June 2011 (To print, click the print icon on your browser
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News from the Human Rights Council and AAAS

10 June 2011

Today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced that two of its programs, Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law and Science and Human Rights, are merging to form the new Program on Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law (SRHRL).

According to AAAS, "SRHRL will continue many of the core activities of the two programs, such as those related to defending the freedom to engage in scientific inquiry, pioneering the application of science and technology to document human rights violations, promoting responsible research practices, and engaging policy makers and the larger public on the social, ethical and legal implications of advances in science and technology. We will retain many of the approaches that have served us well in the past, but will also be open to new ones."

The Association's important work through the Science and Human Rights Coalition will discussed and developed through working groups and sessions. The latter will include "Evaluating the US Human Rights Record: The Universal Periodic Review," "STEM Education: Diversity, Human Rights and New Curricula," and "The Right to Benefit from Science: Engaging Your Association in the UN Process."

This month is an important one for the United Nations and rights pertaining to science as the Human Rights Council holds its 17th session in Geneva. Experts and special rapporteurs will be presenting their reports to the Human Rights Council on cultural rights, education, health and poverty.

Key areas addressed in the session include:

  • Equal opportunities in education and the fight against discrimination
  • Improving global standards in physical and mental health, and the right to health generally
  • The role of human rights in aiding recovery from the global economic and financial crises
  • The human right to development, and efforts to alleviate poverty

This will also be an important occasion, in tangent with SPSSI's work with AAAS, for improving articulation of Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The vital consideration of the human right to science will form an important part of the efforts of scientists and scientific associations to develop our understanding together with the Human Rights Council and the Economic and Social Council, of which SPSSI is a member NGO.

Alex Ingrams
SPSSI Policy Coordinator

More on the merger at AAAS

More on the Human Rights Council's 17th session

More on the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights