National Academies Press: OpenBook

Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt (2001)

Chapter:Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
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Appendix B

COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS

A Description

The Committee on Human Rights was created in 1976 in response to concern by members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) about widespread abuses of human rights, particularly those of their scientific colleagues. In 1994, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) joined the NAS as full sponsors of the committee. The committee is composed of members drawn from the membership of the three institutions. The committee has the active support of more than 1,700 members of the NAS, NAE, and IOM, who assist it as “correspondents” in its human rights work by writing appeals in behalf of and letters of encouragement to imprisoned colleagues. The committee is financially supported by the NAS, NAE, and IOM, several private foundations, and contributions from private donors.

The work of the committee is grounded in principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The committee does not support or oppose any government or political system; it does hold governments responsible for conforming to international standards for the protection of human rights and accountable when they do not.

The committee uses the influence and prestige of the institutions it represents in behalf of scientists, engineers, and health professionals anywhere in the world who are unjustly detained or imprisoned for exercising their basic human rights as promulgated by the UDHR. Each case is carefully investigated, using a variety of sources, before being taken up by the committee. Such individuals cannot have been known to use or advocate violence. The committee also intervenes in behalf of non-violent colleagues who are the recipients of death threats, and it works to promote just prosecution in cases of individuals who have been killed for political reasons.

Activities of the committee include private inquiries, appeals to governments, moral support to prisoners and their families, and consciousness-raising efforts such as workshops and symposia. Periodically, it undertakes a mission of inquiry to a country. It issues public statements regarding a case or reports on the human rights situation in a country only when significant private efforts have proved unsuccessful and after the NAS Council and the presidents of the NAE and IOM have approved such action by the committee. The committee also is a catalyst for human rights issues of concern to the members of the academy complex.

The committee serves as the secretariat for the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies. The Network, created in 1993, works to address grave

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
×

issues of science and human rights, particularly the unjust detention or imprisonment of colleagues, throughout the world. Currently, science academies and scholarly societies in some 50 countries are affiliated with the Network; each is represented by internationally prominent members who are also human rights advocates. The members of the Network 's Executive Committee are: François Jacob, France; Max Perutz, United Kingdom; John Polanyi, Canada; Pieter van Dijk, the Netherlands; Edoardo Vesentini, Italy; and Torsten Wiesel, the United States of America.

The CHR's members for 2001 and its current staff are listed below:

TORSTEN WIESEL , Chair

Rockefeller University, New York, New York

MARY ELLEN AVERY

Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

MINA J. BISSELL

Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California

GEORGE BUGLIARELLO

Office of the Chancellor, Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, New York

ROBERT CURL

Rice University, Houston, Texas

FELTON EARLS

Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

SARA B. HRDY

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis

EUGENIA KALNAY

Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

MORTON PANISH

AT&T Bell Laboratories (retired), Springfield, New Jersey

ROBERT PRITZKER

The Marmon Group, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
×

KATEPALLI R. SREENIVASAN

Mason Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

LUBERT STRYER

Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

CHARLES TOWNES

Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, California

SALIH J. WAKIL

Department of Biochemistry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

MARY JANE WEST -EBERHARD

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, University of Costa Rica, Ciudad Universitaria, Costa Rica

CAROL CORILLON , Director

PATRICIA EVERS , Program Officer

JAMES BANIHASHEMI , Program Associate

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Committee on Human Rights, A Description." National Research Council. 2001. Report on the Case of Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Ibrahim, Imprisoned Sociologist, Cairo, Egypt. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10148.
×
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In February 2001 Committee on Human Rights (CHR) member Morton Panish (a member of the NAS and NAE) and former National Academies staff officer Jay Davenport attended the February 2001 hearings in Cairo of the trial of renowned sociology professor, Saad Eddin Ibrahim. This report provides a summary of the February trial cycle and developments in Dr. Ibrahim's case from the time of his arrest in June 2000 through the end of May 2001, when he and 27 staff members of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies (which he directs) were convicted. It also describes the CHR's efforts in behalf of Professor Ibrahim and provides an overview of the political and legal environment in Egypt at the time. The report concludes that the outlook for the development of a healthy civil society in Egypt appears to be growing dimmer. By prosecuting a person as highly esteemed as Dr. Ibrahim and closing the Ibn Khaldun Center , the government was sending a clear message that there will be little tolerance of those working in Egypt to promote democracy and the growth of civil society there.

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