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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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The Committee on Human Rights (CHR), created in 1976, is a standing membership committee of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM). The CHR serves as a bridge between the human rights and scientific communities, in recognition of the importance of rights protection both for scientific inquiry and the realization of human dignity worldwide. It advocates in support of scientists, engineers, and health professionals subjected to serious human rights abuses worldwide. 

The infographics below (click on the images to expand them) highlight the CHR’s advocacy efforts and provide a regional breakdown of our current and “resolved” cases*, as well as types of abuse suffered by colleagues.  They also provide a snapshot of members of the Academies who lend support to the work of the CHR (CHR Correspondents). Data is from March 2018. 

*“Resolved” cases are cases on which the Committee is no longer working as the result of significant positive developments (e.g. release, acquittal). Resolved cases may be reopened as a result of subsequent negative developments.

March 2018 infographic                                                             Current and resolved breakdown March 2018


In the spotlight   

Iranian Baha'i Optometrist Released after Serving 10-Year Sentence 
March 29, 2018 
tizfahm On March 19, Vahid Tizfahm—an Iranian Baha’i optometrist—was released from Raja’i Shahr prison after serving a 10-year sentence in connection with his Baha’i faith.  He was one of the seven-member Friends in Iran (Yaran-i-Iran), an ad hoc national coordinating group responsible for the Iranian Baha’i community’s religious and administrative affairs. Read more...


CHR Represented at "Science in Exile" Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Science in Exile screeningOn February 13, 2018, Saint Mary’s University in Halifax hosted a film screening of The World Academy of Sciences’ (TWAS) new documentary, “Science in Exile”, which highlights the struggles faced by displaced scientists attempting to relocate and continue their work. The screening was followed by a discussion panel. The speakers were S. Karly Kehoe, the Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities at Saint Mary’s University; Patricia Evers, Senior Program Officer for the Committee on Human Rights; and Edward Lempinen, producer of the film and public information officer at TWAS. The panel discussed the various efforts that academies and universities can undertake in order to assist refugee scholars. The panel members agreed that encouraging universities to host these scholars is an important way to not only assist colleagues in difficult situations, but also to broaden the field of discussion within academia by encouraging cooperation between researchers from different backgrounds. Dr. Kehoe organized this event in follow-up to the CHR’s symposium—Protecting the Rights of Individuals Fleeing Conflict— held last December, where she participated in a similar panel.


CHR Hosts Public Symposium on Protecting the Rights of Individuals Fleeing Conflict 

Symposium homepage graphic 2

On December 7-8, 2017, the Committee on Human Rights hosted a public symposium on the role of scientists, engineers, and health professionals in assisting refugees and other individuals who have been forcibly displaced. Scholars, innovators and humanitarian organizations, among others, examined strategies being used to promote rights and dignity in situations of displacement and identified specific ongoing challenges that scientists, engineers, and health professionals can help to address. For more information about the event, please click here.


Read More In the Spotlight







  Resolved Cases See all...  

Zone 9 bloggers


Longstanding Case against Ethiopian Scientific Colleagues Is Dropped 

Iranian Baha’i Engineer Released after Serving 10-Year Prison Sentence

Iranian Baha'i Engineer Released after Serving 10 Year Sentence 

 istar photo

Formerly Detained Turkish Political Scientist Acquitted
merera gudina photo Ethiopian Political Scientist Dr. Merera Gudina Released from Prolonged Detention
Hasan photo Bangladeshi Political Scientist Returned Home after 44-Day Disappearance

 Fariba Kamalabadi

Iranian Baha’i Psychologist Fariba Kamalabadi Released after Lengthy Prison Term
 Mashvash Sabet Iranian Baha’i Psychologist Released after Lengthy Imprisonment
 Dr. Mudawi cropt

Imprisoned Sudanese engineer Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam released following presidential pardon


 Sudan Graduate student in engineering granted presidential pardon in Sudan