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Defining the Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress Jessica Wyndham, Senior Project Director AAAS Science and Human Rights Program July 27, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining the Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress Jessica Wyndham, Senior Project Director AAAS Science and Human Rights Program July 27, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining the Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress Jessica Wyndham, Senior Project Director AAAS Science and Human Rights Program July 27, 2010

2 To engage the scientific community in clarifying the meaning of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. This phase will end with the presentation of findings to the UN and other relevant stakeholders Goal

3 Increase knowledge among scientific associations of the existence, significance and potential applications of the right Determine the meaning of the right as it applies to the practice and concerns of scientific associations Leverage this human right to accomplish the objectives of the Coalitions working groups Objectives

4 Premise The human right to benefit from scientific progress is: Unknown Undefined Unaddressed by the scientific community

5 What you need to know

6 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Everyone has the right to … share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Article 27 (1)

7 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 27 (1948) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 15 (1966) International Bill of Rights

8 The Right States 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.

9 universal: everyone, without exception inalienable: cannot be waived or taken away indivisible, interdependent, and inter- related: come as a package responsibility: governments This right is:

10 Nature of government responsibilities Respect: cannot do anything that will violate a human right Protect: cannot allow a third party to do anything that will violate a human right Fulfill: must do what is needed to make sure a human right is enjoyed

11 Each right requires: Non-discrimination and equal treatment Focus on the disadvantaged and vulnerable Participation and transparency in decision- making Accountability

12 Momentum is building: UNESCO initiated process to define the right UN Independent Expert is going to bring the right to the UN human rights mechanisms AAAS Board of Directors adopted a Statement on the right

13 Scientists are needed 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. -- Venice Statement (2009), para. 17) Recognizing that this right lies at the heart of the AAAS mission … 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. -- AAAS Statement, Board of Directors (2010)

14 Available resources AAAS Board of Directors, "On the human right to the benefits of scientific progress," Statement, April 16, 2010On the human right to the benefits of scientific progress AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, Joint Initiative Plan of Action ( ) Chapman, A. (2009), "Towards an Understanding of the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and Its Applications," Journal of Human Rights, 8 Claude, Richard P. (2002), Scientists Rights and the Human Rights to the Benefits of Science, in Chapman, A and Russell, S (eds) (2002), Core Obligations: Building a Framework for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, IntersentiaScientists Rights and the Human Rights to the Benefits of Science, UNESCO, Venice Statement, Experts Meeting on the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and its Application, Venice, Italy, July 2009Venice Statement Wyndham, Jessica (December 10, 2008), "How can we uphold the right to science?," SciDev.netHow can we uphold the right to science?

15 What we need to know

16 What would the realization of this right look like for your discipline? What does the terminology of the right mean in the context of your discipline? What principles are implicit in the right (e.g., regarding the responsibilities of scientists)? What are the conceptually challenging questions raised by the right (e.g., dual use research, access vs intellectual property)? What barriers exist to realizing the right? How might the right be applied in practice (e.g., by researchers, advocates, clinicians, educators)?

17 How we can engage the scientific community?

18 Options for engagement Raising awareness: newsletter, website Generating discussion: annual meeting, training sessions, Council/Board presentations Coalition participation: working group activities Use the right to inform your work: when setting funding and research priorities when designing and assessing research methodologies Rely on the right explicitly as appropriate: when addressing governments bound by the right when advocating for policy change based on law or principle

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