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

Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World

Citation:

Arthur Applbaum. 11/19/2019. Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World. 1st ed., Pp. 304. Cambridge : Harvard University Press. See full text.
Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World

Abstract:

In this rigorous and timely study, Arthur Isak Applbaum argues that adherence to procedure is not enough: even a properly chosen government does not rule legitimately if it fails to protect basic rights, to treat its citizens as political equals, or to act coherently.

How are we to reconcile every person’s entitlement to freedom with the necessity of coercive law? Applbaum’s answer is that a government legitimately governs its citizens only if the government is a free group agent constituted by free citizens. To be a such a group agent, a government must uphold three principles. The liberty principle, requiring that the basic rights of citizens be secured, is necessary to protect against inhumanity, a tyranny in practice. The equality principle, requiring that citizens have equal say in selecting who governs, is necessary to protect against despotism, a tyranny in title. The agency principle, requiring that a government’s actions reflect its decisions and its decisions reflect its reasons, is necessary to protect against wantonism, a tyranny of unreason.

Today, Applbaum writes, the greatest threat to the established democracies is neither inhumanity nor despotism but wantonism, the domination of citizens by incoherent, inconstant, and incontinent rulers. A government that cannot govern itself cannot legitimately govern others.

 

: Arthur Applbaum | Nov 19 2019
: Arthur Isak Applbaum argues even a properly chosen government does not rule legitimately if it fails to protect basic rights, to treat its citizens as political equals, or to act coherently.
Last updated on 02/25/2020

The Science of contemporary Street Protest: New efforts in the United States

The Science of contemporary Street Protest: New efforts in the United States

Abstract:

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, there has been substantial and ongoing protest against the Administration. Street demonstrations are some of the most visible forms of opposition to the Administration and its policies. This article reviews the two most central methods for studying street protest on a large scale: building comprehensive event databases and conducting field surveys of participants at demonstrations. After discussing the broader development of these methods, this article provides a detailed assessment of recent and ongoing projects studying the current wave of contention. Recommendations are offered to meet major challenges, including making data publicly available in near real time, increasing the validity and reliability of event data, expanding the scope of crowd surveys, and integrating ongoing projects in a meaningful way by building new research infrastructure.

: Erica Chenoweth et al. | Oct 23 2019
: Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, there has been substantial and ongoing protest against the Administration.
Last updated on 02/11/2020

Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.

Citation:

Ralph Ranalli. 9/30/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School. See full text.
Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.

Abstract:

Americans live in a country founded on the concept of individual rights, but human rights experts say more work still needs to be done teaching people what rights actually are, where they come from, and how their neighbors’ rights intertwine with their own.

A major new initiative from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will seek to bridge that gap, particularly in the area of how individual rights are inextricably linked to societal responsibility. The two-year research initiative is titled “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the US.”

Read the full article here

: Ralph Ranalli | Sept 30 2019
: Major new initiative at Carr seeks to bridge gap between individual rights and societal responsibility.
Last updated on 02/03/2020
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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