The Committee of Concerned Scientists (CCS) is a human rights’ organization compounded of scientists, engineers and academics. This group appeared in 1972, in New York and Washington as a committee of scientists that wanted to help their Soviet counterparts, mainly the USSR scientists who were asked to leave the country and were denied their visa; The so-called “refusenik”. That refusal came with the argument that they knew State secrets they could share with their foreign colleagues. Many of them lost their jobs at research centers and universities and were prevented from attending conferences in the scientific field. Some of these academics were deprived of their titles and forced to work in forced labor camps.
Among the different works that the Committee organized to assist these scientists, one of the most striking examples was the Science Frontiers Conference. The Committee sponsored this conference in Moscow, in 1988. It took place in the private apartments of the scientists who had been refused to leave the country. Being blocked from participating in other international meetings, during this conference the scientists were able to present their researches.
Although this group started working more directly with scientists from Eastern Europe, its work quickly evolved into other fields and found human rights’ violations in more than seventy-five countries, such as refusals of travel for Israeli scientists, the arrest of teachers in China and violence against students in Ethiopia.
CCS promotes academic freedom and the right of scientists to collaborate in research and share data, to travel between conferences and meetings and to emigrate, if they wish so. More broadly, it deals with the defense of human rights.