In April 2019, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School hosted a faculty consultation on the integrated system for truth, justice, reparation, and nonrepetition, created as a result of the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas in 2016. President Juan Manuel Santos and Carr Center faculty called upon leading voices in the field of transitional justice to share perspectives on the Colombian peace process and to formulate recommendations. The discussion was organized into four sessions focusing on the main components of the peace process: reparations, justice, truth, and nonrepetition.
Matthias Risse, Faculty Director of the Carr Center, and Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, opened the conference with welcoming remarks. Risse noted that 2018 was a year of anniversaries, not only the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute but also the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man, an occasion both for celebration and for critical reflection. Sikkink also noted the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute was a moment to reflect and remember, looking backward to take stock with an eye toward moving justice forward in the future.
In early December 2018, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society hosted an inaugural conference that aimed to respond to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ 70th Anniversary by reflecting on the past, present and future of human rights. The conference was organized by Carr Center Faculty Director Mathias Risse.
This symposium was conceived as a way for us to convene leaders and academics from the human rights and anti-corruption movements, which have traditionally operated as separate communities of practice, to explore the linkages between the issues we work on and consider approaches to advance our work together. We hope that this symposium will not only help to inform and shape a deeper involvement of the Carr Center into the issue of corruption, but will also be the start of an ongoing collaboration between the human rights and anti-corruption communities.
On November 3 - 4, 2016, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School hosted a symposium that aimed to:
1. Strengthen collaboration among stakeholders working on issues at the intersection of human rights and technology and
2. Deepen our understanding of the nature of collaboration among different technical and scientific communities working in human rights.
The symposium brought together practitioners and academics from different industries, academic disciplines and professional practices. Discussion centered on three clusters of scientific and technical capacities and the communities of practice associated with each of them. These clusters are:
- Geospatial Technology: The use of commercial remote sensing satellites, geographical information systems (GIS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and geographical positioning satellites (GPS) and receivers to track events on earth.
- Digital Networks: The use of digital platforms to link individuals in different locations working towards a common goal, such as monitoring digital evidence of human rights violations around the world. It often involves crowdsourcing the collection of data over digital networks or social computation – the analysis of data by volunteers using digital networks.
- Forensic Science: The collection, preservation, examination and analysis of evidence of abuses and crimes for documentation, reconstruction, and understanding for public and court use. Among the more prominent evidential material in this area includes digital and multimedia evidence as well as corporal and other biologic evidence. When considering the use of digital technologies, we might say that forensic science involves the recoding of material objects into binary code. This domain includes massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies as well as document scanning and data management technologies.
In their landmark 1998 book, Activists Beyond Borders, Kathryn Sikkink and Margaret Keck wrote that “by overcoming the deliberate suppression of information that sustains many abuses of power, human rights groups bring pressure to bear on those who perpetuate abuses” (Keck and Sikkink, 1998, Kindle Locations 77-78). The Carr Center’s symposium on technology and human rights explored the ways modern human rights organization use science and technology to overcome the deliberate suppression of information.
Speakers discussed the latest advances in each of the key technologies represented at the symposium and used today by human rights organizations.
Steven Livingston and Sushma Raman co-organized the event. Livingston is Senior Fellow at the Carr Center and Professor of Media and Public Affairs and Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University; Raman is the Executive Director of the Carr Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.