Reclaiming Roma Identity: Fifth Annual Roma Conference at Harvard

Guest Post by John Anusavice April 9 and 10 marked Harvard FXB’s fifth annual Roma conference, “Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution.” This year the event opened in the evening with a one-woman play,  “I Declare at My Own Risk,” written and acted by Alina Şerban, an alumna of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and a Roma artist who grew up in Romania. Her performance delved into the struggles…

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…

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…

New Report: Emergency Within an Emergency, Exploitation of Migrant Children in Greece

For Immediate Release Monday, April 17, 2017 Boston Emergency within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece Much public attention and heartache have been focused on the severe impact of the refugee and migration crisis on children. Images of toddlers drowned and washed up ashore, babies rescued from terrifying journeys, teenagers camping in bitter cold have been widely disseminated. An equally grave…

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…

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…

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,…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

India’s Aadhaar Program: A Legitimate Trade-off between Social Protection and Privacy?

  Will the most vulnerable … have any ability to insist on their notional right to alternative means of identification…? Aadhaar means “foundation” in Hindi. It is the name given to India’s unique identification program, a program that within the last 5 ½ years has registered over 990 million Indian residents. This month, on March 11, 2016, the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament, passed the Aadhaar Bill, which…

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…

Alicia Yamin Named to EWEC Independent Accountability Panel

Policy Director Alicia Yamin selected to be a member of the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman Every Child and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030). From the announcement: “Last September, the UN Secretary-General launched the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health to help further the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda. This strategy builds on 15 years of progress under the Millennium Development…

Alicia Yamin on CRR Verification Commission

Policy director Alicia Ely Yamin is part of a verification commission funded by the Center for Reproductive Rights that will report on Brazil’s implementation of a CEDAW decision recognizing states’ immediate, enforceable obligation to address and reduce maternal mortality. This marks the first time any party has followed up with international recommendations regarding maternal health. Below is a timeline of the landmark legal case, Alyne v. Brazil, which precipitated the…

New Fellows at Harvard FXB Center

The Center is pleased to welcome three new fellows to our policy initiatives team and two new recipients of the UNICEF/Harvard School of Public Health G. Barrie Landry Fellowship. Below find a brief introduction to each. Maneli Aghakhan Maneli Aghakhan is a child protection specialist and head of the Child Protection Unit at UNICEF Iran. In recent years her work has focused on prevention of violence against children, justice for…

Policy director Alicia Ely Yamin is part of a verification commission funded by the Center for Reproductive Rights that will report on Brazil’s implementation of a CEDAW decision recognizing states’ immediate, enforceable obligation to address and reduce maternal mortality. This marks the first time any party has followed up with international recommendations regarding maternal health. Below is a timeline of the landmark legal case, Alyne v. Brazil,  which precipitated the…

Social Justice & Health

Program Goals The Social Justice and the Right to Health program, founded and directed by Alicia Ely Yamin, JD, MPH, is informed by the view that the lack of global progress on women’s and children’s health is not principally due to technical obstacles, but rather to entrenched societal barriers and lack of political will at both the national and international levels. Solutions that ignore root causes and underlying inequalities and…

Economic and Social Impacts of Maternal Death

by Tezeta Tulloch “For many girls, the only viable options that remained were early marriage and early motherhood.”* May 6, 2015. What happens when a mother dies? In the West, the most ready and obvious answer is grief – the harrowing emotional and psychological toll of losing a loved one. A mother’s death is largely viewed as a private tragedy that will grow more manageable in time. But in many…

Violence Against Children in Cambodia: Findings of a National Study

by Chivith Rottanak “…children talked about the reasons that they do not tell others, especially adults, about incidents of violence…” March 23, 2015. The 2006 United Nations Secretary General’s (UNSG) 2006 recommended that countries develop and implement “systematic national data collection and research” on violence against children. In 2013, the Government of Cambodia responded to the UNSG’s call to action by becoming the first country in the East Asia and…

It’s Time to Take Maternal Mortality in Kenya Seriously

Clara Burbano-Herrera

By Clara Burbano- Herrera “The persistently high level of maternal mortality in Kenya in the new millennium should be understood as a failure by state authorities to comply with the commitments they made…” Maternal mortality rates reflect disparities between rich women and poor women, and between developed countries and developing ones.[i] Frequently, a woman’s social, economic, and cultural status is a factor in her chances of surviving pregnancy and childbirth.…

Definitions and Data Essential in Fight against Gender-Based Violence

  By Jillian Foster “GBV reminds women that they are not in charge of their lives or their bodies, and that men ought to be.” Gender-based violence (GBV) is both literal – child marriage, human trafficking, rape, honor killings, and more – and figurative, wielded as a threat. Women experience markedly higher rates of violence, whether direct and explicit or implied, simply because they are women. Don’t take my word…

Debating Rape-Related Abortion in Peru

Camila Gianella

Abortion in Cases of Rape: Toward A Sincere Debate By Camila Gianella October 28, 2014. According to the last Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Peru, 2.8 percent of women aged 15 to 49 who were in a relationship reported having been raped by their partners in the last 12 months. When projected to encompass the general population, this indicates that around 128,307 Peruvian women in that age range…

FXB-UNICEF Child Protection Curriculum

For Immediate Release Harvard and UNICEF team up to train global child protection experts BOSTON, November 6, 2013 – On November 6, 2013, faculty from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will join children’s rights organization UNICEF in a celebration of their new joint child protection curriculum at the School. The partnership will produce one of the first interdisciplinary graduate programs in child protection, which will form a sub-concentration…

Child Abduction Scandal Highlights Roma Stereotypes

Margareta Matache, FXB Fellow and member of the FXB Roma project team, spoke with Al Jazeera America about the recent Roma controversies in Europe. Two Roma families in Ireland and Greece were discovered with blonde, fair-skinned children in their midst — and were promptly separated from the children and investigated for kidnapping. The cases attracted widespread international press, only to have DNA tests reveal that the children were in fact…

International Day of the Girl Child

Innovating for Education October 11, 2013 Across the globe, millions of girls continue to be deprived of an education – a moral imperative and a basic right – due to cultural, financial, and safety barriers. In addition, for young women in many parts of the world, gender-based violence is not only a threat but a part of daily life. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that girls’ empowerment, and specifically education,…

Power of Numbers at the UN

Alicia Ely Yamin Speaks at UN General Assembly Side Event on the Power of Numbers Alicia Ely Yamin, Director of the FXB Center’s Health Rights of Women and Children Program, presented the findings of the Power of Numbers project, conducted in collaboration with Sakiko Fukuda-Parr of the New School for Social Research, at a side event of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2013. The project…

Report: Adolescents, Rights, and Future Opportunities

UNICEF Working Paper Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research for the FXB Center, has authored a report entitled “Adolescents: current rights for future opportunities,” released in conjunction with UNICEF’s Regional Offices for South Asia (ROSA) and East Asia and the Pacific (EAPRO). The report is the second in a working paper series on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights that will help inform the Second High Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation for…

Frontiers in Global Health Seminar Series

The True Costs of Maternal Mortality Alicia Ely Yamin, HRWC Program Director, will moderate a seminar on November 6, 2013 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm as part of the Frontiers in Global Health series on “The True Costs of Maternal Mortality on Children and Families: A Discussion of Findings from Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Malawi.” The speakers for the event include the project leaders for the HRWC Impacts of…

2013 Global School on Socioeconomic Rights

Alicia Ely Yamin

“Be engaged, ask questions, and come with high expectations.” – Course Participant Media Coverage: Harvard Gazette; HSPH News The FXB Center’s Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children (HRWC) hosted the second annual course on health rights litigation from September 16 – 20, 2013, as part of the Global School on Socioeconomic Rights. This one-week intensive course offers participants an opportunity to develop specialist-level knowledge in relation to…

PLOS ONE Publishes Data from HRWC Impacts Study

PLOS ONE, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal from the Public Library of Science, has published Costs of Inaction on Maternal Mortality: Qualitative Evidence of the Impacts of Maternal Deaths on Living Children in Tanzania, the first set of data from the Impacts of Maternal Deaths on Living Children Study, conducted by the FXB Center’s Health Rights of Women and Children (HRWC) program. The paper authors are Alicia Ely Yamin, HRWC Program…