The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.

 

News and Announcements

Op Ed

Americans have more in common than you might think

September 16, 2020
In his latest op-ed for the Boston Globe, John Shattuck describes findings from his team's national survey, noting that Americans have a more expansive view of their rights and freedoms. 
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Latest Publications

Dangerous Science: Might Population Genetics or Artificial Intelligence Undermine Philosophical Ideas about Equality?

Dangerous Science: Might Population Genetics or Artificial Intelligence Undermine Philosophical Ideas about Equality?

Abstract:

This paper was prepared for an interdisciplinary conference on Gefährliche Forschung? (Dangerous Science?) held at the University of Cologne in February 2020 and is scheduled to appear in a volume of contributions from that event edited by Wilfried Hinsch and Susanne Brandstätter, the organizers, and to be published by de Gruyter. The paper delves into the question proposed to me—might population genetics or artificial intelligence undermine philosophical ideas about equality—without locating the context of this debate or offering a preview of its contents. The first section discusses the ideal of equality, the next two talk about genetics in the context of responses to racism, and the remaining two speak about possible changes that might come from the development of general Artificial Intelligence.

Read full text here

: Mathias Risse | Aug 17 2020
: Risse delves into the extent to which population genetics or artificial intelligence might undermine philosophical ideas about equality—both generally speaking and in the context of responses to racism.
Last updated on 08/16/2020

Mass Incarceration and The Future: An Urgent Need to Address the Human Rights Implications of Criminal Background Checks and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Mass Incarceration and The Future: An Urgent Need to Address the Human Rights Implications of Criminal Background Checks and the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Abstract:

Between 70 and 100 million Americans—one in three— currently live with a criminal record. This number is expected to rise above 100 million by the year 2030.

The criminal justice system in the U.S. has over-incarcerated its citizen base; we have 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prison population. America became known as the “incarceration nation” because our prison and jail population exploded from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 2.2 million today, which became a social phenomenon known as mass incarceration. And along the way, there was a subsequent boom in querying databases for data on citizens with criminal records.

Once a person comes in contact with the U.S. criminal justice system, they begin to develop an arrest and/or conviction record. This record includes data aggregated from various databases mostly, if not exclusively, administered by affiliated government agencies. As the prison population grew, the number of background check companies rose as well. The industry has grown and continues to do so with very little motivation to wrestle with morality, data integrity standards, or the role of individual rights.

This paper address the urgent need to look towards a future where background screening decisions and artificial intelligence collide.

Read full paper here. 

 

: Teresa Y. Hodge & Laurin Leonard | Jul 17 2020
: Examining a future where background screening decisions and artificial intelligence collide.
Last updated on 08/04/2020

Transitional Justice in Colombia

Citation:

The Carr Center Human Rights for Policy. 7/13/2020. Transitional Justice in Colombia. Cambridge: Harvard Kennedy School. See full text.
Transitional Justice in Colombia

Abstract:

President Juan Manuel Santos and Carr Center faculty reflect on the Colombian peace process.

In April 2019, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School hosted a faculty consultation on the integrated system for truth, justice, reparation, and nonrepetition, created as a result of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas in 2016. President Juan Manuel Santos and Carr Center faculty called upon leading voices in the field of transitional justice to share perspectives on the Colombian peace process and to formulate recommendations. The discussion was organized into four sessions focusing on the main components of the peace process: reparations, justice, truth, and nonrepetition.

See full text.

Spanish version of the report can be found here.

: Carr Center | July 13 2020
: President Juan Manuel Santos and Carr Center faculty reflect on the Colombian peace process.
Last updated on 07/13/2020
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Upcoming Events

2020 Sep 23

Acts of Rebellion & Envisioning a New Society: a Conversation with Drs. Vincent Brown and Timothy McCarthy

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Please join The Royall House and Slave Quarters for a dynamic and exciting virtual conversation between Drs. Vincent Brown and Timothy McCarthy about the role of protests and revolts in shaping Black resistance and freedom movements from slave rebellions in the 18th-century Atlantic world, to the Black Lives Matter Movement today. This talk is co-sponsored by the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard and The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Vincent Brown |...
Read more about Acts of Rebellion & Envisioning a New Society: a Conversation with Drs. Vincent Brown and Timothy McCarthy
2020 Sep 24

Washington Bullets: a Conversation with Vijay Prashad about Marxism Today and the Role of the United States in the World

1:30pm to 2:30pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Please join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy for its signature weekly series this fall, The Fierce Urgency of Now, featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color scholars, activists, and community leaders, and experts from the Global South. Hosted and facilitated by Sushma Raman and Mathias Risse, the series also aligns with a course they will co-teach this fall at the Harvard Kennedy School on Economic Justice: Theory and Practice. 

Panelists:

  • Vijay Prashad | Director, Tricontinental:...
Read more about Washington Bullets: a Conversation with Vijay Prashad about Marxism Today and the Role of the United States in the World

Registration: 

2020 Sep 24

Transformation 2020: Popular Democracy Defined

Thu - Sat, Sep 24 to Sep 26, 4:30pm - 1:30pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Welcome to the nexus of awarding-winning art, activism, politics, and culture. Hosted by the Center for Popular Democracy, they are bringing together some of the world’s biggest artists, community organizers, and progressive leaders for a historic multi-hour, cross-platform livestream. 

Dr. Tim McCarthy, Lecturer on History and Literature, Education & Public Policy at Harvard University, will be part of the following sessions: 

  • Thursday, September 24, 4-5:30pm: "Performing 1776: The Politics and Poetics of the...
Read more about Transformation 2020: Popular Democracy Defined
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“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”

- Mathias Risse