Word, Image and Thought: Creating the Romani Other

 By Margareta Matache This is the first of a three-part blog series about the racialization and othering of Roma people against a white norm in standard Gypsy and Romani studies. This first segment explores the contribution of Gypsy studies to the perception of the Roma as inferior to his or her white, European counterpart. The second blog shows how the legacy of such thinking manifests itself in modern Romani scholarship.…

AT THE UN: UNGA 2016: A Historic Moment for Refugees and Migrants

“The bitter truth is, this summit was called because we have been largely failing.”  By Libby Whitbeck This year the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held its first-ever Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. This is the only time in the UN’s 71-year history that the General Assembly has called on heads of state, UN system leadership, civil society, the private sector, international organizations, and academia to…

Welcome 2016-2017 Landry/UNICEF Fellows

The center is pleased to welcome four new mid-career professionals from UNICEF, all of whom will pursue a certificate in child protection through the Harvard/UNICEF Child Protection Certificate Program. This year, course offerings within the curriculum have been broadened to reflect the complexity of the child protection field and are being offered not only at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health but also at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Divinity School…

Migration Experts on Children on the Move

Jacqueline Bhabha is featured in the new edition of Unicef Innocenti research center’s Research Watch, which focuses on Children on the Move, an area of work in which professor Bhabha and her research team are deeply engaged. The new edition highlights the urgent need to develop solid child migration policy based on current, rapidly evolving global realities. It features a series of video interviews with leading experts including Bhabha, Andrea…

Heather Adams: Remembering a Visionary Leader in Disability Rights and a Beloved Friend

by Jacqueline Bhabha and Jennifer Leaning When we think of public health crises today, autism is not likely to top our list. Yet, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it should be a front and center concern. One in sixty-eight children and one in forty-two boys in the US were diagnosed with autism spectrum diseases in 2012, and the numbers are steadily rising.[1] Globally the scale…

Professionalizing Child Protection: Q&A with OHCHR’s Cecile Aptel

“There is a growing recognition that children are not just adults in the making or mini-adults, but are themselves rights-holders.” This year Professor Cécile Aptel, a visiting professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a fellow at Harvard FXB Center, will teach International Perspectives on Justice for Children as part of Harvard FXB Center’s Child Protection Certificate Program, which is undertaken in partnership with UNICEF. Professor…

New EdX Course: Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster

Center director Jennifer Leaning, with Michael Van Rooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, are co-instructors in a new EdX course focused on the principles guiding humanitarian response to modern emergencies and the challenges faced in the current global climate. As of August 30, 2016, enrollment in this tremendously popular offering numbered almost 16,000, with students representing 188 countries. As of today, September 7, enrollment is still open for the…

Call for Papers: Romani Global Diaspora: Implementation of the Right to Health

This Special Section of the Health and Human Rights Journal will examine the implementation of the right to health in the case of Romani populations across the globe. It will draw attention to ongoing discrimination against the Roma and Roma-related groups in relation to realization of the right to health.  Articles will consider access to health among Romani communities in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Guest editors are Jacqueline…

2016-2017 Seminar Series: Responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Over the next two semesters Harvard FXB Center, in partnership with Harvard’s Middle East Initiative, will present a seminar series, Building Bridges: Responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Scholars, practitioners, and thought leaders from across the Harvard and Boston communities engaged in research on Syrian refugees will discuss challenges and innovative solutions to promote refugee wellbeing. The series will be led by Harvard FXB fellow Lara Jirmanus, whose research focuses…

India Anti-Trafficking Bill Changes Little for Child Laborers, but Activists Continue Fight from the Bottom Up

By Elizabeth Donger The number of people trafficked in India for forced labor has been estimated at anything between 20 and 65 million. In June 2016 the Indian government published a new draft anti-trafficking bill that has been hailed by some as the country’s first-ever comprehensive anti-trafficking law and applauded for strengthening criminal investigation and prosecution processes. Yet due to several glaring issues this bill constitutes another missed opportunity to…

Human-Rights Based Approaches for Health Workers

With the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other partners, Harvard FXB Center has published a new quick reference guide to support health workers to effectively implement a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to sexual and reproductive health, maternal health and under-5 child health. The guide also invites practitioners to reflect on questions designed to help promote the protection of women and children’s rights at every level…

Fortress America: The US’s Willful Exclusion of Children Seeking Refuge from the Child Murder Capitals of the World

On July 28, 2016, the International Crisis Group released a detailed report on contemporary refugee flight from Central America. Easy Prey: Criminal Violence and Central American Migration, presents a stark picture of the tragedy unfolding to the immediate South of the US and is a troubling account of the US’s complicity in serious human rights violations. The latest in a long series of studies of the mass, northbound distress migration…

India Moves Back to 19th Century for Most Vulnerable Children

“This measure is diametrically opposed to what India’s poorest children need.” by Jacqueline Bhabha On Tuesday July 26, 2016, the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament, approved a Child Labour Amendment Bill that could increase legal child labor in India, despite the government’s claims to the contrary. This measure is diametrically opposed to what India’s poorest children need.  As our recent report on child trafficking in India recently demonstrates,…

Empowering People with Disabilities: New Harvard FXB Working Paper

Empowering People with Intellectual Disabilities looks at good practice examples of building communities for adults with intellectual disabilities, including autism.  Good practice means humane and dignified provision of services and housing that meet the needs of this population age 22 and over. The discussion is based on the author’s great experience and knowledge of the rights of people with disabilities.  She concludes that the good models must be scaled up,…

Taking Action to Combat Child Trafficking in India

“We cannot separate protection from prevention. This represents a false dichotomy” Every year in India, thousands of children are trafficked across the country to work long hours in highly exploitative conditions. Thanks to the efforts of official agencies, a small proportion of these children are rescued and returned to their home states. However, a recently released report by the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights reveals that despite…

Protecting and Integrating Children on the Move

How Germany and Sweden responded to the unprecedented number of children seeking asylum during the current European refugee and migration crisis. By Shanoor Seervai When almost 1.3 million migrants crossed the Mediterranean last year seeking refuge in Europe, each country faced a choice—help those fleeing unspeakable violence and suffering or close the borders and make the lives of these people even more difficult. Germany and Sweden are two countries that…

Special Journal Issue: Tuberculosis and the Right to Health

We are delighted to announce the release of the June 2016 Issue of Health and Human Rights Journal, with a special section on tuberculosis and the right to health. The issue comprises 23 papers covering a vast range of topics. Nine papers in the Special Section cover TB and the right to health. Please take a few minutes to check out our largest ever issue. Selected Articles Petition 329: A…

Seeking Safety Alone

by Jacqueline Bhabha In a recent paper, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants noted: “Given the EU’s share of global resources and wealth of substantive normative standards, recent deaths at sea, the suffering seen at all stages of migration and other human rights issues have to be understood not as the result of some kind of powerlessness, but of political will and policy choices.” This observation applies…

A First of Its Kind Measure to Protect Children

Center research director Jacqueline Bhabha has co-drafted the newly released Recommended Principles for Children on the Move and Other Children Affected by Migration. The Principles were developed via a consultative process with a large number of experts from the United Nations, academia, donor agencies, and civil society organizations. The Principles are written with clarity and concision and agreed on by all major stakeholders. As such, they are the first of…

Tribunal Hears Testimony on Maternal Death in Mexico

Last month Alicia Yamin, our director of policy, served as a judge on the Symbolic Tribunal on Maternal Death and Obstetric Violence in Mexico City. Yamin and her co-judges heard harrowing testimony from 27 women, family members, and service providers from around the country. The tribunal was organized by the Grupo de Información en Reproducción (GIRE) and over 20 co-hosting organizers, including  Harvard FXB Center. The tribunal has a long history…

New Report on Child Protection Challenges in the European Refugee and Migration Crisis (Video)

The Harvard FXB Center has today released a new report detailing the effect of the European refugee and migration crisis on the small Greek island of Lesbos. Here, Jacqueline Bhabha and report author visiting scholar Vasileia Digidiki discuss the urgent and growing child protection challenges and violations on the ground in Lesbos and consider the policy implications of the crisis as a whole on the international child protection system.

Jennifer Leaning on Erosion of Medical Neutrality

Center director Jennifer Leaning was interviewed by CBC Radio’s “The Current,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship national current affairs program, as part of a panel conversation on the subject of medical neutrality. “There’s definitely no safe place for medical assets, medical hospitals, medical personnel. What we’re facing with a complete, I would say, a complete collapse of the very fundamental norm of medical neutrality,” Leaning said. See the full CBC…

State Sponsored Collective Injustice: Reparations for Roma

By John Anusavice On April 8, 2016, Harvard University held its fourth annual Roma conference on the 26 anniversary of International Roma Day. The conference was a pioneering effort to address the wide-ranging question of reparations and to advocate for joint action across historical and geographical spheres. In particular, the event marked a starting point for moving the topic of Romani reparations from the margins of academic and institutional interest…

Child Protection in Iran: A Look at Today

by Krista Oehlke On Wednesday, April 13, as part of Harvard FXB Center’s Works-in-Progress series, , G. Barrie Landry Fellow Maneli Aghakan delivered a presentation on the current state of child protection in Iran. Aghakhan comes to Harvard from the UNICEF Iran office, where she heads the child protection unit. Aghakhan, along with Landry Fellow Ketevan Melikadze, of Georgia, will finish her MPH at the Harvard Chan School with a…

EU Approach to the Syrian Migrant Crisis Ignores the Welfare of Those Already Settled in Europe

“Politicians and the public should be wary of the false reassurance afforded by the decrease in migration rates as a result of the Europe-Turkey agreement.” by Jonathan M. Clarke Recent news reports have described a dramatic reduction in the number of migrants arriving on the shores of Greek islands. On March 26, 2016, the Guardian newspaper reported that the number of migrants arriving on Greek shores had “slowed to a…

The Mean Bargain: The EU/Turkey Refugee and Migrant Deal

The agreement will “create a precedent for globalized indifference to suffering, even when that suffering is on one’s own doorstep…” On March 18 EU leaders and Turkey finally struck their long discussed Grand Bargain. In return for becoming Europe’s buffer against distress migrants fleeing devastating conflict and hardship, President Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian government extracted valuable political and economic booty – the prospect of visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish…

Ending Forced Labor in India: What Does It Take?

For immediate release: Thursday, March 31, 2016 Boston, MA – Neither legal nor socio-economic interventions have eradicated widespread forced and bonded labor in India. But a new report published today by Harvard University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights provides some hope for progress. With detailed evidence and meticulous analysis, the report documents the very positive impact of a community organization’s work on entrenched labor exploitation in Uttar Pradesh, India’s…

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…

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…

A Glorious Thing Made Up of Stardust

January 26, 2016. A few days before his 27th birthday, Rohith Vemula hanged himself in the venue where he and other Dalit student activists gathered for their meetings and discussions.  A second-year PhD student in life sciences at the prestigious Hyderabad Central University (among India’s top 10), Vemula wrote in his suicide letter: “I feel a growing gap between my soul and my body. And I have become a monster.…

Roma Education Fund Celebrates Ten Years

Center instructor and prominent Roma rights advocate Margareta Matache is featured in a short video documentary on the work of the Roma Education Fund, of which she is a Board member. Since 2005 – the beginning of Europe’s Decade of Roma Inclusion – the REF has worked to close the educational gap between Roma and non-Roma children across the European Union. In addition to Matache, the video features George Soros…

2016 Global School Applications

Applications for the Global School on Health Rights Litigation (June 13-17, 2016) are now being accepted. This year Harvard FXB has partnered with the prestigious O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, which will hold the one-week intensive course. Application deadline: April 1, 2016. Visit the website for application details.

When Water Is Safer Than Land

by Jacqueline Bhabha The jubilation that accompanied the flowering of the Arab Spring is long gone as its deadly aftermath—in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere—spirals into transcontinental turmoil. We face the prospect of a grim winter. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people in flight from those indiscriminate civil wars (not to mention the chaos in Iraq and Yemen, the turmoil in parts of Africa, and the ethnic oppression in Myanmar) face…

India Partition Project

Center director Jennifer Leaning is leading a study into the humanitarian dimensions of what is still the largest recorded instance of forced migration, the 1947 partition of British India. In December, Leaning traveled to Lahore and Karachi to forge collaborations with university colleagues in both cities to pursue archival research on the Pakistani humanitarian response to the several million who entered Pakistan during those years. The project, housed at Harvard’s…

Reflections on Harvard’s National ID Conference 2015

by Justin Hughes “…we still remain far less cynical about the motives of the private sector than we do our (usually) elected officials.” I recently had the privilege of attending the National ID Conference at Harvard University. Over the course of a packed few days, we heard from an array of exceptional speakers, had many interesting discussions and were kept (mostly!) on schedule by an excellent set of moderators and…

Integrated Education in Europe: Privilege or Right?

by Margareta Matache “A worldwide recognized right has progressively been recast into something those with only privileged status can enjoy.” “I am proud that my son is graduating from high school this year. There are few Roma children in our community who finish high school. If my boy had had an education where he was separated from other (non-Roma) children, he would no longer be in school now, he would…

Investing in Children at the Margins

On November 3 Center instructor and Roma rights specialist Magareta Matache spoke at an Institute of Medicine  convening, the Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally. On the panel Reaching and Investing in Children at the Margins, Matache spoke on ethnic and linguistic diversity among young Roma children in Europe.    

Benefits, Concerns Around National ID Systems

by Amy Roeder This article originally appeared on the website of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. November 24, 2015. Across the globe, legal identification is required for essential tasks such as opening a bank account, accessing government assistance, and registering for school. But around a third of the world’s population — 2.4 billion people — lack an official ID. While some countries are now grappling with the challenges…

Modern Slavery and Public Health

By Krista Oehlke It has been estimated that 80 million people – millions of them children – are enslaved, in varying forms, around the world. Its imprint is all around us. For example, a seminal 2014 Harvard FXB Center report authored by Siddharth Kara exposes the shocking conditions to which young children are exposed in India’s hand-woven carpet industry, a major source of carpets  for the United States. And yet…

A Brief History of National ID Cards

“ID card adoption is more likely following economic or political shocks” by Connor T. Jerzak National ID cards can provoke diverse reactions. In some countries, identity cards are seen as uncontroversial,even boring, documents. In others, the cards can arouse heated controversy. In short, what is striking about national ID cards is how debate over their merits has varied over space and time. In this blog, we trace out this evolution…

From Community to Emergency Room

On October 30 Director Jennifer Leaning delivered a keynote at the Annual Conference on Disaster Preparedness and Response 2015: From Community to Emergency Room in Hong Kong. The conference was the culmination of the first year of Harvard FXB Center’s involvement in the Disaster Resilience and Response Program, a collaboration between the center, local universities, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute. Leaning’s keynote outlined risks…