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Committee on Human Rights of Mathematicians

General Description

Principal Activities

The AMS is committed to speaking whenever mathematicians are deprived of the opportunity to practice their profession due to violations of the freedoms enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( and the Affirmation1 adopted by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. This Committee will assist the Society in such matters by reviewing alleged violations of human rights of mathematicians and by recommending appropriate action to the AMS. For this purpose, a mathematician is a person professionally engaged in a mathematical science (such as pure mathematics, applied mathematics, mathematical statistics, computer science, or operations research) or trained for such activity.

The Committee should arrive at recommendations for action using common sense, any source of information available, and the advice of organizations which have had extensive experience in human rights cases such as the International League for the Rights of Man and Amnesty International. Some examples of recommendations that the Committee might make include (but are not limited to):

  1. that the AMS President write a letter,
  2. that the AMS membership be informed about a case (e.g., informed of a petition that members may wish to sign),
  3. that a news item be posted to the AMS website,
  4. that the AMS Council take an action in the name of the Council, or call a referendum on an action to be taken in the name of the Society.

The Committee files an annual report with the AMS Secretary's Office.

Other Activities

The AMS President may appoint up to two members as representatives to the American Association for the Advancement of Science Human Rights Coalition, and any travel of theirs to coalition meetings in Washington D.C. (no more than twice a year) will be reimbursed.

Miscellaneous Information

The business of this committee can be done by email or videoconference.

Note to the Chair

For the purpose of archiving the committee activities, the Secretary maintains a central file system for archiving committee records. Committee Chairs are asked to submit committee records on yearly basis. Chairs can submit material at their discretion, and some materials that they may wish to provide are meeting minutes, agenda, and emails. Confidential material should be noted, so that it can be handled in a confidential manner.


Past Members

A list of current and past members is available here:

1. As expressed in the 2008 U.N. declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, AMS considers sexual orientation and gender identity to be included under “other status” in the enumerated categories of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.