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,…

FXB and MEI Host “Building Bridges” Seminar: An Interdisciplinary Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

By Lara Jirmanus The Syrian refugee crisis has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.  The conflict, which began as a popular uprising in 2011, has become a battleground for regional and global powers, with over 400,000 killed and no end in sight. According to a December 2016 UN report, more than half of the Syrian population has been displaced, including at least 6.3 million internally, 4.8…

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…

No Health Without Housing in Haiti

destroyed street in Haiti

                By Victoria Fan, Bradley Chen, and Arlan Fuller Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads . . . . . .  defend you From seasons such as these? —Shakespeare, King Lear, 3.4, lines 1831-35 Hurricane Matthew stormed through Haiti on October 4, killing hundreds and leaving many others without shelter. Hurricane…

Violence Against Children in Lao PDR

By Phetviengkhone Sayasane The 2006 United Nations Secretary-General’s World Report on Violence against Children indicates that violence against children, including child sexual abuse and severe physical violence, is a challenge in many countries. Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR)  is no exception. This violence cuts across boundaries of age, geography, religion, ethnicity and income. It also takes a multitude of forms, which are often rooted in social, cultural and economic practices.…

Confronting the Refugee Crisis

The work of Harvard FXB Center is featured in the third installment of an occasional Harvard Gazette series on the university’s engagement with the European refugee crisis. The piece makes reference to a new Harvard FXB report, Children on the Move: An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority, which analyzes the legal frameworks for protecting migrating children in various countries, along with case studies of the immigration situation in…

Global Coalition to End Child Poverty: New Briefing Paper & Website

The Global Coalition to End Child Poverty raises awareness of child poverty around the world and supports global and national action to alleviate it. On October 17 the coalition launched its new website and issued a briefing paper which outlines key building blocks addressing child poverty and offers evidence and experience that countries can use to support national policy discussions. Harvard FXB Center is one of some twenty partners that…

Donkeys for School: An Appropriate Intervention for Children Living with Disabilities in Eritrea

By Samuel Isaac Eritrea’s challenging terrain, with steep mountains and sandy lowlands, makes transportation difficult for children living with disabilities (CLWD). This is especially true for those with mobility difficulties, as the terrain hinders their to access school. In addition, some communities hide their disabled children, especially if the disability has been with the child since birth, aggravating the multidimensional violation of the child’s rights to education, health, entertainment and…

AT THE UN: Launch of a Global Alliance to Eradicate Forced Labor, Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Child Labor

By Elizabeth Donger The Sustainable Development Goals guide global action to address our collective and most pressing human challenges. September 21, 2016, marked the launch of a Global Alliance to address SDG 8.7: the eradication of forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labor. The alliance brings together diverse actors to collaborate and support each other in efforts to address these pervasive rights violations. At this side event of…

Prozak Diaries

Harvard FXB Center fellow Orkideh Behrouzan has published a new book, Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran, an analysis of the development of psychiatric discourse in Iran in the post-1980s context. From the cover: “Orkideh Behrouzan traces the historical circumstances that prompted the development of psychiatric discourses in Iran and reveals the ways in which they both reflect and actively shape Iranians’ cultural sensibilities. A physician and an…

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…

CALL FOR PAPERS: Discrimination against Roma & Effects on Health

Submission deadline: 28 February 2017 by Jacqueline Bhabha, Margareta Matache, and Teresa Sordé Martí Wherever they live, whether in low- or high-income regions, Roma populations experience significantly greater difficulty accessing health rights than the majority population.  A substantial body of research and several civil society reports reflect serious concern regarding the implementation of fundamental principles that are essential tools for ensuring a universal right to health.  According to these materials,…

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…