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

Guantanamo

Guantánamo: Bush-era Officials Warn Keeping Prison Open May be $6bn Error

February 2, 2018

Article features Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora
 

Alberto Mora, general counsel of the Department of the Navy from 2001 to 2006, expressed hope that Mattis, who persuaded Trump not to resume the use of torture, may also convince him not to send more inmates to Guantánamo, which Mora called “a ludicrous and extravagant waste of military manpower”.

But even if no more prisoners are sent there, Trump’s...

Read more about Guantánamo: Bush-era Officials Warn Keeping Prison Open May be $6bn Error
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Latest Publications

Businesses, Guns, and Human Rights

Citation:

Patricia Illingworth. 3/22/2018. “Businesses, Guns, and Human Rights.” The Hastings Center. See full text.
Businesses, Guns, and Human Rights

Abstract:

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, resulted in the deaths of 17 people.

Tragically, from January 1 to March 21, 2018, there were 3,088 gun-related deaths and 5,355 gun-related injuries in the United States. Gun violence is a public health problem. But it’s also a human rights problem.  It is time to turn to international human rights and moral and social norms, which ground obligations for individuals and business organizations to limit gun ownership.

Human rights are entitlements that all people have by virtue of their humanity. Gun violence puts a number of human rights at risk. Most obviously, it threatens Article 6 of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “Every human being has the inherent right to life.” Studies show that the mere presence of guns increases the probability of crime, suicide, and accidents.

Ethics asks us to promote the good and to prevent harm to others, especially when we can do so with little inconvenience to ourselves. Individuals are not alone in having moral responsibilities. In the eyes of the law, corporations are persons; they also have moral responsibilities. Businesses that manufacture guns have a moral responsibility to ensure that their products are not used in acts of violence. Businesses are also subject to the far more demanding obligations of international human rights.

Read the full post on The Hastings Center website.

: Patricia Illingworth | Mar 22 2018
: The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, resulted in the deaths of 17 people.
Last updated on 03/11/2020

The ties that bind: How armed groups use violence to socialize fighters

Citation:

Dara Kay Cohen. 9/12/2017. “The ties that bind: How armed groups use violence to socialize fighters.” Journal of Peace Research, 54, 5, Pp. 701-714. See full text.
The ties that bind: How armed groups use violence to socialize fighters

Abstract:

How do armed groups use violence to create social ties? What are the conditions under which such violence takes place?

 

In this article, I describe how armed groups use one type of atrocity, wartime rape, to create social bonds between fighters through a process of combatant socialization. As a form of stigmatizing, public, and sexualized violence, gang rape is an effective method to communicate norms of masculinity, virility, brutality, and loyalty between fighters. Drawing on literature about socialization processes, I derive a set of hypotheses about individual-level factors that may influence vulnerability to violent socialization, including age, previous socialization experiences, and physical security. I analyze the support for these hypotheses using newly available survey data from former fighters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The results show the broad applicability of considering group violence as a form of social control within armed groups, suggest some of the limits of violent socialization, and have implications for both theory and policy.

 

: Dara Kay Cohen | Sept 16 2016
: How do armed groups use violence to create social ties?
Last updated on 01/24/2020

Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective

Citation:

Siddharth Kara. 10/2017. Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective, Pp. 360. Colombia University Press. See full text.
Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective

Abstract:

Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective book by Siddharth Kara
 

Siddharth Kara is a tireless chronicler of the human cost of slavery around the world. He has documented the dark realities of modern slavery in order to reveal the degrading and dehumanizing systems that strip people of their dignity for the sake of profit—and to link the suffering of the enslaved to the day-to-day lives of consumers in the West. In Modern Slavery, Kara draws on his many years of expertise to demonstrate the astonishing scope of slavery and offer a concrete path toward its abolition.

From labor trafficking in the U.S. agricultural sector to sex trafficking in Nigeria to debt bondage in the Southeast Asian construction sector to forced labor in the Thai seafood industry, Kara depicts the myriad faces and forms of slavery, providing a comprehensive grounding in the realities of modern-day servitude. Drawing on sixteen years of field research in more than fifty countries around the globe—including revelatory interviews with both the enslaved and their oppressors—Kara sets out the key manifestations of modern slavery and how it is embedded in global supply chains. Slavery offers immense profits at minimal risk through the exploitation of vulnerable subclasses whose brutalization is tacitly accepted by the current global economic order. Kara has developed a business and economic analysis of slavery based on metrics and data that attest to the enormous scale and functioning of these systems of exploitation. Beyond this data-driven approach, Modern Slavery unflinchingly portrays the torments endured by the powerless. This searing exposé documents one of humanity’s greatest wrongs and lays out the framework for a comprehensive plan to eradicate it.

: Siddharth Kara | Oct 2017
: Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective book by Siddharth Kara
Last updated on 01/24/2020
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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