The Committee on Human Rights (CHR), created in 1976, is a standing membership committee of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM), institutions composed of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists, engineers, physicians, and researchers. The CHR serves as a bridge between the human rights and scientific communities, in recognition of the importance of rights protection for scientific inquiry and the realization of human dignity worldwide.

The CHR:

  • advocates in support of colleagues subjected to serious human rights abuses worldwide, with a focus on individuals targeted for their professional activities or the exercise of other internationally protected rights
  • assists professional colleagues under threat by linking them to pro bono legal and other support services
  • raises awareness of issues at the intersection of science, technology, health, and human rights

Supported by a staff of human rights professionals, the CHR is composed of 14 members drawn from the membership of the three Academies. The three international secretaries of the NAS, NAE, and NAM are among these members and serve on the Committee in an ex officio capacity. Nearly 1,400 members of the National Academies are “CHR Correspondents” who frequently make appeals in human rights cases identified by the CHR. For more information, download the CHR Correspondents Brochure.

Since 1993, the CHR has served as Secretariat of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies, an international consortium of academies with a shared interest in human rights.