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

Conflict, Militarization, and Exploitation of Indigenous Land and Resources

Conflict, Militarization, and Exploitation of Indigenous Land and Resources

Abstract:

The 2021 Indigenous Women Convening for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Conference brought together Indigenous scholars and female leaders from seven Indigenous socio-cultural zones around the world. Together, they shared stories of war and conflict in their territories and discussed collective ways of ideating Indigenous conflict resolution and peacemaking processes.

The event was organized by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights; the Scholars at Risk Program; and the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Gender, Justice, and Peace. Co-sponsors included the Center for the Study of World Religions; the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; the Harvard College Writing Program; HUNAP; Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative; and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. The event was moderated by Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Director of Research and Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Shelly Lowe, Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program. Opening remarks were provided by Raquel Vega-Duran, Chair of the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights, and Sushma Raman, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

This publication features the 10 speakers of the conference and their profound statements on the state of human rights and peacemaking in their respective Indigenous zones.

Read the paper.

author/date: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy | 2021
teaser text: Indigenous scholars and leaders from the 2021 Indigenous Women Convening for Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Conference offered insights on the state of human rights and peacemaking in seven Indigenous socio-cultural zones around the world.
Last updated on 10/13/2021

Human Rights and the Pandemic: The Other Half of the Story

Citation:

Elizabeth M. Renieris. 10/2/2021. “Human Rights and the Pandemic: The Other Half of the Story.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. See full text.
Human Rights and the Pandemic: The Other Half of the Story

Abstract:

Human rights are a broad array of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights and freedoms that are universal and inalienable, inherent to the dignity of every human being. The application of human rights to digital technologies has generally focused on individual civil and political rights, such as the freedom of expression and privacy. However, as digital technologies evolve beyond traditional information and communications technologies to increasingly mediate access to everything from healthcare to employment, education, and participation in social and cultural life, an increasingly broad array of human rights are implicated. With humanity more reliant on digital tools and technologies than ever before, the stakes have never been more apparent than during the Covid-19 pandemic. Gripped by the magical potential of digital tools and technologies and the allure of simple solutions to complex governance challenges, governments and key stakeholders have adopted an exceedingly limited view of human rights in relation to these technologies, focusing almost exclusively on a narrow set of civil and political rights while virtually ignoring threats to economic, social, and cultural rights. For those already at the margins, this has exacerbated their digital exclusion. This paper calls for a more expansive view of human rights in relation to technology governance. After contextualizing the role of economic, social, and cultural rights in relation to digital technologies, this paper examines how such rights have been largely absent from the discourse around technologies deployed in the pandemic (“pandemic tech”), as well as the consequences of that omission. The paper then explores how a recalibration of human rights in relation to digital technologies, specifically pandemic tech, could help prevent geopolitical fracturing, reorient the conversation around people rather than technology, and provide a critical backstop against the runaway commercialization that threatens the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights by individuals and communities.

Read the paper.

author/date: Elizabeth M. Renieris | Oct 2 2021
teaser text: The pandemic has helped to expose a critical shortcoming in the current discourse around human rights in relation to the digital age: a lack of consideration for economic, social, and cultural rights.
Last updated on 10/03/2021

Public Health, Technology, and Human Rights: Lessons Learned from Digital Contact Tracing

Citation:

Maria Carnovale and Khahlil Louisy. 9/27/2021. “Public Health, Technology, and Human Rights: Lessons Learned from Digital Contact Tracing.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. See full text.
Public Health, Technology, and Human Rights: Lessons Learned from Digital Contact Tracing

Abstract:

To mitigate inefficiencies in manual contact tracing processes, Digital contact tracing and exposure notifications systems were developed for use as public-interest technologies during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) global pandemic. Effective implementation of these tools requires alignment across several factors, including local regulations and policies and trust in government and public health officials. Careful consideration should also be made to minimize any potential conflicts with existing processes in public health, which has demonstrated effectiveness. Four unique cases—of Ireland, Guayaquil (Ecuador), Haiti, and the Philippines—detailed in this paper will highlight the importance of upholding the principles of Scientific Validity, Necessity, Time-Boundedness, and Proportionality.

Read the paper.

author/date: Maria Carnovale & Khahlil Louisy | Sep 27 2021
teaser text: Digital contact tracing and exposure notifications systems should be developed and implemented in line with the principles of scientific validity, necessity, time-boundedness, and proportionality.
Last updated on 09/28/2021
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Upcoming Events

2021 Nov 18

Pandemics and Portals: Rights in an Era of Technological Innovation

4:00pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Zoom Webinar (Registration Required)

Pandemics and Portals: Rights in an Era of Technological Innovation

Join the UCONN Human Rights Institute for the 2021 Annual Economic and Social Rights Lecture, featuring Sushma Raman. Sushma Raman is the Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She brings over two decades of global experience launching, scaling, and leading social justice and philanthropic programs and collaboratives, building capabilities of grassroots human rights organizations and their leaders, and teaching graduate courses in the public policy schools at Harvard Kennedy...

Read more about Pandemics and Portals: Rights in an Era of Technological Innovation
2021 Nov 30

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America with Dr. Keisha N. Blain

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Zoom Webinar

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America is a manifesto for anyone committed to social justice. Authored by Carr Center Fellow Keisha N. Blain, the book challenges us to listen to a working-poor, Black woman activist with a disability who was an intellectual of the civil rights movement as we grapple with contemporary concerns around race, inequality, and social justice. Dr. Blain will be joined in discussion by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, to demonstrate how...

Read more about Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America with Dr. Keisha N. Blain
2021 Dec 03

A Tribute to John Ruggie

9:00am to 10:15am

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration to Follow)

Join us for a tribute to the profound life and work of John Ruggie, whose efforts to create the United Nations Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have made the world a more equal and just place.

Registration Link to Follow

Speakers: 

  • Mary Ruggie | Former Adjunct Professor, Harvard University
  • Mary Robinson | Former President of Ireland; Adjunct Professor on Climate Justice, Trinity College
  • Rachel...
Read more about A Tribute to John Ruggie
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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