Committee on Human Rights (CHR)

CHR Timeline

In 2016, the Committee on Human Rights (CHR) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine celebrates its 40th Anniversary and recognizes the dedicated leadership of former CHR Director Carol Corillon, who retired in 2015 after 33 years of service. CHR works to resolve the cases of scientists, engineers, and health professionals worldwide who have been subjected to severe repression for peacefully exercising their internationally recognized rights. ;xNLx;Its achievements could not have been realized without the guidance and dedication of its esteemed committee chairs, who are listed on the left along with their dates of tenure.;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;

CHR holds its first meeting

The committee holds its first meeting on September 18, 1976 under the leadership of its first Chairman, NAS member Robert W. Kates.

CHR mission to India

CHR member emeritus and Nobel Laureate Robert Curl leads a joint CHR and H.R. Network mission to Chhattisgarh State, India to appeal for the release from prison of Binayak Sen—a respected medical doctor and community health specialist who was given a life sentence following a highly flawed judicial process involving criminalization of his peaceful human rights activities. Dr. Curl, Dr. Arjuna Aluwihare (President of the Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka), and CHR Director Carol Corillon visited Dr. Sen in Chhattisgarh Central Prison and gathered information about his case and condition.

CHR advocates for Bahraini medics

CHR denounces violations of medical neutrality and targeting of health professionals by government.

CHR joint mission to Turkey

CHR Director Carol Corillon, NAS Nobel Laureate Peter Diamond, and Hans-Peter Zenner from the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) undertake a joint mission to Turkey for the International H.R. Network after serious charges are brought against eight Turkish scientific colleagues in cases fraught with due process violations. All imprisoned colleagues visited by the group were subsequently released.

CHR initiates Iraqi Women Twinning Project

The International Twinning Project for Iraqi Women Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals is launched by CHR. Seventy women members of the NAS, NAE, and IOM and 50 Iraqi women scientists agree to be paired, by professional fields, to provide Iraqi women colleagues with collegial support and access to information about current developments in their fields and international meetings.

Martin Chalfie joins as CHR Chair

Nobel Laureate (Chemistry) Dr. Martin Chalfie joins a distinguished list of Committee Chairs*.

Nobel laureates call for release of Dr. Binayak Sen

CHR organizes a public appeal, signed by dozens of Nobel Laureates and endorsed by 9 former presidents of the three Indian national science academies, for the release of public health specialist and activist Dr. Binayak Sen. Two months later, India’s Supreme Court orders Dr. Sen’s release on bail pending appeal of a life sentence imposed after a flawed trial.

CHR issues statement on unjust treatment of Guantanamo prisoners

CHR, in a public statement, urges that the situation of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay naval facility (including scientists, engineers, and health professionals) “be promptly addressed and redressed” and that their treatment “be brought into conformity with international human rights standards.”

CHR supports Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO)

CHR establishes Friends of IPSO, USA (FIPSO), a non-profit organization created to raise funds to support joint Israeli-Palestinian science research. Nobel Laureate and CHR member Robert Curl chairs FIPSO with great dedication. FIPSO’s first grant helps support a project on nanotechnology led by senior Palestinian and Israeli chemists.

Presidents of the Academies urge release of Egyptian sociologist

Presidents of NAS, NAE, and IOM publicly appeal for the release of Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim; he is ultimately acquitted.

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