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


Introducing Carr Center's 2016-2017 Fellows

August 25, 2016

The Carr Center is pleased to announce our Fellows for the upcoming academic year. Carr Center Fellowships offer scholars and practitioners the opportunity to spend a semester or year at Harvard conducting research, sharing experiences with students, and exploring critical human rights issues with a distinguished group of peers. Our fellows come with a range of experience as researchers, practitioners and leaders in the filed of human rights.

See more information on all of Carr Center's fellows for the 2016-2016 year...

Read more about Introducing Carr Center's 2016-2017 Fellows
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Latest Publications

Facts Aren’t Enough to Save Liberal Democracy


Chistopher Robichaud. 1/17/2017. “Facts Aren’t Enough to Save Liberal Democracy.” Niskanen Center .
Facts Aren’t Enough to Save Liberal Democracy


Facts Aren’t Enough to Save Liberal Democracy by Carr Center's Christopher Robichaud.

"Facts these days are taking a beating in politics. A month or so back, Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes shared on “The Diane Rehm Show” that “[t]here’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, as facts.” She was pilloried in the press over this, not unsurprisingly, though her words, taken at face value, do at least convey a sense of loss over our purported predicament—it’s unfortunate that there aren’t any facts anymore. Unfortunate or not, is she right that truth has left the building?

Well, no, of course not. We still have death and taxes, if nothing else, two stubborn, non-negotiable facts of modern life. And even if Republicans somehow manage to do away entirely with the latter in the first hundred days of Trump’s presidency, I’m pretty sure we’ll be stuck with our own mortality for at least a little while longer.

The really real world, in other words, didn’t suddenly slip away during the 2016 election cycle, impressions to the contrary notwithstanding. Be that as it may, it’s hard to deny that something funny is going on."
Read the full post on the Niskanen Center website.

: Christopher Robichaud | Jan 17 2017
: Facts Aren’t Enough to Save Liberal Democracy by Carr Center's Christopher Robichaud.
Last updated on 01/23/2020

Mike Pompeo Is Unfit to Lead the CIA If He Doesn't Reject Torture

Mike Pompeo Is Unfit to Lead the CIA If He Doesn't Reject Torture


Article in The Guardian by Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora.

"Among the flurry of confirmation hearings happening this week in the Senate, one in particular will signal whether President-to-be Donald Trump and his administration are, indeed, serious about restoring the failed and discredited Bush-era torture policy.

Trump’s pick for CIA chief, the US representative Mike Pompeo, will face the Senate intelligence committee and no doubt will be asked about his past support for cruelty. If he fails to renounce torture at his hearing, the Senate should deem Pompeo unfit for the office and vote down his nomination.

I know what’s at stake from my own experience. I was the navy’s chief lawyer when, in 2002, I learned that detainees held at Guantánamo were being subjected to cruel and unlawful interrogation practices. This wasn’t a case of “bad apples” – it was a case of officials at the highest levels of government choosing to radically reinterpret, distort or violate the law so as to knowingly apply torture. That can’t happen again."

Read the full Op-Ed in The Guardian.

: Alberto Mora | Jan 12 2017
: Article in The Guardian by Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora.
Last updated on 01/23/2020

We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away


Steven Livingston and Jonathan Drake. 1/9/2017. “We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away.” The Washington Post .
We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away


Article in The Washington Post by Carr Center Senior Fellow Steven Livingston.

"With Russian and Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime rapidly closing in, the situation for those trapped in eastern Aleppo in the first week of December was growing grimmer by the hour. It was especially dire for the White Helmets, a Syrian first-responders group that had won international acclaim for its humanitarian work, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Assad regime held a different view, describing the group as rebels and terrorists.

On Dec. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Boston, one of the first messages from the White Helmets to reach researchers at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative said that “three gas bombs have been dropped in the area within the last two hours and they [the White Helmets] feel they have less than 48 hours to evacuate before they are seized.” The Harvard group was asked to help find an escape route out of Aleppo for the White Helmets and their families, about 150 people in all.

How could Harvard scholars sitting in Cambridge, Mass., help 150 people find their way out of a war zone? We hoped it could be done with commercial remote-sensing satellites."

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

Steven Livingston is a senior fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and a professor at George Washington University.

Jonathan Drake is a senior program associate with the Geospatial Technologies Project at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

: Steven Livingston et al. | Jan 1 2017
: We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away
Last updated on 01/23/2020
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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