The Human Rights Committee of the Council of Finnish Academies promotes the human rights of academics and strives for the freedom of science.

The Human Rights Committee appeals for scientists, engineers and health professionals suffering from serious human rights abuses. In 2021 the Committee appealed for nine academics around the world. This global activity is coordinated by International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies.

The Human Rights Committee is chaired by professor Liisa Laakso. The members – nominated by the executive committee of the Council – are professor Markku Kivinen (vice chair), docent Tuula Juvonen, docent Markus Kari, docent Emilia Palonen, professor Ilkka Pöyhönen, assistant professor Virpi Salojärvi and docent Outi Luova.

Academy Secretary Arto Miettinen is the Secretary of the Committee.

If you have an issue or a question related to human rights of academics, please contact:

Finnish Science Academies' Risto Pelkonen Human Rights Award

Finnish Science Academies’ Risto Pelkonen Human Rights Award can be granted for active efforts in promoting human rights in academic communities. The Human Rights Committee serves as the award jury, and in 2024, the award will be presented for the third time. The award piece will be created in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki.

The criteria for the award:

  • The award can be granted to a person, organization, or community for active efforts in promoting freedom of science, academic freedom or human rights of academics.
  • The awarded person/organization/community can operate locally or internationally, within or outside the academic community.
  • The activity can relate to fostering of human rights (such as freedom of speech) of academics or ensuring the foundations and possibilities for diversified academic work and scientific processes;
  • the activity can relate to immediate intervening in human rights violations of academics or fighting against discrimination in its many forms;
  • The activity can relate to objecting to hate speech, stigmatising of academics, or demeaning of scientific knowledge or communities.