Special Initiatives

2020 Feb 25

The International Court of Justice Case on Genocide in Myanmar

12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Austin North, Harvard Law School

In November 2019, The Gambia filed a case with the International Court of Justice alleging that Myanmar military had violated the Genocide Convention for years in its treatment of the Muslim minority group, the Rohingya. A United Nations fact-finding mission had found similar patterns of abuse, documenting widespread violations of human rights in Myanmar against minority groups, including crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. The International Court of Justice handed down provisional orders to protect the Rohingya in January 2020. Now, with the backing of all 57 members of...

Read more about The International Court of Justice Case on Genocide in Myanmar
"I Feel Like We Are People Who Have Never Known Each Other Before": The Experiences of Survivors of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Transitioning From Shelters to Life in the Community
Laura Cordisco Tsai, Vanntheary Lim, and Channtha Nhanh. 1/2020. “"I Feel Like We Are People Who Have Never Known Each Other Before": The Experiences of Survivors of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Transitioning From Shelters to Life in the Community.” Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21. See full text.Abstract

Journal article by Carr Fellow Laura Cordisco Tsai analyzes the transition of living in shelters to acclimating back to life in their communities for survivors of sexual exploitation.

In this article, we explore the experiences of survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Cambodia as they transition from living in trafficking-specific shelter facilities to living in the community. We analyzed data from Chab Dai's Butterfly Longitudinal Research (BLR) project, a 10-year longitudinal study with survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Cambodia utilizing a prospective panel design. We present findings from our analysis of 236 interviews and narrative summaries of interviews conducted with survivors between the years 2011 and 2016 (n=79). An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to understand survivors' experiences during this transition. Themes included: conflicted feelings about life in the community; difficulties completing school and securing employment; violence in the community; limited follow-up; unfulfilled expectations; feeling loved like a family member in the shelter, but abandoned in the community; vulnerability in the community due to dramatic differences between shelters and the community; and varied experiences with case closure. We underscore the importance of understanding and listening to the voices of survivors about their experiences in the anti-human trafficking sector and discuss implications for the design and implementation of services for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia.

Genocide’s Straw Man
Matthew Smith. 2/2020. “Genocide’s Straw Man.” Mekong Review. See full text.Abstract
Matthew Smith challenges a claim that human rights organizations are to blame for the Rohyinga Crisis.

Smith is co-founder and CEO of Fortify Rights and a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. His recent article for the Mekong Review challenges Benjamin Zawacki's claim that human rights organizations are responsible for the Rohyinga Crisis.

The Rohingya genocide in Myanmar has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced more than a million civilians, shocking the conscience of humanity and making the Rohingya a household name. A variety of individuals and institutions are responsible for the egregious situation, including the Myanmar military and police, civilian political elite, and extremist civilians, but in “Humanitarian Breakdown” (in the February 2020 issue), Benjamin Zawacki lays blame in a most unusual place: at the feet of the international human rights movement.

Read the full article. 

2020 Feb 12

Steps Forward, Steps Back: The Struggle Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sogi an Overview of the Findings of the United Nations Independent Expert

11:45am to 1:00pm

Location: 

Taubman 102

The Carr Center’s Human Rights in Hard Places talk series offers unparalleled insights and analysis from the frontlines by human rights practitioners, policy makers, and innovators.... Read more about Steps Forward, Steps Back: The Struggle Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sogi an Overview of the Findings of the United Nations Independent Expert

India's Soft Power: Challenges and Opportunities
Salil Shetty and Tara Sahgal. 12/2019. “India's Soft Power: Challenges and Opportunities.” Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies (December 2019). See full text.Abstract
Salil Shetty's recent paper for the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies explores the resources and potential of soft power in India. 
 

The paper breaks the concept of soft power in the Indian context into two parts: state driven and non-state driven.  Shetty analyzes these resources and interrogates whether India can use its soft power effectively in its quest to become a “great” power in today's world.

There has been a fairly dramatic transformation in the global power map in the last few years. Trump's America has changed the role of the U.S. in the world in a very fundamental way, pulling back from an active role in many parts of the world as well as in the U.N. and most multilateral platforms. China has come out of the closet in terms of more publically asserting its role as the second global superpower. This is most visible in its aggressive positioning in U.N. processes but increasingly portends a tectonic shift in geo-politics in all its dimensions. Europe has also been consumed by internal challenges triggered by the explosive growth of right wing populism which has resulted in Brexit and political turmoil in so many countries.

With the growth in its economy and pervasive presence in the world of internet technology and software, India has undoubtedly acquired a larger voice on the international stage in the last decade or so. The decisive second term victory of a Hindu majoritarian party brings new opportunities and challenges to India's soft power.

Little work has been done to understand the role of India's soft power, let alone factoring the contemporary realities. This paper is by no means aiming to fill this gap through a comprehensive scholarly study on this complex subject. It is a limited exploration to identify some key opportunities and challenges for India in today's context very much from a practical standpoint. We hope it will serve to trigger further research and action.

Read the full text here. 

2020 Feb 27

The New Geopolitical Order

4:15pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Knafel Center | 10 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138

The new geopolitical environment taking shape in many parts of the world tends toward increasing authoritarianism and nationalistic competition. Inwardly focused governments are pursuing individual agendas, and eventually, these differing agendas will collide.... Read more about The New Geopolitical Order

2020 Apr 07

The Price of Civil Rights: Black Lives, White Funding, and Movement Capture

11:45am to 1:00pm

Location: 

Allison Dining Room

The Carr Center’s Human Rights in Hard Places talk series offers unparalleled insights and analysis from the frontlines by human rights practitioners, policy makers, and innovators. Moderated by Sushma Raman, the series highlights current day human rights and humanitarian concerns such as human rights in North Korea, migration on the US-Mexico border, Myanmar, and the dismantling of democracy.

Megan Ming Francis, Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State...

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Gina Haspel Is a Torturer. What Else Does the Senate Need to Know?
Alberto Mora. 3/15/2018. “Gina Haspel Is a Torturer. What Else Does the Senate Need to Know?” Politico . Publisher's VersionAbstract
A new Op-Ed by Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora in Politico.

President Donald Trump is notoriously hostile toward the CIA. He frequently denigrates it in public and reportedly rarely even bothers to read its reports. None of Trump’s critical tweets, utterances or acts, however, carries as much venom or has the potential for causing as much harm to the agency as the president’s recent nomination of Gina Haspel to serve as the CIA’s next director. If evidence were needed of the president’s continuing grudge against the agency, this is it.

Original post, in Politico, here.

Businesses, Guns, and Human Rights
Patricia Illingworth. 3/22/2018. “Businesses, Guns, and Human Rights.” The Hastings Center. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, resulted in the deaths of 17 people.
 
Tragically, from January 1 to March 21, 2018, there were 3,088 gun-related deaths and 5,355 gun-related injuries in the United States. Gun violence is a public health problem. But it’s also a human rights problem.  It is time to turn to international human rights and moral and social norms, which ground obligations for individuals and business organizations to limit gun ownership.

Human rights are entitlements that all people have by virtue of their humanity. Gun violence puts a number of human rights at risk. Most obviously, it threatens Article 6 of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “Every human being has the inherent right to life.” Studies show that the mere presence of guns increases the probability of crime, suicide, and accidents.

Ethics asks us to promote the good and to prevent harm to others, especially when we can do so with little inconvenience to ourselves. Individuals are not alone in having moral responsibilities. In the eyes of the law, corporations are persons; they also have moral responsibilities. Businesses that manufacture guns have a moral responsibility to ensure that their products are not used in acts of violence. Businesses are also subject to the far more demanding obligations of international human rights.

Read the full post on The Hastings Center website.

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