Roma Resistance: Reclaiming Our Story

Berlin Memorial to the Roma and Sinti Murdered by Nazism /Photo by Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0 By Marian Mandache August 2 marks the Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Roma Holocaust. Between 500,000 and 1.5 million Roma were exterminated during the Holocaust  by the Nazi regimes and their allies. The memory of the Romani victims and survivors is yet to be fully recognize and preserved in history books,…

Protecting Health Care in Armed Conflict: Harvard FXB at UNGA 72

On Friday, September 22, 2017, members of Harvard FXB’s Burden of War Project team, including FXB director and co-chair of the Lancet-American University of Beirut Commission on Syria, Dr. Jennifer Leaning, participated in the high-level side event, Protecting Health Care in Armed Conflict at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. The Permanent Missions of Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, in collaboration with the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria…

Spotlight on the Harvard FXB Field Education Internship Program

The Harvard FXB Field Education Internship Program is a university-wide program established in 2014 at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. The FXB Field Education Internship Program engages Harvard students in global community service and bridges connections between academia and practice in a university-wide effort. The program provides an opportunity for Harvard students to expand their knowledge of and…

the migrant diaries: Mexico 2017-2

‘I Did Not Choose to Be Here’ by Lynne Jones Tijuana, Mexico* Thursday May 5, 2017 The problem with making any plans to work with migrant children is that they migrate. Amparo, one of my hosts, had also asked me to do a camera/storytelling workshop with a group of Haitian children living in a shelter here in Tijuana. But four days ago she discovered they that they have all gone…

Sheri Fink on Torture and the CIA for the New York Times

Sheri Fink, Harvard FXB Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent for the New York Times, has a new piece out on the brutality of some C.I.A. interrogation tactics from the testimony of the men who designed and implemented them. Read her story, co-written with James Risen, here now: http://nyti.ms/2sonIeH   You can find a reflection and follow-up by Sheri on this story here. And for more from Sheri, go here.

Video: The Weaponization of Health Care in Syria

The Lancet-American University of Beirut (AUB) Commission on Syria, which FXB director Dr. Jennifer Leaning co-chairs, published its first health policy paper, “Health workers and the weaponisation of health care in Syria: a preliminary inquiry” by Fouad M. Fouad, Annie Sparrow, Ahmad Tarakji, Mohamad Alameddine, Fadi El-Jardali, Adam P. Coutts, Nour El Arnaout, Lama Bou Karroum, Mohammed Jawad, Sophie Roborgh, Aula Abbara, Fadi Alhalabi, Ibrahim AlMasri, and Samer Jabbour. This video…

Reclaiming Roma Adolescence in Harvard Educational Review

The Summer 2017 issue of the Harvard Educational Review (HER) includes “Reclaiming Adolescence: A Roma Youth Perspective,”  a paper about the FXB Roma Program research in Serbia in partnership with the Center for Interactive Pedagogy. Jacqueline Bhabha, Arlan Fuller, Margarete Matache, Jelena Vranjesevic, Miriam Chernoff, Boris Spasic, and Jelena Ivanis coauthored it.  Most of the abstract and a few sentences from the opening paragraph appear below:  In this article, the…

Dear Gadjo (non-Romani) Scholars…

“Me sem rom, me sem romni” March, 2011 | Photo courtesy of Romani CRISS By Margareta Matache [This is the third of a three-part blog series, “The White Norm in Gypsy and Romani Studies,” about the racialization and othering of Romani people against a white norm in standard Gypsy and Romani studies. The first segment explored the contribution of Gypsy studies to the perception of the Roma as inferior to…

the migrant diaries: Mexico 2017-1

Refugees at the beginning of the Via Crucis

‘Don’t Hate Migrants’ by Lynne Jones Chiapas, Mexico: Ciudad Hidalgo on the border of Guatemala and Mexico* Sunday April 9, 2017 When I asked the tall woman with the tiny baby why she left El Salvador, she answered in five words: Because they killed my husband. The tiny baby is 27 days old. She holds him close against her chest with a cloth pulled over to protect him from the…

Albina du Boisrouvray Receives France’s Highest Honor: Transforming Tragedy into Humanitarian Action

by Harvard FXB Staff On March 14, 2017, Albina du Boisrouvray was awarded the honor of Officier de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest order of merit, in a ceremony at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France. Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, presided over the ceremony attended by close friends and family, including Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Médecins sans Frontières, with whom she worked for…

Loving Children by Leaving Them: The Sri Lankan Mother’s Dilemma

By Elizabeth H. Shlala One of the primary reasons that Sri Lankan women migrate is motherhood. 1.2 million Sri Lankans work abroad; 300,000 of them migrate as domestic workers to Saudi Arabia alone. In 2012 86% of all female migrant workers went abroad to be domestic workers or “housemaids.” 97% of Sri Lankan domestic workers migrated to the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,  Saudi Arabia,…

Preventing Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Child Migrants in Greece

  By Susan Lloyd McGarry From Australia to Venezuela, from Azerbajian to Vietnam, and many places in between, more than 60 news outlets and websites in at least 15 countries and 10 languages have published information about the recent Harvard FXB report Emergency Within An Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece. Excerpts and links from some of that coverage is below. Our…

The Harvard FXB Center Celebrates Child Protection Certificate Recipients

By Krista Oehlke On Tuesday, May 2 at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights celebrated and honored its Child Protection Certificate recipients in an award ceremony. The celebration marked a milestone at the Center. Now in its third year, the program has grown exponentially and across disciplines. This spring, 20 graduate students from across the University – from the…

Aadhar and Child Protection in India: Access for the Poorest Remains Elusive

Cute Indian schoolgirls seated at desks

By Elizabeth Donger and Ayesha Mehrotra Every afternoon Meera walks around her neighborhood in Digha, a slum area on the banks of the Ganges in India’s Bihar State, knocking on the empty doorframes. A community protection volunteer with the nonprofit Aangan Trust, she targets families that she knows do not have Aadhaar cards, the national biometric ID card. She explains to parents that Aadhaar is essential for their children’s future,…

Human Health in a Changing Climate

FXB director Dr, Jennifer Leaning has long been concerned about climate change from a humanitarian and human rights perspective, particularly as it affects forced migration. She addresses this topic in two recent videos. First, for the  Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), she talks about the evolution of her understanding of climate change, including the impact of her work with refugees from Darfur. Go to the HUCE profile of…

Does Power Listen to Truth in the Case of the Romani People?

By Margareta Matache, Jacqueline Bhabha, and Andrzej Mirga On March 14, in Fogarasi and Others v. Romania, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) condemned Romanian police officers for their inhuman treatment of a Romani family. According to this highly respected international human rights court, the EU member state’s conduct, as enacted by its law enforcement agents, constituted a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention, which provides that…

Enforce International Law in Syria

By Jennifer Leigh and Jennifer Leaning The United States can hesitate no longer to enforce international humanitarian law in the Syrian war.  The clear-cut use of chemical weapons against civilian populations in northern Syria on Tuesday April 4th violates long-established legal doctrine against the use of these indiscriminate and brutal weapons in war and has inflicted death on scores of civilian women and children.  The Syrian government attack in Khan…

President of India Honors FXB Fellow*

Dr. Satchit Balsari received a prestigious 2016 Dr B.C. Roy National Award from Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, at a ceremony in New Delhi on March 28, 2017. He was honored for outstanding services in the field of sociomedical relief. Dr. Balsari has long had an affiliation with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, currently as a Research Fellow. He is also an alumnus of…

Realizing Roma Rights: Press Release

For Immediate Release, Boston MA, March 29, 2017 Today Harvard FXB research director Jacqueline Bhabha and instructor and director of the Roma Program Margareta Matache announce the release of Realizing Roma Rights, a volume they have edited with Andrzej Mirga, Chair of the Roma Education Fund. The book, published by University of Pennsylvania Press, investigates anti-Roma racism and documents a growing Roma-led political movement engaged in building a more inclusive and…

Stories from Aleppo: Medical Workers under Siege

By Marge Dwyer The stories told by health workers from Syria were heartbreaking. They spoke of making desperate attempts to save people injured in a chemical attack on a hospital… of struggling to save people’s eyesight after they were hit in the face by shrapnel and rocks… of delivering babies, only to have them die later because they needed crucial medicines that were not available because of war conditions. These…

Dr. Jumana Odeh Honored with 2017 World of Children Award

Congratulations to FXB fellow, Dr. Jumana Odeh, for her selection as one of four 2017 World of Children awardees. The award recognizes her for her long-standing work at the Palestinian Happy Child Centre in Ramallah with children who have developmental and learning disabilities or neurological disorders. This award is particularly prestigious as it is the alumni award–given to former awardees for their substantial further contributions. Dr. Odeh had previously been…

The Weaponization of Healthcare: From the Lancet/AUB Commission on Syria

On March 14, the Lancet-American University of Beirut (AUB) Commission on Syria, which FXB director Dr. Jennifer Leaning co-chairs, published its first health policy paper, “Health workers and the weaponisation of health care in Syria: a preliminary inquiry” by Fouad M. Fouad, Annie Sparrow, Ahmad Tarakji, Mohamad Alameddine, Fadi El-Jardali, Adam P. Coutts, Nour El Arnaout, Lama Bou Karroum, Mohammed Jawad, Sophie Roborgh, Aula Abbara, Fadi Alhalabi, Ibrahim AlMasri, and…

April 9 & 10 Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution

The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights will host the Fifth Annual Roma Conference, Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution, at Harvard University to mark International Roma Day. The event will bring together academic, literary, artistic, and student communities to explore the contributions of the Roma community to global culture, arts, and material production. The Harvard FXB Center has organized an event on International Roma Day for the past four years. Previous…

In the News: “What Is Best About Ourselves: We Welcome Others and Grow Together” FXB on U.S. Immigration Policy

The January 27 executive order restricting travel, immigration, and refugee entry to the United States signaled major policy changes in those areas. Despite the recent stay of the immigration order upheld by the 9th District Court of Appeals, litigation is likely to continue and the attitudes implicit in these orders are likely to reappear in policy. FXB’s director Jennifer Leaning and director of research Jacqueline Bhabha have recorded a podcast…

Why the Australia-US Deal? Unwanted, Stranded Refugees

Men standing on top of building with signs adking for help

By Alexandra Lancaster Undocumented migrants who embark on the perilous journey by sea to Australia in search of asylum are taken to detention centers offshore on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the Republic of Nauru (an impoverished island-country in the Pacific). There they are processed and there they stay. Australia is one of the few countries that allow people to be detained indefinitely. There are approximately 1200…

In the News: No Correlation Between Refugees and Terrorists, Facebook Live

Brief Background In a Facebook Live event (click here to go to the webcast of 45 minutes) at Harvard Kennedy School on February 3, Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB’s director of research, discussed refugees and the January 27 US executive order on immigration with Matt Cadwallader. The order (full text here) covers several points, among them: a 90-day ban on all travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia,…

In the News: FXB and the US Immigration Executive Order

Late afternoon Friday, January 27, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order changing US policies and procedures regarding immigration and refugees. The situation is in flux. On February 3 in Seattle, federal judge James Robart, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, issued a nationwide stay, temporarily stopping enforcement of the order and ordering airlines to allow affected passengers to fly into the United States. Since the…

A Chilling Environment: Icy Conditions Threaten Migrants’ Health

tent covered in snow

By Vasileia Digidiki and Jacqueline Bhabha Struggling to manage Europe’s worst humanitarian crisis in recent history, with hundreds of thousands of migrants in legal limbo in all of Europe as anti-immigration sentiments gain ground, countries in Europe and the European Union (EU) in particular now face a new set of challenges: devastating weather conditions necessitating an immediate humanitarian response to end further loss of human life among the most vulnerable.…

Who Will Act on Behalf of the Rohingya People of Myanmar?

By Arlan Fuller Over the past three months, the Myanmar military has led a violent campaign targeting the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and currently shows no signs of relenting. In early October, the government cited an attack on border police as justification for a wide-sweeping offensive targeting men, women and children, with beatings, incinerated homes, systematic rape, and extrajudicial killings. In Myanmar (once known as Burma) on January 20,…

Accelerating the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Eritrea

By Samuel Isaac The practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Eritrea has been declining since initial data were collected in 1995. The percentage of girls and women who have undergone FGM/C declined from 95 percent in 1995 to 89 percent in 2002 and 83 percent in 2010.[1] In fact, 83 percent (the data point from 2010) might hide even greater recent progress, since the respondents who answered positively –…

Detention, Hunger Strikes, and Human Rights

Guest Post by Dana Moss On December 12, 2016, after Israel’s High Court of Justice refused to end the administrative detention of two Palestinian hunger strikers, moving only to suspend it, the Palestinians  vowed to continue their strike—and additionally to stop drinking water, which put them at immediate risk of death. Their case highlights the continued and excessive use of administrative detention in Israel (a procedure that allows the Israeli…

Health in Conflict: New Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria

For immediate release: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 “Syria has become the mirror, in which we face the grim reality that because of dismal failure at the level of politics, law, governance, and solidarity, our world has degraded in expectation, vision, and human security,” from “Comment: The Lancet–American University of Beirut Commission on Syria: A New Role for Global Health in Conflict and A Call for Papers,” The Lancet 388, Dec…

A Harsh New Reality: Transactional Sex Among Refugee Minors As a Means of Survival in Greece

By Vasileia Digidiki Nine months after the historic agreement between the European Union and Turkey,[1] approximately 60,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece, waiting and hoping for another chance at resettlement in a safe country, away from the violence, war, and persecution they faced at home. Among these are an estimated 2,300 unaccompanied minors.[2] Continued daily arrivals further increase the number of vulnerable people stranded in Greece, as European…

Report Urges Justice and Reparations for Mexican Victims of Drug-Trade Mass Killings

By Krista Oehlke Violence stemming from the drug trade has been surmounting in Mexico for decades, taking an increased toll on civilian communities. In October 2016, Sergio Aguayo, FXB fellow and research professor at the Centro de Estudios Internacionale of the El Colegio de México,  released a new report investigating two mass killings in Mexico by the criminal organization known as Los Zetas. In 2010, the drug gang allegedly massacred…

Human-Centered Design, High School Kids, and Harvard Professors

By Rebecca Hope This guest post was originally published on the YLabs blog. Rebecca Hope discusses the importance of youth participatory approaches, which can place young people at the center of program design. She highlights the Harvard’s FXB Center and CIP Center’s 2012-2014 Reclaiming Adolescence project in Serbia, which aimed to address anti-Roma racism by strengthening Romani youth leadership in research and policy making. The program involved youth at every stage – from…

Children on the Move: Failure to Protect

Throughout the world, children flee peril in their place of origin, but often they exchange one set of dangers for another. A new report published today by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights finds that protection for children on the move, particularly during time of transit, is lacking worldwide. Children on the Move: An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority, which began as a research project…

The Legacy of Gypsy Studies in Modern Romani Scholarship

By Margareta Matache This is the second of a three-part blog series, “The White Norm in Gypsy and Romani Studies,” about the racialization and othering of Romani people against a white norm in standard Gypsy and Romani studies. The first segment explored the contribution of Gypsy studies to the perception of the Roma as inferior to their white European counterparts. This second segment shows how the legacy of such thinking…

A Golden Opportunity to Advocate for the Rights of Children with Disabilities

By Ruslana Sirman Recently, I stumbled over an article on the BBC News’ global website: Ukraine’s Paralympic success: What’s the secret? In the article, Ben Sutherland writes, “There is one country that, while producing its worst ever performance at the Rio Olympics… becomes a world superpower once the Paralympics start – Ukraine.” Sutherland labels Ukraine’s performance as “particularly astonishing given the country’s recent history, with an economic crisis, war in the…

Alicia Yamin Featured in ActiveHistory’s History Slam Podcast

Harvard FXB Center policy director Alicia Ely Yamin was a recent guest on ActiveHistory.ca’s History Slam Podcast. The 40+ minute conversation centered on her new book, Power, Suffering, and the Struggle for Dignity. Along with discussing human rights in a technical sense, Yamin also shares some of the pivotal personal experiences that informed the writing of her book. Check out History Slam’s website for the full podcast and review of…

India’s Approach to the Rescue and Reintegration of Trafficked Children Marred by Poor Coordination, Lack of Accountability

For immediate release: Monday, March 21, 2016 Boston, MA – Labor trafficking is a gross violation that affects hundreds of thousands of Indian children each year. Despite the Indian government’s considerable attention to the problem, the rescue and reintegration apparatus is beset by a range of problems that can leave children at risk of further harm, according to a new report published today by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health…

Welcome to FXB Fellow Maria del Pilar Carmona

Attorney Maria del Pilar Carmona comes to us from Colombia, where she has for the past three years worked as a research associate and project manager for the Center for Socio-Legal Studies at Universidad de los Andes. Maria has also worked as a lawyer for the Colombian government and as a consultant for the Mexican Supreme Court, the Organization for Health Excellence in Colombia, UN Women, and the World Bank,…

Still Time to Apply to Global School Health Rights Litigation Course

Application Deadline: April 1, 2016 There is still time to join the O’Neill Institute and Harvard FXB for the 2016 Global School Health Rights Litigation course from June 13th – 17th at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC! This one-week intensive course offers participants an opportunity to develop specialist-level knowledge in relation to litigating health-related rights at the national, regional, and international levels. Globally renowned experts will lecture on…

Adolescent Disaster Protection in Nepal and China

For rural communities in Asia, the impact of natural disasters can be devastating. For communities living in remote areas of Nepal, the scale of destruction brought by the 2015 earthquake was especially devastating. Many children lost homes and families, along with access to food and clean water. Harvard FXB Center’s Adolescent Resilience in Disasters Project, led by Dr. Elizabeth Newnham and part of the center’s larger Disaster Resilience and Response…

Senate Passes Bill with Important Implications for Child Trafficking and Labor

“For 85 years, this egregious lacuna in protection has created a procedural backdoor into the American marketplace for goods made by forced or bonded laborers, including children…” With little public fanfare, on Thursday February 11, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted on a critical piece of human rights legislation. The bill closed a loophole allowing the import of products made by forced or child labor when U.S. demand exceeded its domestic…

WIP: Health, Rights and Protection of the Aged: The Case of Older People in Natural Disasters

On Wednesday, February 10, Professor Emily Y. Y. Chan spoke as part of Harvard FXB Center’s Work-In-Progress series. Chan outlined her intent to expand her ongoing research on the elderly in Asia. Specifically, she focused on the need for further research into the needs and vulnerabilities of the elderly post disasters. Speaking from her field experience, Chan stressed the importance of dignity and protection for this population. While much research…

Health, Human Rights and the Zika Virus

To fight Zika we must fight poverty and powerlessness and ensure that women enjoy their rights. by Alicia Ely Yamin Health ministers throughout Latin America have announced they will unite to stop the alarming spread of the Zika virus. Similarly, the World Health Organization has acted with uncharacteristic haste to curb this virus, of which the world presently knows very little. But there is much we do know about containing…

World Health Organization and Emergency Health: If Not Now, When?

Center director Jennifer Leaning is co-author on a new article in the British Medical Journal. The article offers a critical look at the response of the World Health Organization to Ebola and other humanitarian crises and puts forward a set of six recommendations for future action. The article is excerpted below, with a link to the full version. Human transmission of Ebola virus began in Guinea in December 2013, but…

Book Launch: Power, Suffering, and the Struggle for Dignity

On Tuesday, January 27, Policy Director Alicia Yamin launched her new book, Power, Suffering, and the Struggle for Dignity: Human Rights Frameworks for Health and Why They Matter, with a roundtable discussion at Harvard University’s Global Health Education and Learning Incubator. Discussants included Professor Deborah Maine of Columbia University; Professor Katharine Young of Boston College Law School; Gerald Neuman of Harvard Law School; and Paul Farmer, Kolokotrones University Professor of…