“Keeping silent is not an option,” CCS Board Member Svetlana Stone Wachtell says at New York Academy of Science ceremony on September 30, where she received the 2010 Human Rights of Scientists Heinz R. Pagels Award, in recognition of her 30 years of service with the NYAS Human Rights Committee. She expressed worry about the Academy’s continued commitment to the human rights of scientists.
See below for the full text of her remarks.
“I am very humbled and honored to receive this Award, and I want to thank the NYAS Committee and its past and present chairmen, Professor Joel Lebowitz, Drs. Joseph Birman, Eugene Chudnovsky, and Henry Greenberg for their leadership. My acceptance of this award is somewhat bittersweet, in that I worry that, in today’s political, cultural and economic climate, it is at times difficult for the Academy to allow the Committee to take the stands that it has historically taken — and must take — in this arena.
“For over 30 years, the NYAS Human Rights Committee has been one of the major movers in the fight for the human rights of scientists. It has stood tall against the suppression of such rights all over the world and has not been afraid to take stands against powerful foes in such places as the former Soviet Union, Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, San Salvador, Vietnam, Burma, Ethiopia, and the United States itself.
“The Academy has the moral authority and the obligation to take positions against violations of the basic human rights of scientists — wherever they occur. It must not hesitate to apply pressure in support of those rights. Keeping silent is not an option.
“It is my hope that the Committee, as an arm of the Academy, and as a representative of the scientists who are its members, will continue its efforts wherever it believes they are most needed.
“I dedicate this Award to all those who are endangering their careers and their lives in their belief in the freedom of thought and expression.
“Thank you again for this honor.”
— Svetlana Stone Wachtell.