Strategic Human Rights Practice

The Carr Center promotes a more strategic and outcomes-oriented global human rights practice. We research and promote effective advocacy strategies to secure strategic human rights outcomes around the world.

Strategic Human Rights Practice - Experts

Global Governance - Experts

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Global Governance - News

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...

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Faculty Book Publications: 2017 in Review

January 5, 2018

Faculty members at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy published a series of groundbreaking books in 2017, addressing diverse policy issues from the role of women in Rwanda's post-conflict reconciliation; the prevalence of human trafficking and modern slavery; to making human rights work in the 21st century. 

 

Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy Kathryn Sikkink, ...

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Database: Human Rights Courses, Spring 2018

January 5, 2018

IGA 227 - Insurgents, Terrorists, and Violence: Causes and Consequences of Civil War

Faculty: Dara Kay Cohen

Why do civil wars begin? What motivates the members of armed groups, including rebel groups and terrorist organizations? When and how do civil wars end? What are the social and economic consequences of war? In this course, we will consider major questions about civil war, terrorism, and the use of violence by armed groups. We begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of debates...

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UN

Carr Center at the UN

January 5, 2018

On 19 and 20 October, a group of 17 graduate students and fellows visited New York City as part of a Carr Center for Human Rights Policy delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

With more than 70 applications, competition was fierce across the University. Representing the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School, and the Harvard School of Public Health, students and fellows from...

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Global Governance - Publications

John Shattuck. 6/1/2016. “Democracy and Its Discontents.” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, 40, 2, Pp. 173-184. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In contrast to the European tradition of democratic pluralism, John Shattuck points to a new phenomenon in Eastern European states: illiberal democracy. Popularized by authoritarian political discourse in Hungary and Poland, the trend toward illiberalism evidences deep discontent with democracy’s economic, identity, and security implications for Europe. Democracy, however, is capable of reforming itself from the inside, allowing for new structures of participation for its citizens—whereas the strict control of power in illiberal democracy blocks avenues for meaningful change.

Zachary D. Kaufman. 4/7/2016. United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics and Pragmatics, Pp. 382 pages. Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics, and Pragmatics, Zachary D. Kaufman, J.D., Ph.D., explores the U.S. government’s support for, or opposition to, certain transitional justice institutions. By first presenting an overview of possible responses to atrocities (such as war crimes tribunals) and then analyzing six historical case studies, Dr. Kaufman evaluates why and how the United States has pursued particular transitional justice options since World War II. This book challenges the “legalist” paradigm, which postulates that liberal states pursue war crimes tribunals because their decision-makers hold a principled commitment to the rule of law. Dr. Kaufman develops an alternative theory—“prudentialism”—which contends that any state (liberal or illiberal) may support bona fide war crimes tribunals. More generally, prudentialism proposes that states pursue transitional justice options, not out of strict adherence to certain principles, but as a result of a case-specific balancing of politics, pragmatics, and normative beliefs. Dr. Kaufman tests these two competing theories through the U.S. experience in six contexts: Germany and Japan after World War II, the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the 1990-1991 Iraqi offenses against Kuwaitis, the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and the 1994  genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Dr. Kaufman demonstrates that political and pragmatic factors featured as or more prominently in U.S. transitional justice policy than did U.S. government officials’ normative beliefs. Dr. Kaufman thus concludes that, at least for the United States, prudentialism is superior to legalism as an explanatory theory in transitional justice policymaking.

Federica D’Alessandra. 2014. “Israel’s Associated Regime: Exceptionalism, Human Rights and Alternative Legality.” Utrecht Journal of International and European Law. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the context of Israel’s declared permanent state of exception, this article focuses on the legal protection awarded to the Palestinian populations under Israeli control. To broaden the discussion over Palestinian people’s rights, which generally focuses on the confiscation of land and the right to return, the author consciously focuses on anti-terrorism and security measures, which contribute to the creation of what the International Court of Justice has defined as an ‘associated regime’ of occupation. The article is divided into three parts. In the first part, the author discusses Israel’s domestic obligations towards Palestinians (arguing the case of both Palestinian citizens of Israel, and Palestinian residents) and their de jure and de facto discrimination. The second part discusses the applicability of humanitarian law, specifically the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This section discusses the applicability of the Convention to both territories and people under Israeli control. The third part discusses the applicability of international human rights law to all territories under Israeli control and delves into the issue of the mutual relationship between the two international legal regimes in the territories under occupation. The article posits that Israel’s rationale for the non-applicability of such legislation to the Palestinian territories and populations it controls constitutes a form of ‘alternative legality’. The article concludes that Israel’s disproportionate application of security practices and anti-terrorism measures to the Palestinian segment of its population violates Palestinian rights protected under Israel’s domestic and international legal obligations.

Kathryn Sikkink. 2014. “Latin American Countries as Norm Protagonists of the Idea of International Human Rights.” Global Governance, 20.3, Pp. 389-404. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Latin American governments, social movements, and regional organizations have made a far greater contribution to the idea and practice of international human rights than has previously been recognized. Most discussions of the global human rights regime stress its origins in the countries of the Global North. This article explores the role of Latin America states as early protagonists of the international protection of human rights, focusing in particular on the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Histories of human rights in the world emphasize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, as the founding moment of international human rights. Few know that Latin American states passed a similar American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man a full eight months before passage of the UDHR. The American Declaration thus was the first broad enumeration of rights adopted by an intergovernmental organization. This article explores the American Declaration as an example of often overlooked Latin American human rights protagonism that has continued to this day, and that calls into question the idea that human rights originated in only the Global North.

Federica D’Alessandra. 2014. “Human Rights and Alternative Legality in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”.Abstract

This working paper focuses on the legal protection awarded to the Arab populations under Israeli jurisdiction. In analyzing their legal protection, the author distinguishes between Arab Israelis and other Arab populations resident in territories under Israeli jurisdiction. The author does not deal with Israeli settlements or other discriminating laws such as marriage laws and the family reunification laws, but focuses on anti-terrorism measures. The working paper is divided in three parts: in the first part, the author discusses Israel’s domestic obligations towards Arab Israelis and Palestinian residents, and their de facto discrimination. The second part discusses the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian unlawful combatants. The third part discusses the applicability of human rights law to all territories under Israeli jurisdiction, and delves into the issue of the mutual relationship between the two international legal regimes in the territories under occupation. The working paper concludes that many Israeli anti-terrorism measures (such as check-points, night searches of Palestinian households, administrative detentions and targeted executions of Palestinian militants) violate individuals’ rights protected under domestic and international law. Moreover, this working paper finds that Israel’s rationale underpinning the non-applicability of such legislation to the Arab populations under its jurisdiction constitutes a form of ‘alternative legality’ and discrimination.

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