Sanctions having negative impact on scientific research, rights experts warn |

They warn that scientific research and academic freedom are at stake, after reports that research submitted by scholars from sanctioned countries had been removed from publication.

“We are particularly interested in the growing negative impact of existing sanctions regimes on academia and scientific researchas well as initiatives on international academic cooperation, negatively affecting the participation of scholars and academicians from sanctioned countries,” experts speak.

They called on publishers and scientific journal boards to refrain from “excessive compliance” with existing sanctions regimes out of fear of reputational, corporate or other consequences.

Concerns about ‘sanction clauses’

Rights experts are concerned about extending unilateral sanctions to the areas of scientific and academic research, and publishing.

They received information about impediments to academic freedom due to sanctions, including restrictions imposed on the evaluation and publication of research conducted and submitted to international journals. economic.

They expressed particular concern about the existence of “sanctions provisions” contained in the research and publication ethics policies and guidelines of some publishing companies.

“These provisions encourage scientific journal editors to treat submissions from sanctioned countries ‘with caution’. The practice of assuming the legitimacy of unilateral coercive measures does not correspond to many relevant resolutions of the Dong Nhan Quyen Association,” they said.

US: Criteria ‘vague’

Furthermore, these practices are incompatible with international human rights norms and standardsThey added, including the fundamental principle of non-discrimination and the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

The experts specifically referenced the 2016 Guidelines for Certain Activities published by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), noting what they describe as “how vague and complicated interpretation of the criteria for ‘allowed’ publishing activities. ”

This has led some publishers, editors and critics excessive compliance and outright refusal to submit from sanctioned countries, even without preliminary review, for fear of consequences, including personal liability.

Stop being over-compliance

“Scientific and academic research and the dissemination of its findings should not be conditioned by decisions other than those based solely on scientific and academic considerations. They should not be dependent on political decisions and the enforcement of punitive regimes on countries and their citizens,” the United Nations experts stated.

They called on academic associations, publishing companies and editorial boards to take all necessary measures to eliminate undue compliance with existing sanctions regimes.

Academic collaboration and exchange are an integral part of the process of acquiring new knowledge on behalf of the global community, experts say.

“We urge the US Government to withdraw unilateral sanctions, which discriminate against experts and academics from sanctioned countries.”

The experts have communicated their concerns to the US Government. and went to several publishing companies, looking for a clear explanation, but have yet to receive a response.

The four experts who made this claim are Alena Douhan, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; Obiora C. Okafor, Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity; Alexandra Xanthaki,Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; Saad Alfarargi, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development.

They receive assignments from the United Nations Human Rights Council, and are not employees of the United Nations nor are they paid for their work.

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