The Legacy of a Citizen Scientist

An International Legacy

The Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
17 March 1988

ITTEE On Human Rights
Address: Nareco

National Academy of Sciences Committee on Human Rights:
Results of a Visit To Argentina and Uraguay

Dear Mr. President:

A three-person group sent in mid-March by the Committee has reported its findings on the state of scienceand human rights in Argentina and Uruguay. The group included Drs. Christian Anfinsen and Robert Perry, NAS members and Mrs Jay Davenport, staff. The committee has considered the group's findings and is reporting them to the members of the National Academy of Sciences at their annual meeting in Washington.


It is the Committee's judgement that the situation for science is adversely affected by the state of human rights in Argentina. Concern for personal safety, the continued practice of arbitrary dismissal from scientific posts, the substantial number of scientists who have dissappeared and about whom the governmental authorities profess no knowledge, are clear violations of human rights.

The NAS group report (which is attached) provides a detailed account of the group's contacts, from the president of Argentina to the families of "dissappeared" scientists. The Committee has accepted this report and now calls upon the Government of Argentina to release two scientists held without trial: Elena Sevilla, Physicist and Claudio Bermann, Psychiatrist. (Detailed accounts of their background and detention are attached.)


The Committee accepts the findings of the visiting group with respect to the International Cancer Congress scheduled for October. While recognizing the concerns that have been expressed by some American and European scientists the Committee does not endorse the boycott of the Congress they have organized. The Committee believes the cause of science and human rights in this instance is furthered b,y free participation in the Congress and by assisting those Congress attendees who so desire to express their human rights concerns while in Argentina. To this end the Committee has asked the Human Rights Clearinghouse of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to help Congress participants identify the Argentine officials and Argentine private human rights groups to contact, and to arrange for meetings with the families of disappeared scientists.


In Uruguay the group was given permission to visit :Imprisoned mathematician Ing. Jose Luis Massera and his wife (in different prisons) and to seek permission for their exile from Uruguay . Professor Massera

(page ends)