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.
This paper was written in preparation for a talk at the Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) in December 2019. Risse was invited to reflect on the widespread and often violent protests that had occurred in Chile during the last three months of 2019 from a standpoint of political theory and the human rights movement. Key themes in this paper include the necessary conditions for the legitimacy of a government and the role of human rights (and the equal or unequal value that such rights may have for different people) in that context; a distinction between policy-based and legitimacy/justice-based protests and one between persuasive and non-persuasive means of protest, and how they apply to highly economically unequal societies in general and to the situation in Chile in particular; some considerations directed at protesters as they think about expanding non-persuasive means of protest to include destruction and violence; some considerations exploring the responsibilities of the government of Chile under these circumstances; and finally some thoughts drawing on the adaptive-leadership approach on current challenges for Chilean politics.
Smith is co-founder and CEO of Fortify Rights and a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. His recent article for the Mekong Review challenges Benjamin Zawacki's claim that human rights organizations are responsible for the Rohyinga Crisis.
The Rohingya genocide in Myanmar has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced more than a million civilians, shocking the conscience of humanity and making the Rohingya a household name. A variety of individuals and institutions are responsible for the egregious situation, including the Myanmar military and police, civilian political elite, and extremist civilians, but in “Humanitarian Breakdown” (in the February 2020 issue), Benjamin Zawacki lays blame in a most unusual place: at the feet of the international human rights movement.
Kathryn Sikkink maps out a plan to encourage voter turnout among college students.
College students have traditionally voted at one of the lowest rates of any group in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the 2018 midterm election, the voting rate at U.S. colleges and universities more than doubled from the previous midterm, jumping from 19% in 2014 to 40%. That increase was 7 percentage points higher than the increase in voting rates among all Americans.
“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