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

Margaret Huang

Fighting the Hate

May 28, 2021

President and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Margaret Huang, joins host Sushma Raman to discuss the Center's tremendous growth, along with its challenges in the road ahead.

... Read more about Fighting the Hate

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Latest Publications

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

The Fourth Generation of Human Rights: Epistemic Rights in Digital Lifeworlds

The Fourth Generation of Human Rights: Epistemic Rights in Digital Lifeworlds

Abstract:

In contrast to China’s enormous efforts to upgrade its system of governance to a new technological level built around a stupefying amount of data collection and electronic scoring, countries committed to democracy and human rights did not upgrade their systems. Instead of adjusting democracy and human rights to the new technological possibilities, those countries ended up with surveillance capitalism. It is vital for the sheer survival of those ideas about governance to perform such an upgrade. The present project aims to contribute to that. I propose a framework of epistemic actorhood in terms of four roles, and characterize digital lifeworlds and what matters about them, in terms of both how they fit in with Max Tegmark’s distinction among various stages of human life and how they give rise to their own episteme and the data episteme, with its immense possibilities of infopower (vocabulary inspired by Foucault). A set of epistemic rights that strengthen existing human rights—as part of a fourth generation of rights—is needed to protect epistemic actorhood in those roles, which would be a long way towards performing this kind of upgrade. In the long run, as we progress into Life 3.0, we need a new kind of human right, the right to the exercise of genuinely human intelligence. The good news is that, to the extent that we can substantiate the meaning of human life in the uncaring world that natural science describes, we can substantiate such a right vis-à-vis nonhuman intelligent life. We must hope that arguments of this sort can persuade a superior intelligence—which is by definition, massively beyond ours, and hard to anticipate.

Read the paper.

author/date: Mathias Risse | Sep 17 2021
teaser text: Life 3.0 and the development of non-human intelligent life call for a fourth generation of human rights, including the the right to the exercise of genuinely human intelligence.
Last updated on 09/28/2021

Carr Center Annual Report: 2020-2021

Citation:

Carr Center Human Rights for Policy. 9/14/2021. Carr Center Annual Report: 2020-2021. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School. Publisher's Version
Carr Center Annual Report: 2020-2021

Abstract:

The Carr Center is pleased to release its 2020-2021 Annual Report. Take a look at our work, and learn how to get involved. 

This past academic year has been a year like no other. In many ways, our mission and work have never felt more relevant since the Center’s founding in 1999. Our 2020–2021 Annual Report highlights the Center’s mission, people, programs, and reach over the past year. In addition to the research, publications, and books developed by our experts, the Center has utilized podcasts, live virtual events, and social media to remain connected remotely with our ever-growing audience around the world. We’d like to thank the community of people who make our work possible: the Carr Center’s faculty, fellows, staff, and Advisory Board; the students at the Harvard Kennedy School; and each of you who has joined us in this unpredictable journey over the past year.

We hope that you remain engaged with our work in the coming months. After all, human rights are not just about institutions, laws, and policies. They are about people coming together, hoping to make the world and their communities a better place—more just, more equitable, and more peaceful. 

Read the Annual Report

 

: Carr Center | Sept 2021
: The Carr Center is pleased to release its 2020-2021 Annual Report. Take a look at our work, and learn how to get involved.
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Upcoming Events

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: 

Zoom Webinar (Registration Required)

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.

Speakers: 

  • Anita Ramasastry | Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
  • Mary Ruggie | Former Adjunct Professor, Harvard University
  • Mathias Risse | Faculty Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy;...
Read more about A Tribute to John Ruggie
2021 Dec 07

Technology for Social Good? AI, Human Rights, and Harm Reduction with Dr. Jay Aronson

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

The volume of information available to human rights practitioners has grown steadily since the globalization of Internet access and the widespread adoption of smartphones across geographies, cultures, and socioeconomic classes. This vast material landscape creates an unprecedented visual record of the experiences of a significant percentage of humanity. When properly collected and analyzed, this material can help human rights analysts, fact-finders, and researchers reconstruct war crimes, human rights violations, and terrorist acts taking place in locations that offer limited or no...

Read more about Technology for Social Good? AI, Human Rights, and Harm Reduction with Dr. Jay Aronson

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