The 12th meeting of the International Human Rights Network took place in Panama from 5 to 8 October 2016. The Network includes 80 academies. Present were the USA National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, The Netherlands KNAW, and the national academies of Venezuela, Guatemala, South Africa, UK, Japan, Korea, Norway, Palestine, Sweden, Panama, Bolivia, Uganda, Denmark, France, India, Brazil, Oman, Canada, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Montenegro, Tanzania, Germany, and Turkey. The meeting featured a Symposium on “Science & Human Rights: Navigating the Currents” which was followed by a workshop and a meeting with students where several cases were addressed, among them the current situations in Turkey, in Venezuela and Guatemala.

While the existence of Human Rights is today recognized by almost all states in principle, Human Rights violations of all sorts are found at different corners of the world. GYA-member Roberta D’Alessandro (Italy) who attended the meeting highlighted the important role of Human Rights and calls for further steps in the Human Rights’ practical implementation, also in Europe: “The issue of Human Rights is crucial, but it is not as well-known as we would think. Many European countries do not have a Human Rights committee, not even in their academy of science. Many actually overtly refuse to establish one such committee. More work is needed to make people sensitive to the importance of Human Rights and of the right to free circulation of people and ideas”, she said.

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Roberta D’Alessandro (3rd from the Right) during the HR meeting.