Science & Human Rights

The American Chemical Society has many years' history of leadership working internationally on cases where the rights and welfare of professionally engaged chemists, chemical engineers and chemically related practitioners are threatened. Our efforts are informed by protections afforded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are directed towards human rights and scientific mobility abridgments and issues where ACS is uniquely positioned and qualified to impact cases in a meaningful way.

Global Chemists' Code of Ethics

In April 2016, ACS International Activities gathered 30 scientists from 18 countries for a workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to collaboratively draft an actionable Global Chemists’ stakeholders Code of Ethics (GCCE), guided by The Hague Ethical Guidelines and the Code of Conduct Toolkit. Copies of the documents produced at that meeting can be found below.  

Translated versions of the GCCE, as well as information on upcoming related activities, can be found on the ACS Global Chemists' Code of Ethics page.

This effort was coordinated with assistance and support from the U.S. Department of State's Chemical Security Program (CSP) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Human Rights Cases

ACS monitors potential threats to the scientific freedom and human rights of chemical scientists and engineers, as well as to chemistry-related professionals. When evidence is presented that a scientist’s or engineer’s human rights have been abridged, ACS may undertake a variety of mechanisms to respond to the allegation, including letter writing campaigns, conducting fact-finding meetings with government officials at home and abroad, and other public outreach activities.

To receive an alert regarding science and human rights cases that the ACS is monitoring, please register for the ACS Science and Human Rights Alert Network.

If you become aware of any scientist or engineer, who has had his or her human rights infringed upon, please report the incident immediately to so that the appropriate response can be undertaken. In your email, please include your name and contact information, the name of the scientist and other pertinent information related to the case (i.e. current location, position/employment, affiliations, nature of the human rights violation, supporting documents such as news articles, etc.).

Petitions – Act Now

  • Please visit the Scholars at Risk website to view alerts and take action on behalf of a threatened scholar.

AAAS Welfare of Scientists Working Group Primer on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights

This primer focuses on equipping scientific and engineering societies, as well as other scientifically oriented organizations, with the tools to effectively develop processes and procedures to address human rights issues, particularly responding to allegations of human rights violations.


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Human Rights Symposia


For more information about these programs, email

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