Flawed New Proposals to Reform Child Labor Law in India

by Angela Duger and Jacqueline Bhabha “These exceptions strip the reform of its power…” July 9, 2105. On May 13, 2015, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Modi, approved some far-reaching changes to India’s child labor laws.[1] This move brings the country one step closer to adopting the 2012 Amendment to the long outdated 1986 Child Labor Act, which has for nearly 30 years regulated child labor throughout India.…

Solitary Confinement & Mental Illness: Letter to the Editor & Author Response

by Thomas R. Blair and Keramet A. Reiter Among approximately two million incarcerated people in the United States, fifty percent or more have mental illness. To the Editors: Glowa-Kollisch and colleagues present a well-considered and pragmatically impactful examination of “dual loyalty” concerns for mental health professionals in New York City jails.[1] We appreciate their particular focus on solitary confinement, and their recognition that “many institutions employ health and mental health…

Social Protection and Human Rights

July 7, 2015. The Social Protection and Human Rights platform promotes awareness of human rights based approaches to social protection. Its aim is to encourage critical thinking about current systems of social protection and to help bridge gaps between policy and practice. Established in 2013, the platform is an initiative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC),…

Free Human Rights Course, July 2015

A free nanocourse* on health and human rights will be held at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in July 2015. The short course will focus on the region sometimes referred to as the “Global South”: Latin and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Most states in the Global South have ratified international human rights treaties that recognize the right to health. However, in practice…

Ali’s Triumph

June 23, 2015. When he was just over a year old, Rahel noticed that her little boy, Ali, did not behave like other children. He liked to be alone, spending hours and hours in front of the television or staring at nothing at all. She tried playing games with him, but he didn’t seem to notice. When she called, he didn’t answer. He didn’t speak, or look others in the…

The Struggles of Roma in Kosovo

Mitrovica Bridge

By Dr. Bernd Franke June 19, 2015. In December 2014, local residents of Llaushë/Lauša village, in the city of Skenderaj in northern Kosovo, approached the Department of Forensic Medicine and reported a possible mass grave in the village cemetery. Four bodies had been buried there in the late nineties, during the Kosovo War, they said. In late April of this year, forensic experts from the European Union Rule of Law…

Building Childhoods, Building Peace

by Jacqueline Bhabha June 15, 2015. What is the connection between early childhood and peace? Can attention to early childhood development be a pathway to peacemaking and peacebuilding?  This was the ambitious topic of an international conference in Istanbul on June 10, organized by ACEV, an innovative, well-known Turkish mother and child development program, UNICEF, and Yale University. Speakers explored a very broad range of topics related to this expansive theme.…

OHCHR: Adolescents and Their Rights

By Jacqueline Bhabha June 8, 2015. Last week I attended a two-day colloquium at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as one of a group of about 30 experts invited to discuss a draft General Comment (GC) to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[i] The topic: adolescence. The diverse group debated a wide range of issues, central among which were how to define…

Resource Guide

Harvard FXB, by invitation from Open Society Foundations (OSF), has developed the 5th edition of the Health and Human Rights Resource Guide. The Resource Guide has been designed to be a user-friendly, multi-purpose tool in advocating for health and human rights with a wide array of users, including health workers, trainers, program designers, litigators, and policymakers. The Resource Guide covers basic concepts in health and human rights. The introduction provides…

Health, Human Rights & Social Justice

Program Goals The Health, Human Rights, and Social Justice 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 power…

Gender & Adolescence

Program Goals The Gender and Adolescent Agency program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights investigates the factors impinging on educational access for marginalized, Indian adolescent girls, as part of a more general inquiry into agency and empowerment. The goal of the program is to probe the enduring challenge of female educational disadvantage in India in order to  generate an evidence base for enhancing the access of disadvantaged…

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…

Gender, Children, & Maternal Death

June 3, 2015. We now know that the toll of maternal death is far higher than generally assumed. This means that the drop in maternal mortality seen in some countries over the past decade is not by itself sufficient measure of the success of efforts to prioritize maternal health on the global health agenda. Maternal death is not just about mothers. “Tracing Shadows: How Gendered Power Relations Shape the Impacts…

Fighting School Segregation in Europe

by Margareta Matache and Arlan Fuller “The Roma movement has not been yet ready to…use protest, as a strategic pressure tactic.” May 27, 2015. School segregation stands as a stark expression of historic and current injustice against the Roma in Europe. In spite of legal and policy measures that now exist, the practice has neither stopped nor significantly diminished, as emphasized by Harvard FXB and DARE-Net in the Strategies and…

World Health Assembly Spotlight on Maternal & Newborn Health

By Rima Jolivet May 18, 2015. In an important development for the global maternal health community, the long-awaited Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) will be launched at the 68th World Health Assembly, at an event hosted by Cameroon and Malawi and co-sponsored by the contributors to the Every Newborn Action Plan. This event marks the culmination of over two years of consensus work and collaboration with multiple stakeholders…

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…

Child Marriage and the Ghanaian Girl

By Emelia Allan “I know this not only because the research says so, but because of my own experience as a Ghanaian woman…” May 6, 2015. As a member of the Kassena-Nankani ethnic group in Ghana, I grew up seeing my cousins and other girls suffer the pain of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage too often and usually against their will. Although they detested these acts, not submitting…

Cambodian Children Need Better Alternative Care Options

by Chivith Rottanak “I feel like a duck in a cage, afraid someone will cook me….”* May 6, 205. In 2006 Cambodia adopted its Policy on Alternative Care for Children.[1] The policy is based on the premise that children are best raised in families and in communities, and that institutional care should serve as a temporary stopgap and last resort.[2] Later in 2006, the Ministry of Social Affairs issued a…

Europe 2020 and Roma Rights

by Ashley Collins May 1, 2015. “We are here to celebrate.” With this declaration Harvard FXB Director of Research Jacqueline Bhabha set the tone for the International Roma Day panel held at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies on April 8. This year, which marks the 25th anniversary of International Roma Day, Harvard FXB hosted a panel discussion to both reflect on the challenges facing the Roma in Europe and…

An Appeal to Protect the Children of Yemen

by Noor Al-Kasadi April 29, 2015. The situation in Yemen is complex. My country has endured many long years of chronic poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment and weak basic services. Yemen has also high rates of maternal, infant and under-five mortality as well as high rates of malnutrition. Complicating matters, Yemen serves as a transit point for migrants from the Horn of Africa seeking entry into Saudi Arabia. The more than one…

Lancet-Georgetown Commission on Global Health and the Law

April 21, 2015. Professor Alicia Ely Yamin is representing Harvard FXB on the newly launched Lancet – O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University Commission on Global Health and the Law. This purpose of the commission is to promote the perception of the law “as a major determinant of health and safety [that] can be utilized as a powerful and innovative tool to address pressing global health concerns.” The commission’s launch was accompanied…

Digital Mapping for Human Rights

by Ariel Low “…the merging of mapping and human rights presents a tremendous new opportunity to [gather] information about human rights abuses…” April 10, 2015. Digital mapping is uniquely suited to documenting human rights abuses because the human eye is drawn to images. Moreover, human rights abuses are inherently linked to geographical context. Working with Christoph Koettl of Amnesty International, I helped create a new website, Human Rights Mapping, which…

Bringing Together Global Health and Religion

April 6, 2015. Last Friday Harvard FXB was pleased to host the launch of Beholden: Religion, Global Health, and Human Rights, a new book by Susan Holman. The book considers two approaches to achieving health and equity that are often classified as ideologically disparate. On the one hand there is the human-rights based approach, which is rooted in systems of economic development and public health, along with the language of…

Taking Stock of Roma Inclusion in Romania

by Georgian Lunca “While endorsing Roma enrollment in school, policymakers have not hesitated to enforce social exclusion by physically separating the Roma…” Today, Roma communities worldwide celebrate the 25th International Roma Day. Although officially adopted in 1990 at the 4th Congress of the International Romani Union, the celebration also echoes the first major gathering of Roma leaders, in London, in April 1971. It was then that the Roma anthem and…

UNICEF Child Protection Chief at Harvard Chan School

by Krista Oehlke “Child protection is not ‘child protective services,’ but encompasses a wide range of issues…which urgently need addressing.” April 1, 2015. Last Friday, Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s chief of child protection, spoke to a room teeming with students from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Law School, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Fletcher School of Law and…

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…

Birth Registration Will Mean Greater Protection for Children in Yemen

by Noor Al-Kasadi “Children without birth certificates are … at increased risk of being trafficked … or forcibly recruited into conflict.” March 23, 2015. Every child has the right to be granted a birth certificate immediately after birth. The birth certificate recognizes that the child exists and safeguards all other rights, especially the right to protection from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Unfortunately, “Yemen has the lowest birth registration rate…

An Identity for Every Child: Birth Registration and Equity in Ghana

by Emelia Allan “If children count…we must count them.” March 18, 2015. Article 7 (1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) stipulates that “the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”[i] Yet…

On the Far Reaching Consequences of Maternal Mortality

“Remedies can’t be tied to a broken system.” Worldwide, about 290,000 women die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. From a numerical perspective, this figure appears to denote a situation less urgent than that suggested by the figures for other global health threats, such as malaria (630,000 per year) and HIV (1.5 million). In the developing world, where 90 percent of maternal deaths take place, however,…

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.…

ILO Convention 182: What Myanmar Should Do Next

“Children should not labor in the mines; they should go to schools financed by them.” December 18, 2014: The 1999 International Labour Organization Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (Convention No. 182) has at last entered into force today, in Myanmar. The Convention requires states parties to “take immediate and effective measures” to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour. It applies to…

Human Like Me — Somewhat: Child Migrants in Our Global Age

In recognition of International Migrants Day (December 18), we reflect on the movements of people across borders–the myriad issues that drive people from “home” to new lands in which they take on the new identity of the “other.” With a particular focus on children, Jacqueline Bhabha explores this issue through the multilidiscplinary lens of human rights in her book Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age, published earlier…

Peshawar School Massacre: An Assault Against Us All

Statement of Solidarity with the People of Peshawar The deadly attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 constitutes an assault against us all. We are appalled by the terrible loss of life suffered by the school children and teachers and acknowledge with deep sorrow those who died in this massacre. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families and to our colleagues in Pakistan. We…

Facing History & Ourselves: Two Teaching Videos about the Roma

FXB Center instructor Magda Matache’s is featured in two short films currently available on the website of Facing History and Ourselves, a global education project focusing on discrimination and racial injustice. In “We Call Ourselves Roma” Matache eloquently summarizes the Roma’s history of statelessness and fight for recognition and justice in Europe and across the world. The second video, “Tackling Discrimination against Roma in Schools,” deals specifically with the marginalization…

New! 20th Anniversary Issue of Health & Human Rights Journal

“…even in low-income countries, important demands for health-related entitlements are being framed in terms of legally enforceable claims.” We’re delighted to announce the publication of the latest issue of Health and Human Rights Journal, which marks the 20th anniversary of its founding. The new issue has a special focus on health rights in the judicial context. From the special guest editor (and our policy director, Alicia Ely Yamin): “The articles…

Ending Violence against the World’s Children Post 2015: Targets and Tempered Optimism

by Orla Kelly “…sustainable development, without the protection of children from violence and abuse, is impossible.” The mission to end all forms of violence and abuse against the world’s children will likely be included in the post 2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the form of the following targets: the elimination of violence, abuse and torture against all children (16.2) the elimination of all forms of violence against women and…

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 for…

A Long Way Home: Two Trafficked Children, One Local NGO

by Angela Duger “…it is victims like Pratibha and Gunjan whom we must keep in the forefront of our minds.” This is a story about two teenage girls, Pratibha and Gunjan, who lived in a remote village in Jharkhand, India. Pratibha was studying in a government school and dreamed of becoming an English teacher. In 2008 the girls left their village with the promise of a job in Delhi, with…

Why We Can’t Ignore Child Protection in Migration

by Krista Oehlke “Vulnerable children are frequently treated as culpable “illegals” or warehoused outsiders, rather than minors with potential and ambition in need of care.” FXB Harvard Research Director Jacqueline Bhabha delivered a keynote address at a global Save the Children meeting on child protection challenges facing child migrants in Stockholm on Monday November 24, 2014.  Convened to inform the next strategic planning phase of the world’s largest child rights NGO, the…

New FXB Policy Brief: Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Jordan 2014 FXB policy brief

The violent conflict in Syria has caused the displacement of almost 11 million people to date. Over 3 million refugees have flowed into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Their numbers have severely strained humanitarian capacity, which is further weakened by insufficient funding and inadequate policies. The situation is a grave one for the estimated 600,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan. This brief presents an assessment of the most urgent issues…

New Internships for Harvard Students Starting January 2015

2015 FXB Field Education Internships in Rwanda and Colombia The FXB Center is offering new internship opportunities to Harvard students starting in January 2015. Selected applicants will work in the field of community development in either Rwanda or Colombia. Summer internships are also available. More detailed information on the Rwanda internship and how to apply can be found here. Click here for further information on applying for an internship in…

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…

Blog: Alicia Yamin on Why Ebola is a Human Rights Crisis

Health worker in an Ebola screening unit in Kenema government hospital

The catastrophic Ebola crisis unfolding in West Africa offers many lessons, not least for global anti-poverty efforts. These will culminate in a set of targets, to be agreed by the United Nations in 2015, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First of all, the crisis should lead to a re-think of the triumphalism that has marked some of the global health debate in recent years, with some projecting a…

Article: FXB Policy Director Alicia Ely Yamin in a Specal Series of The Lancet

Alicia Ely Yamin

Along with Rifat Atun, professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Julio Frenk, HSPH dean, FXB policy director Alicia Ely Yamin has contributed to a Special Series issue of The Lancet released October 16, 2014. The theme of the issue is universal health care in Latin America. Human Rights-based Approaches to Health in Latin America, co-authored with Ariel Frisancho of ForoSalud, in Peru,…

On Demand Video: Women’s Lives Matter: The Impact of Maternal Death on Families & Communities

 On Twitter: @FXBHarvard; Hashtag: #ACostTooHigh Listen to podcast: “Women’s Lives Matter” was a discussion on October 7, 2014, about the dramatic economic and social impacts of a woman’s death during pregnancy or childbirth, featuring an expert group of panelists. The discussion emphasized strategies for using research findings to advocate for sustained funding and new policy approaches  for reproductive and maternal health in the context of post-2015 agenda setting. The panelists were:…

Briefing Paper: Kosovo’s policies towards Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians

July 29, 2014 — The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights today published a briefing paper following field work in Kosovo in June 2013. The team investigated the conditions of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in five communities, identifying the main issues faced by these minority communities, including forced repatriation, access to education and discrimination. The report concludes with recommendations for national and international governments and organizations to respect the rights of…

June Issue of Health and Human Rights Journal is Released

Special Issue on Climate Justice and the Right to Health June 13, 2014 — The FXB Center today released Issue 16.1 of the Health and Human Rights Journal, which has a special theme on climate justice and the right to health. This issue includes an editorial co-written by editor-in-chief Paul Farmer, as well as a foreword to the climate justice section by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Human…

Strengthening Disaster Preparedness in China

In late March, FXB Center Director Jennifer Leaning and FXB Fellow Elizabeth Newnham traveled to China at the invitation of the Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC). Leaning and Newnham joined a group from CCOUC’s Ethnic Minority Health Project to explore issues of disaster preparedness and public health issues in a remote, flood-prone village in southern Sichuan…

Registration is Open for the Global School on Socioeconomic Rights: Course on Health Rights Litigation

Application Deadline is July 1, 2014 The Global School on Socioeconomic Rights: Course on Health Rights Litigation will be held November 3-5, 2014. Applications are due to rcantor@hsph.harvard.edu by July 1, 2014. Read more about the Global School on Socioeconomic Rights: 2014 Course on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Litigation and access the application. The last fifteen years have seen a tremendous growth in the number of health rights…

Commission on Global Governance for Health Publishes Findings in The Lancet

February 11, 2014 — A new Commission from The Lancet and the University of Oslo, of which Jennifer Leaning, FXB Center Director, and Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, are both members, has issued an urgent call for a reform of global decision-making to address health inequalities worldwide. The current global governance system fails to protect the public’s health and the distribution of health risks remains…