS portal/page. There is a strong interest in sharing practical knowledge, case studies.
    Next step: The working group will form a subgroup to focus on how the working group can facilitate that effort through the AAAS.
  3. Indicators: A subgroup has begun looking at three specific data sources as potential indicators for the right to benefit from scientific progress. These three data sources were selected to exemplify the three types of indicators: structural; process; and outcome. The goal is to learn more about how such indicators may be developed, as well as how our subgroup may move forward on this work most efficaciously, with the short term goal of preparing a report for discussion at the July meeting. The subgroup will try to meet electronically each month.
  4. Outreach: The working group is setting up a meeting with Maria Luisa Chavez Chief, NGO Relations, at the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), to discuss ways in which the UN DPI and AAAS can work together in informing UN DPI NGOs of On-Call Scientists Program, participation in a monthly program.
  5. Communication: Scheduled monthly conference calls with working group (last Friday of each month) will provide a structured mechanism to engage working group members. A follow-up summary report will be issued.

Ideas Generated

  1. Knowledge-sharing was an important theme discussed, including setting up a portal for sharing practical information, social media platforms, as well as webinars.
  2. For outreach to human rights organizations, in addition to the informational package, one suggestion was to create a video with AAAS staff describing the On-call Scientists program and with human rights organizations and On-Call Scientists who have participated in the project. In outreaching to human rights organizations, links to those videos can be provided.
  3. Several ideas for workshops were discussed, again including program evaluation. There was enthusiasm for expanding the workshops beyond the New York and DC areas. Atlanta was suggested as an area with many human rights organization offices. This could be done by coordinating with On-call Scientists volunteers in the area; coordinating with AAAS annual meeting travel; and webinars.

Next Meeting Date

Conference call: Friday March 29th at 12:00 noon ET