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Civil Engineering and Human Rights What are the connections? Jessica Wyndham, Associate Director Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Civil Engineering and Human Rights What are the connections? Jessica Wyndham, Associate Director Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Civil Engineering and Human Rights What are the connections? Jessica Wyndham, Associate Director Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program June 6, 2011

2  fundamental entitlements  guaranteed by law  inherent to all human beings  derived from the mere fact of being human What are human rights?

3 What do you think? Is there a connection between civil engineering and human rights? Yes No Maybe Are civil engineers the premier stewards of infrastructure as a human right? Yes No It depends Is access to the benefits of infrastructure an inalienable human right? Yes No It depends

4 International Bill of Rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

5  Life  Torture  Fair trial  Information  Expression  Association  Political participation …  Work  Housing  Health  Environment  Culture  Benefits of Scientific Progress … International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

6 Key Human Rights Treaties  Civil and Political Rights  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  Racial Discrimination 1965 – 174  Discrimination Against Women 1979 – 186  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 – 147  Rights of the Child  Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 2003 – 44  Rights of People with Disabilities 2008 – 59

7 Key Human Rights Treaties: US Ratifications  Civil and Political Rights  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  Racial Discrimination 1965 – 174  Discrimination Against Women 1979 – 186  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 – 147  Rights of the Child  Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 2003 – 44  Rights of People with Disabilities 2008 – 59

8 Key Human Rights Treaties: US Signed  Civil and Political Rights  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  Racial Discrimination 1965 – 174  Discrimination Against Women 1979 – 186  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 – 147  Rights of the Child  Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 2003 – 44  Rights of People with Disabilities 2008 – 59

9 Key Human Rights Treaties: Plans to Ratify  Civil and Political Rights  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  Racial Discrimination 1965 – 174  Discrimination Against Women 1979 – 186  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 – 147  Rights of the Child  Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 2003 – 44  Rights of People with Disabilities 2008 – 59

10 UDHR ArticleRelated U.S. Constitutional Amendment Article 214 th Amendment (non-discrimination) Article 314 th Amendment (life, liberty, security) Article 413 th Amendment (slavery) Article 58 th Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) Articles 6 and 714 th Amendment (equal protection) Article 95 th Amendment (arbitrary arrest) Article 106 th Amendment (fair trial) Article 124 th Amendment (privacy) Article 175 th Amendment (property) Article 181 st Amendment (religion) Article 191 st Amendment (speech) Article 201 st Amendment (association) Article 2115 th, 19 th, 23 rd, 24 th, and 26 th, Amendments From: The Advocates for Human Rights (2009), Human Rights Toolkit, p. 12

11 US human rights policy “ Our human rights agenda for the 21st century is to make human rights a human reality. The first step is to see human rights in a broad context. Of course, people must be free from the oppression of tyranny, from torture, from discrimination, from the fear of leaders who will imprison or ‘ disappear ’ them. But they must also be free from the oppression of want, want of food, want of health, want of education, and want of equality in law and in fact. ” Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, December 10, 2010

12 As compared to a ‘development’ approach: A human rights-based approach entails: Actively engaging vulnerable groups in planning and implementation (participation) Ensuring accessibility, acceptability, adaptability and affordability (AAAs) Measuring disaggregated impact of activities as compared to global averages (vulnerable and marginalized) Publicizing plans, processes and outcomes (transparency)

13 Civil Engineering and Human Rights: Example Schools ( ASCE 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure) -Problem: enrollments are rising, spending and construction are decreasing -Recommendations: publish updates, expand tax credits, establish federal budget for construction Human rights considerations: -Publish regular updates to ensure clear view of conditions (transparency) -Continue and increase federal grants for high-poverty, high-need school districts (marginalized and vulnerable) -Provide mechanism for districts to inform policies/ programs on construction/maintenance (participation)

14 Civil Engineering and Human Rights: Further Examples ‘Human Levee for Human Rights’ (New Orleans) Mazibuko case - Court upholds right to water, civil engineer testifies (South Africa) Special Rapporteur on Toxic Waste and Human Rights (United Nations) Sichuan earthquake, school construction and human rights (China)

15 1.Build a constituency for human rights 2.Apply your expertise for human rights 3.Respect human rights standards in your work 4.Advance the right to benefit from scientific progress Civil Engineers’ Role in Human Rights

16  Governments’ commitment to human rights is only as strong as society’s demands for their rights  Civil engineers can apply their skills and expertise to human rights issues  Technically rigorous and independent analysis adds credibility to human rights demands Why Civil Engineers?

17 Entrusted by society to create a sustainable world and enhance the global quality of life, civil engineers serve competently, collaboratively, and ethically as:

18 MASTER:  Planners, Designers, Builders & Operators  Environmental Stewards  Innovators and Integrators  Managers of Risk and Uncertainty  Leaders in Shaping Public Policy Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025

19 AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition A network of scientific and engineering organizations that recognize a role for scientists and engineers in efforts to realize human rights. Members: scientific associations, professional societies and science academies  Member/Affiliate Organizations: 46  Affiliated Scientists: 63

20 Working through the ASCE Organize an Annual Meeting session on civil engineering and human rights - issues and practice Publish on the connections between civil engineering and human rights in scholarly and other journals Organize a public inquiry on a human rights issue related to civil engineering

21 What do you think? Is there a connection between sustainability and human rights? Yes No Maybe Is Vision2025 a roadmap for civil engineering and human rights? Yes No Maybe What aspect of the Triple Bottom Line strongly represents the link between civil engineering and human rights? Environmental Economic Social None of the above All of the above

22 1.Build a constituency for human rights 2.Apply your expertise for human rights 3.Respect human rights standards in your work 4.Advance the right to benefit from scientific progress Civil Engineers’ Role in Human Rights

23 Applying Technical Expertise to Human Rights  Forensic and genetic sciences (1980s)  Statistical and information management techniques (1990s)  Geospatial image analysis (2000s)

24 Liliana Pereyra, mid-1970s 21-year-old bank clerk who had disappeared on October 6, 1976, when she was five months pregnant. (Family of Liliana Pereyra; AAAS Archives) Clyde Snow at the trial of the Argentinean junta, 1985 (Courtesy of Daniel Muzio) Liliana Pereyra's skeletal reconstruction (AAAS Archives)

25 Using data from the border registries and camp surveys to: establish where refugees came from, across time link refugee flows with Yugoslav movements and NATO actions assess competing explanations for refugee flows Kosovar refugees: Policy or Panic?

26 From: Ball, P. (1999), Policy or Panic: The Flight of Ethnic Albanians from Kosovo March – May 1999

27 Port Farma, Zimbabwe – April 6, 2006 Port Farma, Zimbabwe – June 22, 2002

28

29 Physicians for Human Rights Project: Document evidence of torture to support asylum applications Location: USA Scientists: Health practitioners (10) AAAS “On-call” Scientists Montana Innocence Project Project: Provide evidence in post- conviction claims of innocence Location: Montana Scientist: DNA and forensic analysts, crime scene reconstruction Global Rights Project: Assess impact of extractive industries on local communities Location: Congo, Guinea, DRC Scientists: Geologist, psychologists Environmental Defender Law Center Project: Review and advise on technical reports in oil cleanup case Location: West Africa Scientist: Industrial and chemical engineers

30 What do you think? Can civil engineering be applied to human rights? Yes No Don’t know Do you currently or are you interested in applying your skills and expertise for human rights purposes? Yes No It depends Are you interested in learning more about how you can work in support of human rights? Yes No Maybe

31 1.Build a constituency for human rights 2.Apply your methodologies and technologies 3.Respect human rights standards in your work 4.Advance the right to benefit from scientific progress Civil Engineers’ Role in Human Rights

32 Participation of affected communities Consideration of unique vulnerabilities of populations Respect for cultural sensitivities and requirements Commitment to meeting high quality standards Human rights implications of professional conduct

33 1.Build a consituency for human rights 2.Apply your methodologies and technologies 3.Respec human rights standards in your work 4.Advance the right to benefit from scientific progress Civil Engineers’ Role in Human Rights

34 The Benefits of Science and Technology as a Human Right “States shall recognize the right of everyone … to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.” -- International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Article 15

35 Article 15, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Governments shall: 1.recognize the right of everyone to (b) enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; 2. conserve, develop and diffuse science and culture; 3. respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity; and 4. recognize the benefits of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.

36 Broad Acceptance of the Right  160 governments have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  All G8 countries, with the exception of the US, have ratified the Covenant  The right is recognized in international and regional treaties, e.g., bioethics (2005); human genetic data (2003); biomedicine ( Europe)  The right is recognized in several national Constitutions: Armenia (1995); Moldova (1994); Paraguay (1992)

37 What does the right mean? UNESCO Purpose: to launch a process of research and dialogue on the content of this right Participants: lawyers, academics, medical ethicists, human rights practitioners, UN experts, AAAS

38 Venice Statement: Fundamental Principles The right:  Is applicable across all disciplines  Can be enjoyed individually and collectively Implementation requires:  Close international cooperation  Creation of an enabling and participatory environment  Particular attention be paid to the needs of marginalized and vulnerable population  Protection from abuse and adverse effects of science and its applications

39 Venice Statement 17. “The comprehensive elucidation of this right, raising awareness of it, its implementation, and the monitoring of its realization require the cooperation and participation of [among others]… the scientific and academic communities.”

40 AAAS “ Recognizing that this right lies at the heart of the AAAS mission and the social responsibilities of scientists, AAAS will: pursue opportunities to collaborate with the global scientific community so that the voice, interests and concerns of scientists can be brought to this process [and] engage the domestic and global scientific communities in defining the content of the right and determining its application to a diverse range of scientific disciplines and issues of concern to the scientific community” AAAS Board of Directors, Statement, April 2010

41 What do you think? Is there a connection between civil engineering and human rights? Yes No Maybe Are civil engineers the premier stewards of infrastructure as a human right? Yes No It depends Is access to the benefits of infrastructure an inalienable human right? Yes No It depends

42 Questions to be answered How does civil engineering and its applications benefit society? What barriers exist to accessing the benefits of civil engineering? What are some potential dangers or misuses of civil engineering from a human rights perspective? What are the freedoms necessary for civil engineers to be able to conduct their work? What “international contacts” and forms of “international cooperation” are required to effectively participate in civil engineering? And more…

43 Thank you! Jessica Wyndham Program Director, AAAS Human Rights Program


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