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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Human Rights
of the NAS, NAE, and NAM

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International Human Rights Network

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Elected members of the National Academies can support the CHR’s work by becoming “Correspondents” of the Committee.  

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Learn more about topics at the intersection of human rights and science, health, and technology. 


The CHR advocates for scientists, engineers, and health professionals subjected to serious violations of international human rights law as a result of their professional work or their exercise of other internationally protected rights. Individuals assisted by the CHR include those who have been arbitrarily detained, denied justice through grossly unfair trials, stripped of citizenship without due process, and subjected to torture. The CHR undertakes cases where, to the best of its knowledge, individuals have not used or advocated violence.
The CHR's human rights advocacy activities are largely non-public. Efforts include:
  • Outreach to U.S., foreign, and international officials
  • Mobilization of National Academy members through a case alert system
  • Use of international and regional human rights complaint mechanisms
  • Country visits and publication of its findings 

Since 1976, when the CHR was established, it has worked on more than 1000 cases involving colleagues under threat. The images below* provide an overview of the CHR's advocacy work and a breakdown of current and resolved cases by region and by profession (as of July 2021). 

2021 Infographic Side 1   2021 Infographic Side 2

*Click on the images to enlarge. 

For more information on our casework, browse our archive of positive case developmentsThe Committee’s ongoing casework is private, and detailed information about its current cases is only accessible to CHR Correspondents (members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine who have elected to be kept informed about the Committee’s work and opportunities to participate).


Online Guide for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals Under Threat

Confronting Rights Abuse with white borderTo help empower colleagues undergoing rights abuse, along with their families and other supporters, and to assist them in obtaining justice, the CHR has produced Confronting Human Rights Abuses:  A Guide for Supporting Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals Under Threat. This e-guide, specifically tailored to scientists, engineers, and health professionals, includes information on international human rights norms and complaint mechanisms, advocacy tools and strategies, and assistance providers.