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

Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program

Citation:

Averell Schmidt and Kathryn Sikkink. 11/23/2018. “Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program.” Perspectives on Politics, 16, 4, Pp. 1014-1033. See full text.
Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program

Abstract:

Article on : Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program

In the years following the attacks of 9/11, the CIA adopted a program involving the capture, extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and harsh interrogation of suspected terrorists in the war on terror. As the details of this program have become public, a heated debate has ensued, focusing narrowly on whether or not this program “worked” by disrupting terror plots and saving American lives. By embracing such a narrow view of the program’s efficacy, this debate has failed to take into account the broader consequences of the CIA program. We move beyond current debates by evaluating the impact of the CIA program on the human rights practices of other states. We show that collaboration in the CIA program is associated with a worsening in the human rights practices of authoritarian countries. This finding illustrates how states learn from and influence one another through covert security cooperation and the importance of democratic institutions in mitigating the adverse consequences of the CIA program. This finding also underscores why a broad perspective is critical when assessing the consequences of counterterrorism policies.

: Kathryn Sikkink et al. | Nov 23 2018
: Article on : Partners in Crime: An Empirical Evaluation of the CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program
Last updated on 02/03/2020

In July, the Trump-era wave of protests started taking a back seat to campaign rallies

In July, the Trump-era wave of protests started taking a back seat to campaign rallies

Abstract:

Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman contribute to The Washington Post's monthly series on political crowds in the United States. 

For 18 months now, as we’ve counted attendance at political gatherings around the United States, we’ve seen crowds in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For the first time since President Trump’s inauguration, we found one state with no political gatherings. In all, in July, we tallied 743 protests, demonstrations, strikes, marches, sit-ins, rallies and walkouts in all states and the District — except South Dakota.

Our conservative guess is that between 71,502 and 73,483 people showed up at these political events, although more probably showed up, as well. This number is the lowest in one month that we’ve seen since December 2017. This year, January, March and June included some of the highest protest numbers in U.S. history, and June featured unusually high attendance because of LGBTQ Pride, Families Belong Together (which protested the policy that separated migrant families at the border), and the Poor People’s Campaign, among others.

Read the full article. 

: Erica Chenoweth et al. | Oct 19, 2018
: Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman discuss attendance at political gatherings for The Washington Post.
Last updated on 02/03/2020

Is Your Phone Tainted by the Misery of the 35,000 Children in Congo's Mines?

Is Your Phone Tainted by the Misery of the 35,000 Children in Congo's Mines?

Abstract:

In his recent article in The Gaurdian, Senior Fellow Siddharth Kara discusses the human rights violations connected to the cobalt industry. 

My field research shows that children as young as six are among those risking their lives amid toxic dust to mine cobalt for the world’s big electronics firms  -Siddharth Kara, Senior Fellow, Carr Center

"Until recently, I knew cobalt only as a colour. Falling somewhere between the ocean and the sky, cobalt blue has been prized by artists from the Ming dynasty in China to the masters of French Impressionism. But there is another kind of cobalt, an industrial form that is not cherished for its complexion on a palette, but for its ubiquity across modern life.

This cobalt is found in every lithium-ion rechargeable battery on the planet – from smartphones to tablets to laptops to electric vehicles. It is also used to fashion superalloys to manufacture jet engines, gas turbines and magnetic steel. You cannot send an email, check social media, drive an electric car or fly home for the holidays without using this cobalt. As I learned on a recent research trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this cobalt is not awash in cerulean hues. Instead, it is smeared in misery and blood."

Elodie is 15. Her two-month-old son is wrapped tightly in a frayed cloth around her back. He inhales potentially lethal mineral dust every time he takes a breath. Toxicity assaults at every turn; earth and water are contaminated with industrial runoff, and the air is brown with noxious haze. Elodie is on her own here, orphaned by cobalt mines that took both her parents. She spends the entire day bent over, digging with a small shovel to gather enough cobalt-containing heterogenite stone to rinse at nearby Lake Malo to fill one sack. It will take her an entire day to do so, after which Chinese traders will pay her about $0.65 (50p). Hopeless though it may be, it is her and her child’s only means of survival.

Read the full article in The Guardian.

: Siddharth Kara | Oct 12, 2018
: Siddharth Kara discusses the human rights violations connected to the cobalt industry. ​​​​​​​
Last updated on 01/23/2020
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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