Countless scientists are displaced each year by war, political instability, and human-made and natural disasters. Some are killed. Countries that once had well-established science communities and thriving research ecosystems have seen these weakened, even destroyed, by conflict, violence or repression. In some cases, countries in the earlier stages of developing their research ecosystems face the almost complete eradication of the science capacity that they were in the process of building. Those scientists who survive such crises may be displaced internally, forced into exile in neighbouring countries, or end up scattered far from their homes, without jobs and without prospects.
Members of the global scientific community are rightly alarmed whenever a nation’s scientific enterprise faces a crisis which forces its scientists and graduate students to abandon their work and flee. In addition to the human tragedy, the resulting loss of scientific knowledge, systems and data has grave implications for national and international science communities, and for society more widely.
A number of organizations and initiatives are already working to support threatened scientists, whose expertise and skills are a vital resource. To enhance and complement these efforts, and to take this work to an even higher level, there is an urgent need for intensified international collaboration to provide immediate and appropriate long-term support and protection to scholars and scientists who are at-risk, displaced or refugees, so they can continue to make their rightful contributions to global science.
We, the undersigned, have therefore come together to endorse the following Articles of Commitment, which are in line with the spirit and recommendations of key global and regional conventions. We call on all stakeholders of science, and those involved in humanitarian activities, to join us to build a better future for our colleagues.
Read the full declaration here.