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

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Mathias Risse, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration, named Faculty Director of Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

October 9, 2018

Cambridge, MA—Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced that Mathias Risse, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration, will serve as the Faculty Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Risse’s work and research is focused on the intersection of philosophy and public policy. His research addresses many...

Read more about Mathias Risse, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration, named Faculty Director of Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
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Latest Publications

Hate Crimes

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 2/22/2021. “Hate Crimes.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 015. See full text.
Hate Crimes

Abstract:

The Department of Justice began prosecuting federal hate crimes cases after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Thus, the literature on hate crime is new, though rapidly growing. The first American use of the term “hate crime” emerged during the Civil Rights Movement in the second half of the 20th century.  The term typically refers to bias-motivated violence. But the variation in hate crimes laws and data collection policies per state has created disparities in protection against hate crimes, which leaves people vulnerable depending on where they live. Without proper hate crime statutes and data collection, it is difficult to know the true nature and magnitude of the problem of hate crimes in the United States. In order to allocate resources and deter future hate crimes, law enforcement agencies need to understand the problem at hand. 

Read the paper. 

See all issues of the Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities Series. 

: John Shattuck and Mathias Risse | Feb 22 2021
: Without proper hate crime statutes and data collection, it is difficult to know the true nature and magnitude of the problem of hate crimes in the United States.

Religious Freedom

Citation:

John Shattuck and Mathias Risse. 2/19/2021. “Religious Freedom.” Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States, 014. Read full text.
Religious Freedom

Abstract:

The complicated relationship of religion and government predates the founding of the United States. The Founders grappled with this dilemma for years before compromising on the final language of the First Amendment. Even then, the issue was far from settled: the US has struggled since its founding to reconcile the right of religious freedom with the reality of governing a pluralist democracy with an increasingly diverse population. 


Today, a struggle over the scope of religious freedom is taking place in politics, the courts, and across American society. Claims of religious freedom are increasingly receiving preferential treatment in both political discourse and in the courts when religious beliefs come into conflict with other rights. That is particularly true for women’s reproductive rights and the rights of individuals to non-discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity. 


At the same time, a controversy has emerged over the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, in which recent Supreme Court cases have pitted the prohibition on establishment of religion against the right of religious free exercise. The central question over religious rights today is how to strike an appropriate balance between rights when they come into conflict. This question has troubled the American Republic since its formation.
 

Read the full paper. 

: John Shattuck and Mathias Risse | Feb 19 2021
: Today, a struggle over the scope of religious freedom is taking place in politics, the courts, and across American society.

We Need a Racial Reckoning to Save Democracy

Citation:

Megan Ming Francis and Deepak Bhargava. 2/17/2021. “We Need a Racial Reckoning to Save Democracy.” The Nation. Read the article.
We Need a Racial Reckoning to Save Democracy

Abstract:

The crisis of American democracy that burst into view on January 6 is rooted in our country’s long history of racism. To begin the work of repair, President Biden issued executive orders undoing many of the policies of the Trump administration and breaking new ground, like ending private prison contracts and embedding racial equity analysis in the federal bureaucracy. As important and welcome as these actions are, they are not enough. A crucial mistake recurs in American history: trying to move forward without reckoning honestly with injustice. We have an opportunity to break this pattern of forgetting. Remembrance and repair are not just morally necessary—they are the keys to saving our fragile multiracial democracy. Here we offer a plan to undertake that vital work.

Read the article. 

: Megan Ming Francis & Deepak Bhargava | Feb 17 2021
: We must undergo a truth and reconciliation process in order to establish a new civic consensus.
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Upcoming Events

2021 Nov 03

2021 Symposium on Intercultural Digital Ethics

Wed - Thu, Nov 3 to Nov 4, 9:00am - 1:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Recent advances in the capability of digital information technologies—particularly due to advances in artificial intelligence—have invigorated the debate on the ethical issues surrounding their use. However, this debate has often been dominated by ‘Western’ ethical perspectives, values and interests, to the exclusion of broader ethical and socio-cultural perspectives. Against this backdrop, the 2021 Symposium on Intercultural Digital Ethics will bring together a range of cultural, social and structural perspectives on the ethical issues relating to digital information technologies, with...

Read more about 2021 Symposium on Intercultural Digital Ethics

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2021 Nov 04

Protests and Promises with Dr. Megan Ming Francis

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Please join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy for one of its signature series this fall, The Fierce Urgency of Now, drawing upon the famous quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” The fall series will focus on the intersection of racial, economic, and social justice in the United States. Information on how to access the event can...

Read more about Protests and Promises with Dr. Megan Ming Francis

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2021 Nov 09

Towards Life 3.0 with Professor Jamal Greene

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century is a talk series organized and facilitated by Dr. 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...

Read more about Towards Life 3.0 with Professor Jamal Greene

Registration: 

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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