Articles

Examining the Coronavirus from the Lens of Human Rights
3/26/2020. “Examining the Coronavirus from the Lens of Human Rights.” Carr Center Covid-19 Discussion Paper Series, 01. See full text.Abstract
Three Carr Center faculty share their take on the global pandemic with an eye towards human rights.

The Carr Center will begin a regular discussion series outlining how the pandemic intersects with specific human rights domains. In our introductory paper, Mathias Risse, Kathryn Sikkink, and Timothy Patrick McCarthy discuss the importance of human rights in a pandemic situation. In addition to describing how we can balance individual rights with those of the larger community, they also situate the current pandemic within historical contexts, and within a larger backdrop of our current digital age. 

Read the full document here.  

Experiences of Trafficked and Sexually Exploited Boys Transitioning From Shelter Programmes Into the Community: Findings From a Longitudinal Study
Laura Cordisco-Tsai, Vanntheary Lim, and Channtha Nhanh. 3/30/2020. “Experiences of Trafficked and Sexually Exploited Boys Transitioning From Shelter Programmes Into the Community: Findings From a Longitudinal Study.” National Children's Bureau, Pp. 1-16. See full text.Abstract
Laura Cordisco Tsai examines the experience of transitioning back to life in the community for boy survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation.

This article explores the perspectives of Cambodian boys who have experienced human trafficking and sexual exploitation on their experiences transitioning out of shelters and re‐entering the community. We used an interpretive phenomenological approach to analyse 81 interviews and narrative summaries of interviews drawn from Chab Dai's 10‐year longitudinal study with survivors in Cambodia (n = 22). Themes included: minimal involvement in planning for re/integration; conflicted feelings about life in the community; challenges completing school and securing employment; importance of community‐based services; unfulfilled expectations; violence in the community; and a desire to return to the shelter.

 

 

Remarks Before the Commission on Unalienable Rights
Martha Minow. 3/17/2020. “Remarks Before the Commission on Unalienable Rights.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-003. See full text.Abstract
In her address to the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights, Martha Minow discusses the meaning and implications of human rights. 

"Please accept my thanks for the invitation to speak with you and for your service on this important effort. Grappling with the meaning and implications of human rights is a task that no one generation can complete; comprehension, validation, and commitment require investment of renewing thought and action even though human rights are described as self-evident and eternal. In fact, the reasons why individual nations and even individual people subscribe to notions of human rights vary enormously—and range from idealism to realpolitik—as do their justifications and rationales, which sound in such competing registers as religion, social contract, nature, utility, and game theory.  As I will explain, respect for the dignity of each person offers a core basis for human rights in both substance and in attitudes of respect and civility even when we disagree. Your admirable effort to trace ideas about human rights to deep histories and understandings of eternal truths should underscore the importance of engagement with other nations and multinational convenings as we all face unprecedented challenges to human dignity."

 

Read full address, here. 

Rights and Responsibilities in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Kathryn Sikkink. 3/16/2020. “Rights and Responsibilities in the Coronavirus Pandemic.” OpenGlobalRights. See full text.Abstract
Touching on points from her newly published book, The Hidden Face of Rights: Towards a Politics of Responsibilities, Kathryn Sikkink urges the global community to place responsibility on all actors to uphold human rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Building on the work of Iris Marion Young in her posthumous book, Responsibility for Justice, in The Hidden Face of Rights, I argue that all actors socially connected to structural injustice and able to act, need to take action to address the injustice. One problem with the word responsibility is that people often use it in the common legal meaning focused on who is to blame or liable. This is what Iris Young has called backward-looking responsibility or the “liability model.” She focused on political responsibility that is forward-looking. This kind of responsibility asks not “who is to blame,” but “what should we do?” Forward-looking responsibility is necessary to address the Coronavirus pandemic and to think about what we should do in the world after the pandemic. I also draw on Max Weber’s idea of an ethic of responsibility in Politics as a Vocation to stress that it is not enough to act with good intentions. We also need to have done our research about the most effective way to act so that our actions have the impact we seek.


This framework is useful in the context of the Coronavirus crisis because it involves both a range of rights and responsibilities of many actors. Our right to health, but also rights to liberty, freedom of movement, to education, to information, to food and shelter are all at stake. As countries ramp up exclusionary travel and border policies, some of these rights may be imperiled, and governments need to strike a balance between protecting the health and respecting human rights, as the WHO Secretary General recognized in his briefing on March 12. A quarantine is a legitimate state policy in times of health emergencies, but the state must attend to the rights of individuals caught in the quarantine to adequate health care, food, and shelter. 

Why the AI We Rely on Can’t Get Privacy Right (Yet)
Neal Cohen. 3/7/2020. “Why the AI We Rely on Can’t Get Privacy Right (Yet).” VentureBeat. See full text.Abstract

Neal Cohen analyzes why AI technologies fall short on privacy. While artificial intelligence (AI) powered technologies are now commonly appearing in many digital services we interact with on a daily basis, an often neglected truth is that few companies are actually building the underlying AI technology.

 

Human Rights and Social Order: Philosophical, Practical, and Public Policy Dimensions
Mathias Risse. 2/28/2020. “Human Rights and Social Order: Philosophical, Practical, and Public Policy Dimensions.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-001. See full text.Abstract
In his recent discussion paper, Mathias Risse reflects on the 2019 protests in Chile from a a standpoint of political theory and the human rights movement.

This paper was written in preparation for a talk at the Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) in December 2019. Risse was invited to reflect on the widespread and often violent protests that had occurred in Chile during the last three months of 2019 from a standpoint of political theory and the human rights movement. Key themes in this paper include the necessary conditions for the legitimacy of a government and the role of human rights (and the equal or unequal value that such rights may have for different people) in that context; a distinction between policy-based and legitimacy/justice-based protests and one between persuasive and non-persuasive means of protest, and how they apply to highly economically unequal societies in general and to the situation in Chile in particular; some considerations directed at protesters as they think about expanding non-persuasive means of protest to include destruction and violence; some considerations exploring the responsibilities of the government of Chile under these circumstances; and finally some thoughts drawing on the adaptive-leadership approach on current challenges for Chilean politics. 

Read the article here. 

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.

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Legitimate Leadership?

February 21, 2020

Arthur Applbaum explains in his recently published book, Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World, Americans tend to discuss legitimacy in procedural terms: if a government comes to power through certain correct steps, such as free elections, it must be legitimate.

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