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

Attacks on the Press Track: a Democratic Backslide

Attacks on the Press Track: a Democratic Backslide

Abstract:

According to Sushma Raman, freedom of press is eroding around the world - including in democratic countries.

The recent conviction of the journalist Maria Ressa in the Philippines for “cyber libel” has brought into sharp relief the global deterioration of press freedom. Across the world, fundamental freedoms of association, expression, and assembly are under threat. A recent report from Civicus found that twice as many people live under repression today as a year ago. Although much of that is due to diminishing freedoms in countries whose governments have long been known for their heavy hands, an increasing number of attacks on the media have come in places where press freedom was once enshrined.

Read the full article.

: Sushma Raman | June 29 2020
: According to Sushma Raman, freedom of press is eroding around the world - including in democratic countries.
Last updated on 06/29/2020

Reimagining Reality: Human Rights and Immersive Technology

Citation:

Brittan Heller. 6/12/2020. “Reimagining Reality: Human Rights and Immersive Technology.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-008. See full text.
Reimagining Reality: Human Rights and Immersive Technology

Abstract:

This paper explores the human rights implications of emergent technology, and focuses on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and immersive technologies. Because of the psychological and physiological aspects of immersive technologies, and the potential for a new invasive class of privacy-related harms, she argues that content creators, hardware producers, and lawmakers should take increased caution to protect users. This will help protect the nascent industry in a changing legal landscape and help ensure that the beneficial uses of this powerful technology outweigh the potential misuses.

In the paper, Heller first reviews the technology and terminology around immersive technologies to explain how they work, how a user’s body and mind are impacted by the hardware, and what social role these technologies can play for communities. Next she describes some of the unique challenges for immersive media, from user safety to misalignment with current biometrics laws. She introduces a new concept, biometric psychography, to explain how the potential for privacy-related harms is different in immersive technologies, due to the ability to connect your identity to your innermost thoughts, wants, and desires. Finally, she describe foreseeable developments in the immersive industry, with an eye toward identifying and mitigating future human rights challenges. The paper concludes with five recommendations for actions that the industry and lawmakers can take now, as the industry is still emerging, to build human rights into its DNA.
 

: Brittan Heller | June 12 2020
: Exploring the human rights implications of virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive technologies.
Last updated on 06/12/2020

The Floyd Protests Are the Broadest in U.S. History — and Are Spreading to White, Small-Town America

The Floyd Protests Are the Broadest in U.S. History — and Are Spreading to White, Small-Town America

Abstract:

Erica Chenoweth discusses the Floyd protests and its impact on law, social policies, and the 2020 elections.

Across the country, people are protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and demanding action against police violence and systemic racism. National media focuses on the big demonstrations and protest policing in major cities, but they have not picked up on a different phenomenon that may have major long-term consequences for politics. Protests over racism and #BlackLivesMatter are spreading across the country — including in small towns with deeply conservative politics.

: Erica Chenoweth et al. | June 6 2020
: Erica Chenoweth discusses the Floyd protests and its impact on law, social policies, and the 2020 elections.
Last updated on 06/18/2020
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Upcoming Events

2020 Jul 15

Civic Engagement and Human Rights: Reviving U.S. Democracy

2:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join us for a conversation with Danielle Allen, Director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and John Shattuck, Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, as they discuss their common purpose of reviving American Democracy in the 21st Century. 

Professor Allen has recently worked with The American Academy to release Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. A report which lays out a case for renewed civic faith. It offers a set of recommendations for building a fresh collective commitment to...

Read more about Civic Engagement and Human Rights: Reviving U.S. Democracy

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2020 Jul 16

Viral Justice: Pandemics, Policing, and Portals with Ruha Benjamin

12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join us for a conversation with Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Panelists: 

  • Ruha Benjamin | Associate Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University
  • Sushma Raman (Moderator)Executive Director, Carr Center 

 

Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton...

Read more about Viral Justice: Pandemics, Policing, and Portals with Ruha Benjamin

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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