Three Harvard University Centers Condemn Recent Police Violence in the United States

For Immediate Release May 29, 2020 Media Contacts: Carr Center: Alexandra Geller, Alexandra_Geller@hks.harvard.edu; FXB Center: Veronica Lewin, vlewin@hsph.harvard.edu The following is a joint statement from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research. “We strongly condemn the Minneapolis Police Department’s vicious and brutal murder of George Floyd. This and other recent events highlight the…

Study: Structural Racism, Historical Redlining, and Preterm Birth in New York City

A new study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health explores the long-term impact of historical redlining on preterm births in New York City. The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Professor Nancy Krieger, Pamela D. Waterman and FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Mary T. Bassett, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene epidemiologists, found a higher proportion…

Coordinated and Evidence-Based Easing of Social Distancing Restrictions That Centers Equity and Justice is the Only Way to Save Lives and Protect the Poor During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following statement was issued by the Poor People’s Campaign Health Justice Advisory Committee on May 3, 2020. FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Executive Director Natalia Linos and Director of Communications Veronica Lewin serve on the committee. Learn more about the committee here. Point 1: Social distancing measures are working to mitigate the spread of the virus despite the uncoordinated federal response that has led to the current…

Standing Up Against Anti-Romani Racism During A Pandemic

Photo of a Roma camp in Brazil.

By Drs. Aluízio de Azevedo Silva Júnior and Margareta (Magda) Matache Across the world, a violent and disturbing trend of anti-Romani racist acts by the police, policy makers, media, and others is putting Romani families and communities at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also attacked when we speak out against this injustice. For example, an op-ed addressing anti-Romani racism published by Libertatea, a well-known Romanian newspaper, was swiftly…

Opinion: The Urgent Need to Transfer Vulnerable Migrants from Europe’s Largest Migrant Hotspot

In a recent opinion piece, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights’ Director of Research Professor Jacqueline Bhabha and Instructor Vasileia Digidiki discuss the current COVID-19 situation in Greece, the migrant hotspot Greek islands, and what the European Union should be doing to address the crisis. In it, the authors write: “Without effective and coordinated action, the pandemic will immobilize the Union’s most precarious and embattled member. This would…

Responding to the Domestic Violence Crisis of COVID-19

Photo of outstretched hands, one with a red dot

By Roshni Chakraborty Worldwide, countries have imposed lockdowns and issued stay-at-home orders to mitigate the community transmission of COVID-19. For many, however, staying at home poses a greater threat to their health than leaving. Activists and governments around the world have reported an alarming spike in domestic violence since social distancing measures were adopted. The United Nations has called for a domestic violence “ceasefire,” raising its concerns about a “horrifying…

New Data Visualization Tool Can Help Officials Assess COVID-19 Vulnerability in Their Communities

The COVID-19 epidemic in the United States is already exposing a disastrous convergence of demographic and socioeconomic inequities that make some communities more vulnerable than others. Hotspots of COVID-19 are emerging in urban cities, from New York City, to Detroit, Milwaukee to New Orleans, and Chicago, with the greatest harm concentrated in neighborhoods that are home to Black and Hispanic populations. While social determinants influencing the impact of COVID-19 on…

FXB Center Leadership Joins Poor People’s Campaign COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee; Calls for Equitable U.S. Response

The following is an April 8, 2020 press release issued by the Poor People’s Campaign. Learn more about the Campaign here. Poor People’s Campaign new advisory committee says prevention efforts, treatment must be equitable The Poor People’s Campaign’s new COVID-19 advisory committee is demanding that hospitals and health departments begin reporting coronavirus cases by poverty and income; race and ethnicity and other relevant demographics including geography to ensure that prevention…

International Roma Day: The History of the FXB Center’s Roma Program

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Roma Program at Harvard University. Conceived and built by the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, the Program has become a leading focal point for Roma scholarship, convening and advocacy in North America and beyond. A key aspect of this, by tradition, is the Roma Program’s annual international conference to mark April 8, International Roma Day. This…

FXB Center Director, More than 80 Public Health and Medicine Experts Call on Governor Baker to Stem the Spread of COVID-19 in Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Detention Centers

Today, leading public health and medicine experts called on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to take immediate action to protect the health of those who live and work in detention facilities. The letter, signed by Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and more than 80 faculty members from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School,…

Op-Ed: Andrew Cuomo, Stop a Coronavirus Disaster: Release People From Prison

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

In a New York Times op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker call on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to release people from prison to protect both people currently incarcerated and the staff who work in these facilities. In it, the authors write, “Given the conditions in which incarcerated…

COVID-19: Finding Comfort in Respecting Rights and Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Natalia Linos, executive director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, penned an op-ed that was recently published on the Health and Human Rights Journal’s blog. In it, Linos writes, “poverty, homelessness, human rights abuses, racism, and violence are not inevitable consequences of COVID-19. If they occur, it is because they reflect a moral failure in the way we have organized our societies.” Later in the piece,…

Letter: Aggregated mobility data could help fight COVID-19

Dr. Satchit Balsari, fellow at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, recently co-authored a letter in Science magazine advocating for the use of aggregated mobility data to measure the effectiveness of COVID-19 response efforts such as social distancing. In the letter, the authors write: “The research and public health response communities can and should use population mobility data collected by private companies, with appropriate legal, organizational, and computational safeguards…

Op-Ed: The coronavirus could hit the U.S. harder than other wealthy countries

In an Washington Post op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Executive Director Natalia Linos write about how the United States’ response to the coronavirus is likely to reveal deep failures and reinforce existing health inequities. In it, they write: “The polarized political climate makes the threat posed by those long-standing inequities far more dangerous. At least three social phenomena…

Op-Ed: Greece’s proposed ‘floating wall’ shows the failure of EU migration policies

In a recent op-ed, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Instructor Vasileia Digidiki and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, write about the flaws of Greece’s “floating wall” proposal to deter migrants. In it, they write, “Like Trump’s wall, it will signal the intent to keep out migrants; and like Trump’s wall it will fail to do so.” The op-ed continues to highlight the harms of Europe’s migration policies and…

FXB Center Stands in Solidarity With Sergio Aguayo

François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Director of Research Professor Jacqueline Bhabha recently penned a letter to the Supreme Court of Mexico in support of Dr. Sergio Aguayo, journalist and FXB fellow. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Dr. Aguayo was ordered by a Mexico City court to pay a fine of 10 million pesos to former Coahuila state governor Humberto…

Celebrating 25 Years in Latest HHRJ Issue

The December 2019 issue of Health and Human Rights marks its 25th year of publication. Celebrating the occasion, the editors dedicate the issue to founding editor Jonathan Mann and to Albina du Boisrouvray, who, as Mann wrote in his first editorial, “immediately understood, provided the means, and continues to share ideas and inspiration with us.” Published by the FXB Center since that first issue in 1994, the journal is now welcoming…

Press Release: New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home

New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home For Immediate Release November 12, 2019 A new Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and International Organization for Migration (IOM) report finds that young migrants who returned home from Libya to Nigeria often face serious challenges in their efforts to reintegrate into society. The report, “Returning Home? The Reintegration Challenges Facing Children and…

Op-Ed: Treating Stigma to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

In a recent op-ed, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center, and Dr. Chad Brummett of the University of Michigan explain how stigma has hindered efforts to address the opioid overdose crisis. Read the op-ed on Bridge Michigan’s website. Learn more about Stigma and Access to Treatment, the University of Michigan – Harvard University summit on the opioid crisis.

Climate Week 2019: Addressing an Urgent Threat to Health

2019-21 Climate and Human Health Fellow Dr. Caleb Dresser at the Climate Strike in Boston on September 20, 2019. Climate change poses an urgent threat to our fundamental human rights, including the right to health. An irrefutable body of scientific evidence demonstrates the various mechanisms through which climate change directly and indirectly threatens human health and well-being. Agricultural resources and land use have already been affected by climate change; water…

The Migrant Diaries: Vathy, Samos, Greece 2019

Wednesday 12th June It’s unbearable. I walk down a steep winding earth path between small tents and hovels made of plastic, scrap wood and blankets, clustered around smoking fires. There is rubbish everywhere, and the smell of human faeces. At one point the path runs beside a high mesh fence, topped with razor wire and cameras. Inside are the familiar white containers and yet more filthy tents crammed in between…

Trauma as a Border Control Strategy

By Jacqueline Bhabha and Mary T. Bassett The United States continues to pull ahead in a xenophobic race to the bottom, making fear and trauma central to its border control toolkit. The list is long: Executive orders purporting to ban Muslims, slashing refugee admission quotas, reversing well-established legal precedent protecting the right to asylum of rape and domestic violence survivors, the willful fueling of deportation fear among law-abiding residents, and…

Professor Bhabha: States Have an Obligation to Protect Migrant Children

A new International Organization for Migration (IOM) report released today takes a closer look at the deaths and disappearances of migrants around the world. “Fatal Journeys: Volume 4” focuses on missing migrant children. According to IOM data, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014 – a likely undercount. Although it is well known that children are one of the most vulnerable groups of migrants, data on…

Engaging with Health Rights in the Field and Closer to Home

Photo courtesy of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum By Carmel Williams, PhD Now in its 25th year of publication, the Harvard FXB journal, Health and Human Rights, has just published its June issue. It is a feat for a journal to not just survive the economic and academic climates of 25 years, but to hold a position of leadership in the field. Because that is what our journal does.…

Harvard Chan: This Week in Health Podcast Featuring Dr. Mary T. Bassett & Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards

The June 6th episode of Harvard Chan: This Week in Health features a special conversation between Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood and one of the co-founders of Supermajority, and Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. Richards spoke about how Supermajority is working to empower women and organize them around key issues related to gender equity, including equal pay and child care. The two…

We Know How to End Maternal Deaths

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

By Dr. Mary T. Bassett A woman arrives at Harlem Hospital in labor having received no prenatal care. The doctors delivering her baby didn’t realize she had heart disease until she went into cardiac arrest in the labor room. The baby survived. The mother, who was Black, did not. Her death was the first that I witnessed while I was completing my medical training. Unfortunately, the number of women dying…

London, 1971: The First World Roma Congress

For the past seven years, the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights has marked International Roma Day. In a guest blog, writer and activist Grattan Puxon (pictured above) explains the history of this important day. An excerpt of the blog is below. To read the full blog post, click here. An Account of the First World Roma Congress Held in London in 1971 By Grattan Puxon | Harvard…

Powering the Personal Health Record: Catalysts and Barriers in India

Harvard FXB's Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop.

Harvard FXB’s Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop. On April 3rd, the India Digital Health Net (IDHN), a multidisciplinary research and development initiative established to support an Application Programming Interface-enabled (API) federated health data architecture in India, convened a workshop in New Delhi to learn from the several initiatives across the country that are building components of what may ultimately become India’s health tech grid.  The workshop was organized with support…

International Roma Day: Lifting Neglected Voices

Note: This post has been updated to includes photos from Neglected Voices: The Global Roma Diaspora April 8th marks International Roma Day, a day we celebrate Romani people across the world. Romani people, who have origins in North India, have made distinct and important contributions to Europe and the Americas in many fields, including literature, arts, crafts, music, science, and sports. International Roma Day is also a time to increase awareness…

New Cross-Sectional Study: Primary Health Care Utilization Among Syrian Refugee and Lebanese Women

Lebanon, the country with the highest per capita ratio of refugees, is heavily burdened by the crisis in Syria. As of December 2018, an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon, two-thirds of whom are registered with the Lebanese government. Previous studies have found that the crisis has disproportionately affected poor and underserved areas in Lebanon, contributing to social tensions between Lebanese people and Syrian refugees and driving…

One in One Hundred: Roma Value Education But Face Racism in Access

One in One Hundred: Drivers of Success and Resilience among College-Educated Romani Adolescents in Serbia New report on factors for success among Romani college students challenges the narrative of Roma indifference to education For immediate release: December 20, 2018 One of the major factors in whether Roma adolescents continue on to university is if they have significant support from a non-Roma teacher or peer in combatting everyday racism in school,…

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…