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.

 

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Latest Publications

Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States: Toward a More Equal Liberty

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 10/8/2020. “Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States: Toward a More Equal Liberty.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 2020-01. See full text.
Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States: Toward a More Equal Liberty

Abstract:

Americans today know they face threats to their rights, their democracy, their health and their economy. These threats are interrelated and demand a transformative response. Transformations have occurred at other pivotal moments in our nation’s history—at its founding during the American Revolution, its Reconstruction after the Civil War, its recovery from the Great Depression, its rise after World War II, and its reimagining during the Civil Rights Movement. Can today become a similar moment of transformation, turning threats into opportunities through the power of civic activism, voting, and government response? Can we reimagine the promise of rights that bind us together as a nation of diverse histories, identities, and lived experiences? 
 
With the release of their nonpartisan, evidence-based report, Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights provide a guide for the nation wrestling with its values. This blueprint for protecting and expanding citizens’ rights proposes policy changes to strengthen democratic processes; safeguard equal protection, equal opportunity, and due process of law; and better protect freedoms of speech, media, religion and privacy. The Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities Project is directed by John Shattuck, Carr Center Senior Fellow and former US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The report and the project are overseen by a faculty committee chaired by Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse.
 
The report offers an in-depth analysis of the state of rights in America in 2020, and then offers 80 recommendations to address failures to protect these rights. The Reimagining Rights team researched fifteen topics in five broad categories that are fundamental to protecting and expanding citizens’ rights. The Carr Center will continue to publish the fifteen reports in the coming months that expand upon specific rights domains in greater detail, including voting rights, money in politics, civic education, racial equality, women’s rights, and other areas of research. Sign up for our newsletter and follow our social media channels to stay up-to-date as we release each report.

Read the Executive Summary.

 

Read the Additional Reports: 

  1. Voting Rights
  2. Money in Politics
  3. Civic Education
  4. Racial Discrimination
  5. Women's Rights
  6. LGBTQ+ Rights
  7. Disability Rights
  8. Equal Access
  9. Immigration
  10. Criminal Justice & Public Safety
  11. Gun Rights & Public Safety
  12. Freedom of Speech & Media
  13. Religious Freedom
  14. Hate Crimes
  15. Privacy, Personal Data, and Surveillance
: John Shattuck, Mathias Risse | Oct 8 2020
: Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights provide a guide for the nation wrestling with its values.
Last updated on 04/23/2021

AI Principle Proliferation as a Crisis of Legitimacy

Citation:

Mark Latonero. 9/30/2020. “AI Principle Proliferation as a Crisis of Legitimacy.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-011. See full text.
AI Principle Proliferation as a Crisis of Legitimacy

Abstract:

While Artificial Intelligence is a burgeoning field today, there is a growing concern about the mushrooming of proposed principles on how AI should be governed.

In his latest Carr Center discussion paper, fellow Mark Latonero posits that human rights could serve to stabilize AI governance, particularly if framed as an anchor to guide AI usage that could avert both everyday and catastrophic social harms.

Read the full document here. 

: Mark Latonero | Sept 30 2020
: While Artificial Intelligence is a burgeoning field today, there is a growing concern about the mushrooming of proposed principles on how AI should be governed.
Last updated on 10/05/2020

Defunding the Police Might Leave Americans More Surveilled and Less Secure

Defunding the Police Might Leave Americans More Surveilled and Less Secure

Full Text

Over the summer, while announcing the disbanding of a controversial plainclothes unit of the New York City Police Department after weeks of Black Lives Matter protests, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea referred to the need for “21st-century policing” that would use a range of technological tools—ShotSpotter (a sensor system that estimates the location of gunfire), video, DNA, and more—instead of “brute force.” Reliance on such technologies could become the norm as calls for police reform—in particular, the defunding of the police—take root around the country. However, making such changes without adequate public oversight could result in Black people being surveilled and controlled even further.

Read the article. 

: Sushma Raman | Aug 25 2020
: Technology in policing might appear more benign than rogue cops or racist judges, but a look at global trends gives pause.
Last updated on 04/13/2021
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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