Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Relationship Between the CHR and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine?
The CHR is composed entirely of members of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The National Academies are independent institutions created to provide expert advice to the U.S. government on pressing challenges related to science, technology, engineering, and health. Academy members are distinguished scientists, engineers, physicians, and researchers from the United States and many other countries.
What are the CHR’s Main Activities?
- advocates in support of scientists, engineers, and health professionals suffering serious human rights abuses worldwide
- provides assistance to professional colleagues, e.g. by linking them to organizations that provide pro bono legal support and fellowship opportunities
- raises awareness concerning areas at the intersection of human rights and science, engineering, and medicine
How Does the CHR Engage with Other Human Rights Bodies?
The CHR is in regular contact with other organizations working to promote respect for, and protection of, universally recognized human rights. CHR staff members liaise with such organizations to check facts, obtain regional/country background information, and ensure that colleagues under threat receive needed assistance. Where the Committee learns of cases involving human rights abuse that fall outside its mandate, it refers such cases to partner organizations. The CHR also regularly hosts events for academy members that highlight the work of other bodies working at the intersection of science/engineering/health and human rights.
What is the CHR’s Role in the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN)?
The Committee serves as the Secretariat for the IHRN, which brings together national academies and scholarly societies around the world for the purpose of addressing shared science and human rights concerns. The Network advocates in support of colleagues suffering human rights abuses; promotes the free exchange of ideas and opinions among scientists and scholars; and supports the independence and autonomy of national academies and scholarly societies worldwide.
In its role as IHRN Secretariat, the CHR shares information on urgent cases of human rights abuse with IHRN-participating academies; assists the Network’s Executive Committee in preparing public statements on issues of human rights concern; and organizes the IHRN’s biennial meetings, together with host countries.
How Can Members of the National Academies Support the CHR’s Work?
Members of the National Academies can sign up to become CHR Correspondents. The CHR keeps Correspondents informed of the Committee’s events and activities, and provides Correspondents with information concerning professional colleagues under threat worldwide. Through an online system, Correspondents can send letters of appeal, and add their names to private petitions initiated by the Committee, in support of colleagues.
National Academy members often notify the CHR of colleagues suffering rights abuses, and the CHR regularly consults with National Academy members concerning matters of human rights concern related to science, engineering and medicine.
How Can Members of the General Public Engage with the CHR?
The CHR invites members of the public to view the CHR’s collection of resources, useful for exploring pressing issues at the intersection of human rights and science, engineering, and medicine. These resources include information on events open to the public and a range of volunteer opportunities relevant to scientists, engineers and health professionals around the world. The CHR’s Take Action section describes additional opportunities for individuals to promote human rights in science, engineering, and medicine.
Members of the public can also subscribe to the CHR’s email list serve to receive updates, including a monthly newsletter, about public events, news articles and activities relevant to science, engineering, medicine, and human rights.
Is the CHR affiliated with the U.S. Government?
No. The Committee is a non-governmental, apolitical body composed of members of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which are themselves non-governmental institutions. The Committee neither seeks nor accepts U.S. government funding.