APS News

APS Supports Formation of ICSU Human Rights Monitoring Committee

At its June meeting, the APS Executive Board voted to support a May 21 letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), requesting the formation of a human rights commission within that organization, which would address the broader issue of scientific relations and human rights by monitoring the rights of scientists worldwide.

Richard Nicholson, executive officer of the AAAS, wrote in his letter. "We have found_that scientific associations' work on behalf of their colleagues whose rights have been violated presents a powerful tool for helping ensure that such abuses do not continue or recur."

Under the terms of the proposal, the ICSU commission would monitor compliance with Article 5 of the organization's statutes, particularly the principle of "_freedom of association, expression, information, communication and movement in connection with international scientific activities, without any discrimination on the basis of such factors as citizenship, religion, creed, political stance, ethnic origin, race, color, language, age or sex." Documented violations would be reported to ICSU's member scientific unions, national academies, and national research councils, and would then be handled according to the rules of each member organization.

The proposal arose from discussions between the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS) and the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA). The APS committees joined forces with the AAAS to draft the proposal to ICSU.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin