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

Mathias Risse

On Justice

November 23, 2020

Carr Center Faculty Director, Mathias Risse, joins host Sushma Raman in a discussion on distributive justice, political philosophy, and human rights.

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Latest Publications

Immigration

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 2/4/2021. “Immigration.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 10. See full text.
Immigration

Full Text

The United States is a nation of immigrants. For centuries, waves of migrants and refugees have arrived in America seeking economic opportunity or religious freedom. While many have found what they desired, and assimilated into American culture, many others have encountered persecution, resentment, and xenophobia. As the third rail of American politics, immigration has long been a source of controversy, with policy split between two competing visions of what the country could be: on the one hand, a rights-oriented, humanitarian vision that imagines open doors to opportunity and shelter; on the other hand, an exclusionary and Ameri-centric vision that imagines protected, walled-off borders. Recently, our politics and media have been flooded with images of the latter: children piled into cages at detention camps, migrant caravans “invading” the southern border, endless fights in the courts over walls and travel bans. These images did not originate with the Trump administration—previous presidents have also pursued anti-immigration policies on asylum and deportations—though the current administration has greatly exacerbated them. 

Building on the well-established legal foundation for a rights-based vision of immigration, comprehensive reform in due process and humanitarian protections are necessary for those arriving at our borders.

Read the full paper

See the other issues of our Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities series here

: John Shattuck and Mathias Risse | Feb 4 2021
: Comprehensive reform in due process and humanitarian protections are necessary for those arriving at our borders.
Last updated on 02/05/2021

Equal Access to Public Goods and Services

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 2/2/2021. “Equal Access to Public Goods and Services.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 009. See full text.
Equal Access to Public Goods and Services

Abstract:

A right of equal access to public goods and services is rooted in the rights to ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ With these rights, the Declaration of Independence asserts the concept of equality as a founding principle, while nearly a century later in the nation’s “second founding” after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution goes further in guaranteeing equal protection of the law. These documents create the principle from which a right of equal access is derived, including access to education, health care, housing, and environmental protection.

Throughout American history, the concepts of liberty and equality have been intertwined but also conflicted. 

Current trends within public education, health care, housing, and environmental protection reflect burgeoning disparities in opportunity. Public policy in recent years has centered around the promotion of macroeconomic growth but has done little to guarantee individual and societal well-being, reinforcing the focus of the private sector on maximizing shareholder value, often at the expense of employees and consumers. These policies have exacerbated the inequality of access to public goods and services, such as health and education, among significant portions of the population, who lack the agency and the opportunity to sustain themselves. It is critical that the United States responds to the public health and economic crises by protecting liberty, equality, and securing equal access to public goods and services.

Read the full paper. 

 

: John Shattuck and Mathias Risse | Feb 2 2021
: The U.S. must respond to the public health and economic crises by protecting liberty, equality, and securing equal access to public goods and services.
Last updated on 02/02/2021

Disability Rights

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 1/21/2021. “Disability Rights.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 008. See full text.
Disability Rights

Abstract:

Nearly 61 million Americans have a disability, making the group the country’s largest minority. Individuals with disabilities cut across race, gender, and sexual orientation. Since people with disabilities are disproportionately older, they have also made up an expanding share of the general population as the U.S. population has aged. Unlike other more fixed identities, any person can become disabled at any time, due to severe injury, illness, trauma, pregnancy, or simply aging. In fact, while only 11% of people under ages 18 to 64 reported having a disability in 2017, 35% of people ages 65 and over reported having one, illustrating the fluid nature of disability status.

Disabilities include a range of conditions, both visible and invisible, and including physical, mental, and cognitive impairments—all of which require different types of protection against different types of discrimination. These complexities make understanding and advancing disability rights more challenging. Moreover, people with disabilities continue to face challenges as a result of policies that affect them both directly and indirectly. Renewing rights for people with disabilities requires both reinstating and extending equal protections, and affirmatively expanding accommodations to better allow them to participate meaningfully in all aspects of society. 

Read the full paper. 

See other issues of the Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities project here

: John Shattuck and Mathias Risse | Jan 21 2021
: Renewing rights for people with disabilities requires reinstating and extending equal protections to affirmatively expanding accommodations to better allow them to participate meaningfully in all aspects of society. 
Last updated on 01/21/2021
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Upcoming Events

2021 Apr 23

'Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019' Panel Discussion

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Hutchins Center for African American Research for a panel discussion on Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019. Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Dr. Keisha N. Blain (Carr Center Fellow), have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal...

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2021 Apr 26

From Citizens United to Bots United: Reinterpreting "Robot Rights" as a Corporate Power Grab

3:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century is a talk series organized and facilitated by Mathias Risse, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy. Drawing inspiration from the title of Max Tegmark’s book, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, the series draws upon a range of scholars, technology leaders, and public interest technologists to address the ethical aspects of the long-term impact of artificial intelligence on society and human life.

... Read more about From Citizens United to Bots United: Reinterpreting "Robot Rights" as a Corporate Power Grab

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2021 May 19

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

1:00pm to 2:30pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

May 31, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, when a violent white mob nearly destroyed the formerly thriving and prosperous African American community in the Greenwood district of Tulsa (also known as Black Wall Street). Over 300 African Americans were killed, and thousands were displaced. Hundreds of homes and businesses burned to the ground. In the decades since this occurred, the massacre was covered up, local officials obstructed the redevelopment of Greenwood, and the local chapter of the KKK became one of the largest in the U.S.

Join us for a...

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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