Articles

Submission to the Commission on Unalienable Rights
Gerald L. Neuman. 4/30/2020. “Submission to the Commission on Unalienable Rights.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-007. See full text.Abstract
The Charter of the Commission on Unalienable Rights includes the objective of proposing “reforms of human rights discourse where it has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.” This mission statement has prompted concern among some observers that the Commission is being asked to redirect U.S. human rights policy in ways that would be self-defeating and would create serious damage to international cooperation for the protection of human rights. In his address, Neuman addresses the claim that there are too many human rights; the protection of diverse sexuality; the equal priority of economic/social rights and civil/political rights; the usefulness of “natural law” at the international level; and the question of privileging freedom of religious conduct over other human rights.

Read the full paper here.

Gerald L. Neuman is the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and the Co-Director of the Human Rights Program at HLS. He teaches human rights, constitutional law, and immigration and nationality law. His current research focuses on international human rights bodies, transnational dimensions of constitutionalism, and rights of foreign nationals. He is the author of Strangers to the Constitution: Immigrants, Borders and Fundamental Law (Princeton 1996), and co-author of the casebook Human Rights (with Louis Henkin et al., Foundation Press).

Smart City Visions and Human Rights: Do They Go Together?
Tina Kempin Reuter. 4/24/2020. “Smart City Visions and Human Rights: Do They Go Together?” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-006. See full text.Abstract
Over half of the world’s population lives in cities today. According to the latest predictions, more than two thirds of all people will inhabit an urban environment by 2050. The number and size of cities has increased over the last decades, with the highest projections for future growth in the Global South. As cities continue to expand, so does their impact on policy generation, as political players, as drivers of states’ economies, and as hubs for social innovation and cultural exchange. Cities are important actors on the national and international stage, with mayors’ conferences, city grassroots organizations, and urban citizens driving the search for today’s most pressing problems, including climate change, inequity, migration, and human rights concerns. Many have expressed hope that “cities [will] deliver where nation states have failed.” Organizing this ever-growing, dynamic human space, enabling people from diverse backgrounds to live together, addressing the spatial and social challenges of urban life, and delivering services to inhabitants are challenges that cities have struggled with and that continue to dominate the urban policy agenda.
 

Read full text here. 

The Urgent Need to Transfer Vulnerable Migrants from Europe’s Largest Migrant Hotspot
Jacqueline Bhabha and Vasileia Digidki. 4/24/2020. “The Urgent Need to Transfer Vulnerable Migrants from Europe’s Largest Migrant Hotspot.” The BMJ. See full text.Abstract
Humanitarian organizations are being denied entry to Moira, one of Europe's largest migrant camps. Jacqueline Bhabha addresses steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Lesvos, the small Greek island notorious as Europe’s primary landing point for forced migrants from Asia and Africa since 2015, confirmed its first COVID-19 related death on 30 March. Testing across the island quickly confirmed 10 cases among the local population, spreading fear of an uncontrollable outbreak in the densely and overcrowded migrant and refugee camps on the island.

We were expecting this news. One of us is a Lesvos native. Both of us have worked on its refugee crisis for several years. We are painfully familiar with the conditions facing the refugee and migrant population on the island, and the particular dangers they currently pose. Although Greece responded more promptly to the pandemic outbreak than other southern European countries, thus controlling the spread of the virus and achieving one of the lowest rates of infection in Europe, this commendable past conduct does not assure a safe and healthy future. In fact, despite the efforts, on 21 April it was revealed that a total of 150 asymptomatic refugees living in an accommodation facility in a small town in southern Greece tested positive for COVID-19.

Read the full article. 

 

The Global Pandemic Has Spawned New Forms of Activism – and They’re Flourishing
Erica Chenoweth, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Pressman, Felipe G Santos, and Jay Ulfelder. 4/20/2020. “The Global Pandemic Has Spawned New Forms of Activism – and They’re Flourishing.” The Guardian. See full text.Abstract
We’ve identified nearly 100 distinct methods of nonviolent action that include physical, virtual and hybrid actions
Erica Chenoweth and team have been collecting data on the various methods that people have used to express solidarity or adapted to press for change in the midst of this crisis. In just several weeks’ time, they've identified nearly 100 distinct methods of nonviolent action that include physical, virtual and hybrid actions – and they’re still counting. Far from condemning social movements to obsolescence, the pandemic – and governments’ responses to it – are spawning new tools, new strategies, and new motivation to push for change.

Read the full article from The Gaurdian.

 
Questions, Answers, and Some Cautionary Updates Regarding the 3.5% Rule
Erica Chenoweth. 4/20/2020. “Questions, Answers, and Some Cautionary Updates Regarding the 3.5% Rule.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-005. See full text.Abstract
The “3.5% rule” refers to the claim that no government has withstood a challenge of 3.5% of their population mobilized against it during a peak event. In this brief paper, author Erica Chenoweth addresses some of the common questions about the 3.5% rule, as well as several updates from more recent work on this topic.

Four key takeaways are as follows:

  • The 3.5% figure is a descriptive statistic based on a sample of historical movements. It is not necessarily a prescriptive one, and no one can see the future. Trying to achieve the threshold without building a broader public constituency does not guarantee success in the future.
  • The 3.5% participation metric may be useful as a rule of thumb in most cases; however, other factors—momentum, organization, strategic leadership, and sustainability—are likely as important as large-scale participation in achieving movement success and are often precursors to achieving 3.5% participation.
  • New research suggests that one nonviolent movement, Bahrain in 2011-2014, appears to have decisively failed despite achieving over 6% popular participation at its peak. This suggests that there has been at least one exception to the 3.5% rule, and that the rule is a tendency, rather than a law.
  • Large peak participation size is associated with movement success. However, most mass nonviolent movements that have succeeded have done so even without achieving 3.5% popular participation. 

Read the full paper. 

Reimagining Social Movements and Civil Resistance during the Global Pandemic
Erica Chenoweth, Salil Shetty, and Matthew Smith. 4/17/2020. “Reimagining Social Movements and Civil Resistance during the Global Pandemic.” Carr Center Covid-19 Discussion Paper Series, 04. See full text.Abstract
Carr Center faculty and fellows outline how social movements and civil resistance can take shape in a time of social distancing, and how these efforts are more important than ever in holding governments accountable.

We interviewed Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Erica Chenoweth, Senior Carr Fellow Salil Shetty, and Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights, Matthew Smith, to discuss how social movements and civil resistance efforts are changing shape in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Read the full paper here. 

 

Upholding Non-Discrimination Principles in the Covid-19 Outbreak
Jacqueline Bhabha, Laura Cordisco-Tsai, Teresa Hodge, and Laurin Leonard. 4/10/2020. “Upholding Non-Discrimination Principles in the Covid-19 Outbreak.” Carr Center Covid-19 Discussion Paper Series, 03. See full text.Abstract
Carr Center faculty and fellows discuss how we can employ principles of non-discrimination to address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable communities.

In our third Covid-19 Discussion Paper, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Jacqueline Bhabha; Technology and Human Rights Fellows Laurin Leonard and Teresa Hodge; and Carr Center Fellow, Laura Cordisco-Tsai, outline how Covid-19 disproportionately impacts the world's most vulnerable communities. From prison populations to survivors of human trafficking, "Vulnerable communities often are not positioned to ensure their human rights are preserved in times of a crisis—they are often a historical afterthought."

Read the full text here. 

The Ethics of Surveillance Technology during a Global Pandemic
Vivek Krishnamurthy, Bruce Schneier, and Mathias Risse. 4/2/2020. “The Ethics of Surveillance Technology during a Global Pandemic.” Carr Center Covid-19 Discussion Paper Series, 2. See full text.Abstract
Three experts on cyberlaw, security, and AI discuss how governments and businesses might ethically employ surveillance and AI technologies to address Covid-19.

We interviewed Bruce Schneier, Security Technologist and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Carr Center Fellow Vivek Krishnamurthy, and Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse on the ethics and responsibilities of using AI and surveillance technology amidst a global pandemic. 

Read their full discussion, here

 
 

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