United Nations Human Rights Day 2021
Greetings from ASA’s Panel on Public Policy!
On the 10th of December, 1948, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and now, as citizens of the world we celebrate that landmark moment each year on this date.
In the nearly three quarters of a century since the UDHR was adopted, the scientific and human rights communities have struggled to define with clarity the meaning of science as a human right.
In that light, a Panel on Public Policy subcommittee, the ASA and Human Rights Subcommittee, was recently established to reinvigorate ASA's commitment to the human rights agenda
It is in that spirit that I’m writing to ask that you spend a moment today considering the progress that we as a global community have made in the pursuit of universal human rights generally, but more specifically the human right to access the benefits of science, as well as the right to actively participate in the pursuit of science itself. These rights are codified in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 16th of December, 1966. That Article states that:
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:
(a) To take part in cultural life;
(b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
(c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.
The Panel on Public Policy is looking forward to the opportunity to work with the ASA leadership, and the membership at large, to address the Human Rights initiative as it pertains to the interests of individuals from all corners of the planet.
Happy Human Rights Day!