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

Money in Politics

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 11/18/2020. “Money in Politics.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 2020-003. See full text.
Money in Politics

Abstract:

As Yogi Berra once said, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to money in American politics. In the 2000 election, candidates and outside groups spent a combined $3 billion on the presidential and congressional races. Not two decades later, in 2016, the amount spent more than doubled to a combined $6.5 billion. For 2020, forecasters project that the total amount spent on political advertising alone will reach $10 billion.

There’s a simple reason for this exponential rise in political expenditures: the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment to preclude the regulation of many aspects of campaign finance. That decision in 1976 first opened the floodgates of contributions to political campaigns.

 

"Nowhere is money felt more than in the explosion of spending by outside groups to elect and influence candidates in the past decade, which have simultaneously increased amounts while decreasing accountability."

 

In this issue of the Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S. paper series, the authors outline how the bipartisan use of money in politics undermines the democratic process. 

Read the full report.  

: John Shattuck et al. | Nov 18 2020
: The bipartisan use of money in politics undermines the democratic process. 
Last updated on 11/19/2020

Voting Rights

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 11/6/2020. Voting Rights. Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States. 2020002nd ed. Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Read the Report
Voting Rights

Abstract:

After more than a century of expanding the voting rights of previously disenfranchised groups, the American electoral system today is confronted by political and legal maneuvers to curtail the hard-won rights of these same groups, ostensibly in the name of combating fraud and regulating voting, but actually to change the outcome of elections. 

"Political campaigns to suppress or dilute votes corrode democracy, frustrate the popular will, and stimulate polarization."

Attacks on the integrity of the electoral system are not new. Throughout the 19th and much of the 20th century dominant political forces suppressed voting by African Americans and other minorities, women, immigrants, and young people. Manipulation of voting in the 20th century included racist suppression of African American votes, first by Democrats and later by Republicans. These practices are blatant examples of the vulnerability of the electoral process to partisan manipulation and the necessity of reform to safeguard voting rights, especially among these vulnerable groups.

In his timely addition to the Reimagining Rights and Responsibilites in the U.S. paper series, authors John Shattuck, Mathias Risse, and team outline the expansion of the vote through history, the disproportionate impact of voter suppression, and propose a set of policy recommendations accordingly.

Read the full report. 

 

 

: John Shattuck, Mathias Risse | Nov 6 2020
: Political campaigns to suppress or dilute votes corrode democracy, frustrate the popular will, and stimulate polarization.
Last updated on 11/16/2020

Carr Center Annual Report: 2019-2020

Citation:

Carr Center Human Rights for Policy. 11/2/2020. Carr Center Annual Report: 2019-2020. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School. See the Report
Carr Center Annual Report: 2019-2020

Abstract:

The Carr Center is pleased to launch its 2019-2020 Annual Report. Take a look at our work, and learn how to get involved. 

This past academic year, we’ve seen significant economic anxiety, political uncertainty, and public health failures besiege communities and societies around the world. We’ve also witnessed acts of solidarity and kinship—the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the United States, the rise of social movements holding authoritarian leaders to account, and communities offering mutual aid to vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic.

We hope that you remain engaged with our work in the coming months. After all, human rights are not just about institutions, laws, and policies. They are about people coming together, hoping to make the world and their communities a better place—more just, more equitable, and more peaceful. 

Read the Annual Report

 

 

: Carr Center | Nov 2 2020
: The Carr Center is pleased to launch its 2019-2020 Annual Report. Take a look at our work, and learn how to get involved. 
Last updated on 11/06/2020
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Upcoming Events

2020 Dec 01

North Korea’s Information and Technology: The Inflow of Foreign Content and the Regime’s Countermeasures

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

The North Korean regime has traditionally controlled information production, circulation, and consumption. However, over the years, foreign information and content have continued to trickle into the country. This phenomenon has major social and foreign policy implications. Our panelists will discuss how outside actors are getting content into North Korea, how the regime has responded with countermeasures, what kind of macro and micro impact foreign information consumption has on North Korean society, and why these trends are consequential.

The Belfer Center’s ...

Read more about North Korea’s Information and Technology: The Inflow of Foreign Content and the Regime’s Countermeasures
2020 Dec 03

Social Movements and the Mattering of Black Lives

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:

  • Megan Ming Francis | Associate Professor,...
Read more about Social Movements and the Mattering of Black Lives

 

“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