APSA Human Rights Activities

Human Rights
The APSA has a history of involvement in human rights activities.

The American Political Science Association recognizes the connections between human rights and the political science enterprise, from the right of political science researchers and other scholars to conduct their work without fear of harassment or intimidation to the human right to available, accessible, affordable scientific knowledge of quality and the benefits of scientific progress, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations.

Former APSA president, diplomat, and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Ralph J. Bunche drafted sections of the UN charter and played a key role in the development and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

APSA and AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition
The American Political Science Association is a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, a network of scientific, engineering and health membership organizations that recognize the role of science and scientists in the promotion and protection of human rights. The Coalition is devoted to:

(1) bridge-building and coordinating: both within the scientific community – among scientific associations and across disciplines – and between the scientific and human rights communities

(2) education and capacity-building, within scientific associations and within the human rights community.

The APSA’s membership of the Coalition creates multiple opportunities for leadership, engagement and participation in efforts at the intersections of science, technology and human rights.


Meetings: the Coalition meets in Washington, DC in January and July. These meetings provide an opportunity to learn about and engage in robust discussions about contemporary themes at the intersections of human rights, science and technology (e.g., climate change, water, big data), and to further the Coalition goals through project meetings, workshops, and leadership discussions. Meeting information, including video archives, is available here.


Projects: the Coalition is focused on getting work done, from building the capacity of human rights organizations to use scientific methods in their research, to developing teaching materials on human rights for STEM curricula, to bringing institutional change within member organizations. Current opportunities for involvement are presented on the Coalition website.

APSA Activities and the Coalition


The representative of the APSA to the Coalition is Betsy Super. You are welcome to join the Coalition as an affiliated individual. To do so, please email the Coalition Secretariat.

Human Rights Activities

Human Rights References

American Political Science Association (2003). Norms and Rights: A Non-Recursive Model of Human Rights Protection. Human Rights and Repression: The Quest for Understanding. Philadelphia: American Political Science Association.

Beyrer, C. and Kass, N. (2002). Human rights, politics, and reviews of research ethics. The Lancet, 360(9328), pp.246-251.

Cardenas, S. (2009). Mainstreaming Human Rights: Publishing Trends in Political Science. PS: Political Science & Politics, 42(01), pp.161-166.

Landman, T. (2005). The Political Science of Human Rights. British Journal of Political Science, 35(3), pp.549-572.

Mitchell, N. and McCormick, J. (1988). Economic and Political Explanations of Human Rights Violations. World Politics, 40(4), pp.476-498.

Roper, S. and Barria, L. (2009). Political Science Perspectives on Human Rights. Human Rights Review, 10(3), pp.305-308.

Yu, P. (2007). Reconceptualizing Intellectual Property Interests in a Human Rights Framework. 40th ed. Davis, C.A.: University of California Davis Law Review, pp.1039-1149.