THANK YOU for introducing “On-Call Scientists” to your readers (C&EN, Dec. 8, 2008, page 9). The article cites Zafra Lerman’s observation that “the expertise the program provides is already available.” I want to clarify why this project is necessary.
As the human rights community has expanded and evolved, so too has the range of specialized expertise required by human rights organizations, national human rights institutions, and even by the United Nations Development Program country offices working on a human-rights-based approach to development. Because of a lack of resources, lack of connections, or lack of comfort with “science,” many fail to obtain the scientific expertise that will enhance their work. On-Call Scientists will make it possible for scientists, including chemists and chemical engineers, to respond to the needs of these groups, in the process cultivating volunteerism among scientists in the service of human rights.
Director, Science & Human Rights