The Society for the
Study of Social Issues

Event Report: AAAS Workshop on Science Rights and the UN

On July 15 at the AAAS Human Rights Coalition biannual meeting, AAAS held a workshop, Report on the right to benefit from science: engaging your association in the UN process. The workshop which convened representatives from a range of academic associations examined the UN process behind the definition of human rights treaties and the ways that the AAAS Human Rights Coalition is ensuring that scientists have a voice in this process that is critical to the promotion of science world-wide.

Elucidating some of the complexity of UN mechanisms and official procedures, Jessica Wyndham, explained that the language of a treaty can be very amorphus and so it is important to know how to decode and amplify the terms being used. "Diffusion of science", for example.

The process behind the main treaty relating to the human rights of science, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and its article 15, in particular, took place between 2007 and 2009 but the process was conspicuously lacking in the participation of scientists.

Today, Article 15 is going through a further process of definition, this time led by the independent expert in the field of cultural rights. Their report will be submitted to the committee responsible for Article 15 and the ICESCR at the end of 2011, and will open up an exciting new dialogue on how scientists, governments, non-profits, and other stakeholders can broaden their understanding of the human right to benefit from scientific progress.

Alex Ingrams
SPSSI Policy Coordinator


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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin