include the right to life, liberty, and security of person; to freedom from torture and arbitrary detention; to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal; and to freedom of speech, conscience, and religion. Although the committee's concern is for all victims of abuses of human rights, the focus of its work is on scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are believed to be victims of severe repression. The committee only undertakes cases of colleagues who, to the best of its knowledge, have not used or advocated violence.

The committee undertakes cases of scientific colleagues anywhere in the world. In the past it has worked on cases in several dozen countries, including Argentina, Chile, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam, and Zaire. Close to 500 of the more than 790 cases formally undertaken by the CHR have been resolved.

The work of the Committee on Human Rights is generally carried out through private inquiries from the committee and individual appeals from members of the NAS, NAE, IOM, and foreign associates who act as committee correspondents. The total number of committee correspondents is more than 1,400. Over the years, the committee's private approaches have often been effective. Occasionally, however, the committee decides that a public statement should be made in behalf of an individual or that a delegation should travel to a country for more information and to express more directly the committee's concerns. It has undertaken missions of inquiry to Argentina and Uruguay in 1978, to Chile in 1985, and to Somalia in 1987.


The Institute of Medicine was chartered by the National Academy of Sciences in 1970. Its approximately 470 active members are elected on the basis of their professional achievement and, like those of the NAS and NAE, serve without compensation. They conduct studies of policy issues related to health and medicine.

The IOM's Committee on Health and Human Rights, which was a cosponsor of the mission to Guatemala, was created in 1987. The Committee on Health and Human Rights focuses its attention on health-related human rights issues. Its particular concerns in Guatemala were the cases of health professionals who were victims of extrajudicial killings or who have disappeared, as well as the problems encountered by health professionals in carrying out their duties in an atmosphere of repression and fear. It has also sponsored missions to Somalia in 1987 with the CHR and to South Africa in 1989 with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Public Health Association.

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