Human rights and science are not topics that people often associate. But science can play an important role in protecting human rights. For example, scientists can use their knowledge to help study the impacts of climate change on specific groups or to identify missing persons.
This link is at the core of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science & Human Rights Coalition. The coalition, an initiative of the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights & Law Program (SRHRL), is made up of approximately 50 scientific and engineering organizations and more than 70 individuals.
Chemists and other scientists can offer a valuable perspective to human rights issues, according to Jessica M. Wyndham, associate director of SRHRL. “Chemists come with specific skills and expertise that only they can bring to certain challenges,” she explains, adding that she hopes that through the efforts of the AAAS coalition, scientists will think about those challenges, through a human rights lens. “Human rights is about much more than just doing good; it’s about specifically and explicitly using the human rights framework as the basis for your work, and for your interventions.”
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