December 10, Human Rights Day

In an opinion piece entitle How can we uphold the rights to science (SciDev Net), December 10, 2008, Jessica Wyndham, Associate Program Director of the AAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program states: “The right to science is not only a right unto itself, but is also a key prerequisite to achieving other human rights, [emphasis mine].....”; she continues “...removing barriers to scientific freedom, and encouraging international cooperation and the free flow of scientific knowledge .”[emphasis mine]

The methodology of science -the scientific method- is firmly and uniquely rooted in at least three basic premises:

  • scientific freedom and freedom of scientists
  • scientific cooperation, science is an international -open borders- enterprise;
  • free flow of knowledge, rights to publish the results of the research and to access the scientific literature.

Any attempt to tamper with any of these pillars does harm to Science and violates the rights to science.

 

In a few day -December 10th- we'll mark the 64th anniversary of the UN adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; as scientists we must reaffirm our commitment to protect and defend the human rights of our scientist colleagues. By standing up for the right to science, we are defending and protecting the human rights of all citizens -scientists or not- of the world.