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Science & Policy

Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program

On-call Scientists

How Scientists Can Help

Scientific knowledge, tools, and methods can be utilized by human rights organizations in a wide variety of ways to enhance human rights monitoring, reporting, research, documentation, technical training, and litigation. Specific scientific knowledge may be useful in reviewing technical reports, answering questions about evidence or methodology, or assisting in the design of a survey. Scientists can also be valuable in analyzing research findings, or developing or adapting new technologies to meet the specific needs of a human rights organization.

Examples of how scientists can contribute to human rights work include:

  • Statisticians advising on good survey research methods to measure mass displacement
  • Climatologists reviewing a report on a human rights-based analysis of the impact of climate change
  • Forensic scientists offering guidance on the exhumation of graves
  • Sociologists developing indicators to measure project objectives
  • Engineers providing training for work on the right to housing
  • Geographers mapping incidents of discrimination
  • Public health professionals crafting appropriate health care policies to meet the right to health
  • Economists providing analysis of government expenditures on education for work on the right to education
  • Geneticists providing guidance in identifying victims of atrocities
  • Hydrologists providing training in water testing for work on the human right to water
  • Scientists of all disciplines can answer questions related to scientific method as well as data analyses and interpretation
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