Institutions of Global Governance & Civil Society

2018 Feb 15

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Bill Rapp - Use of Military Force in the War on Terror in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan

5:30pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Taubman T-520 (Allison Dining Room), Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

fierce urgencyThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be facilitated by Professor Mathias Risse.

At...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Bill Rapp - Use of Military Force in the War on Terror in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan
Alberto Mo. 2/5/2018. “How Trump Just Might Close Guantanamo Prison.” Defense One.Abstract

The president asked SecDef and Congress to ensure that detention policies support warfighting aims. That should mean shutting Gitmo down.

Will President Trump close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay?  

This question may sound preposterous. After all, President Obama, who called the prison a threat to national security and American ideals, actually tried to close it. President Trump, by contrast, is on record as vehemently favoring not only its continuation but its expansion. On Jan. 30 he reaffirmed that commitment both in his State of the Union address and in an executive order revoking President Obama’s order commanding its closure. 

Why, then, even raise the prospect of closing Guantanamo during this administration? The answer lies in two related actions recently taken by the president: his command to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to “reexamine our military detention policy” and report back to him within 90 days and his request to Congress to ensure that “we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists.” The two actions in conjunction represent an unexpected open-mindedness on the part of the president with respect to detention policy. By seeking a broad-focus, “blank-sheet-of-paper” review, asking Mattis to take charge, and inviting Congress to join with them, President Trump acted prudently and, dare I say it, wisely. 

Full Op-Ed in Defense One.

2018 Feb 12

The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Douglas Johnson - Trump's Human Rights Policy: Waiting for the Shoe to Drop

5:30pm to 6:45pm

Location: 

Wexner 434 AB, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA

fierce urgencyThe Carr Center is excited to announce its 2018 Speaker Series: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Human Rights in 2018. The series will be facilitated by Professor...

Read more about The Fierce Urgency of Now Speaker Series: Douglas Johnson - Trump's Human Rights Policy: Waiting for the Shoe to Drop
Kathryn Sikkink. 2017. Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century, Pp. 336. Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A history of the successes of the human rights movement and a case for why human rights work

evidenceforhopecoverEvidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.

Attacks on the human rights movement’s credibility are based on the faulty premise that human rights ideas emerged in North America and Europe and were imposed on developing southern nations. Starting in the 1940s, Latin American leaders and activists were actually early advocates for the international protection of human rights. Sikkink shows that activists and scholars disagree about the efficacy of human rights because they use different yardsticks to measure progress. Comparing the present to the past, she shows that genocide and violence against civilians have declined over time, while access to healthcare and education has increased dramatically. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but Sikkink’s investigation into past and current trends indicates that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being.

Exploring the strategies that have led to real humanitarian gains since the middle of the twentieth century, Evidence for Hope looks at how these essential advances can be supported and sustained for decades to come.

First published in 2017.

Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her books include The Justice Cascade (Norton) and Activists beyond Borders. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

2018 Feb 08
2018 Jan 27

2018 Human Rights Symposium

(All day)

Location: 

Starr Auditorium, 79 JKF Street, Cambridge MA

The Symposium will create a space for discussion and partnership among activists, policy makers, Harvard students, and academics involved in the struggles of oppressed groups across the world. The objectives of the Symposium are to:

•Examine the implementation of human rights frameworks and identify common challenges and opportunities for human rights struggles around the world;

•Suggest effective tactics to protect rights;

•Examine ways in which...

Read more about 2018 Human Rights Symposium
UN

Study Group: Spring 2018, Metamorphosis - New Rights On The Horizon

January 16, 2018

Rights are not static things. They don’t stay the same from generation to generation but evolve and change depending on changing norms and circumstances. In a sense, they adapt to history. This is an unpopular notion. Most human rights advocates understandably fear that, if long-fought-for rights are not grounded in the bedrock of such things as natural law or inherent human dignity, they may be subject to disregard or even repeal. As we will argue, rights represent a description of the good society, a society that protects and advances its members’ “lives, liberties, and pursuit of...

Read more about Study Group: Spring 2018, Metamorphosis - New Rights On The Horizon

Study Group: Confronting Corruption in Defense of Human Rights

January 16, 2018

Carr Center Senior Fellow Sherman Teichman and Co-Convener Professor Nikos Passas will convene the second semester of their study group, exploring the relationship between corruption and human rights. Download the study group brochure here.

The objective of this study group is to deepen and expand our understanding of the links between...

Read more about Study Group: Confronting Corruption in Defense of Human Rights

Pages