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.
The world is rapidly changing, and with it, the human rights landscape continues to shift. As these changes continue, so does the work of the Carr Center to bring human rights front-and-center into our everyday lives. Our 2021-2022 annual report highlights the Carr Center’s growing reach over the past year, thanks to the continued expansion of our programs and the dedication of our faculty, fellows, and students to human rights policy and research.
Our new research, publications, books, podcast episodes, and webinars over the course of the year—created in tandem with our faculty and fellows—have reached over 150 countries around the world, bringing the Carr Center’s mission into the homes, universities, and workplaces of thousands. To learn more about what the Carr Center accomplished during the 2021-2022 academic year, click the link below.
Read the report.
Abstract:Democratic constitutionalism was the victorious ideology of the 20th century, having defeated the alternatives that appeared over the decades: communism, fascism, Nazism, military regimes, and religious fundamentalism. However, in these first decades of the 21st century, something seems to not be going very well. Some describe it as a democratic recession. This paper identifies three phenomena that underlie this historical process: populism, extremism, and authoritarianism, as well as their political, economic-social, and cultural-identity causes. Then, after an analysis of the world context, this article focuses on the Brazilian experience in recent years, narrating the threats to constitutional legality and the institutional reaction. The final part discusses the limits and possibilities of constitutional courts in the exercise of their role of defending constitutionalism and democracy.
Read the Paper.
Machine learning is everywhere. AI-evangelists promise that data-driven decision-making will not only boost organizational efficiency, it will also help make organizations fairer and advance social justice. Yet the effects of machine learning on social justice, human rights, and democracy will depend not on the technology itself, but on human choices about how to design and deploy it. Among the most important is whether and how to ensure systems do not reproduce and entrench pervasive patterns of inequality.
The authors argue that we need radical civil rights reforms to regulate AI in the digital age, and must return to the roots of civil rights. This paper is adapted from Josh Simons's forthcoming book, Algorithms for the People: Democracy in the Age of AI, published by Princeton University Press this Fall.
“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