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New AAAS Study Investigates the Social Responsibilities of Scientists

The notion that scientists have a responsibility to society that goes beyond their responsibilities to the profession is long-standing. While there is a growing literature concerning the issues encapsulated by the phrase “social responsibility of scientists,” a review of that literature reveals many and sometimes competing views. What is more, to date there has been no empirical basis on which to define the content and scope of such social responsibilities.

It is within this context that the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, of which COSSA is a member, and the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program decided to develop and distribute an online questionnaire to scientists, engineers and health professionals globally. The primary aim of this preliminary investigation was to elicit their perspectives on the nature and scope of their responsibilities and to identify any potential similarities and differences in perspectives according to multiple demographic variables. Read a summary of the report’s major findings or the full report. Please direct any inquiries about the report to srhrl@aaas.org.

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Posted in Issue 6 (April 7), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

Science and Human Rights Coalition Explores the Risks and Promise of Big Data

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, of which COSSA is a member, held its biannual meeting on January 15, focusing on the connections between Big Data and Human Rights. The Coalition brings together organizations and individuals who recognized a role for scientists and engineers in human rights. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 27), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

SPSSI Seminar Explores the Psychology of Human Rights

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), a COSSA member, held the last seminar in its 2014 series, Psychological Insights into Legislative Issues, on October 8. The topic was “Who Cares about Human Rights? The Psychology of Human Rights Support,” and featured Sam McFarland of Western Kentucky University. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) sponsored the event series and shared how he first became passionate about human rights through his work during El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 20), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

COSSA Members Advocate for Disabilities Treaty Ratification

In late July, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-6 to move the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on to the full Senate for ratification. The scientific community is mobilizing in support of the Convention, which, among other things, affirms states’ responsibilities to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to pursue and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. COSSA endorsed a statement by the AAAS Board of Directors in support of ratification. In addition, several COSSA members are also urging the Senate to ratify the treaty:

The American Statistical Association (ASA) released a statement calling on the Senate to ratify the Convention:

“ASA supports the people with disabilities who engage in the profession or practice of statistics and the study of disability as a topic of research. Through activities of promoting the education of statistics in schools, increasing the public awareness of statistics, and supporting the use of statistics in making sound public policy, the ASA seeks to help make education, employment, and other opportunities available to all people regardless of disability status.”

The Council of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) adopted a resolution urging the Senate to ratify the treaty:

The resolution reflects AERA’s “longstanding commitment to access of persons with disabilities in the field of education research, in other scientific fields, and in education across the life span.”

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) adopted a statement in support of ratification:

“As an organization that studies all human languages and advocates for the language rights of all human beings, the LSA is rightfully concerned with the well-being of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, particularly with respect to access to education, medicine, employment, and full participation in civil and personal life. Likewise, the LSA is concerned with the well-being of all people who have a disorder that impacts language ability and use with respect to the same range of rights.”

We will continue to provide updates on COSSA’s and members’ efforts to advance ratification on COSSA’s Science and Human Rights page.

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Posted in Issue 15 (August 11), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Reflects on Five Years

The Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its biannual meeting on July 14 and 15. COSSA is a member of the Coalition, which is a “network of scientific and engineering membership organizations that recognize a role for scientists and engineers in human rights.” This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Coalition’s founding, and the meeting provided an opportunity for members to look back on what has been accomplished and consider new directions for the future.  An anniversary celebration is planned for October of this year. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

COSSA Endorses AAAS Statement on Disabilities Treaty Ratification

COSSA has endorsed the statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Board of Directors urging the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, the CRPD has been ratified by 146 countries. The U.S. was a signatory on the treaty, but previous attempts to ratify it in the Senate have failed. The Convention may again be brought to the Senate as early as this summer. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 28), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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