Reports & Policy Briefs


Digidiki, Vasileia, and Jacqueline Bhabha, Emergency Within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece, focuses on the situation facing refugee and migrant children in Greece, a key site of distress migration. The report documents an alarming pattern of exploitation and abuse, including physical violence and sexual abuse.  It examines the complex factors that expose children as young as 11 to regular sexual exploitation in central Athens, and it investigates the circumstances in Greek camps that contribute to regular patterns of violence and abuse.

Balsari, Satchit, and Tarun Khanna, Exchanging Health Information: Setting an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda (Harvard South Asia Institute). Using India as a case example, this report explores requirements for electronic exchange of health information. India offers an extraordinary opportunity for considering these issues, as most health records are paper (which means India lacks the contention among systems in the US) and the government is currently creating a regulatory authority and writing health information laws. As well, the government has recently rolled out a unique biometric digital identification system, Aadhaar. The report grew out of a September 2016 interdisciplinary two-day conference organized by Dr. Balsari and others, with the support of SAI and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. The report forms part of an approach to advance healthcare equity in India through technology, task shifting, and training (3T).

Balsari, Satchit, Mrudula Phadke, Greg Simon, Raghav Goyal, and Ian Mulholland, Task Shifting in Healthcare: Reframing the Ayush Debate (Harvard South Asia Institute) offers a new angle on the tension between allopathic and non-allopathic medicine. Dr. Balsari and his team review task shifting in Indian healthcare, considering the potential of practitioners in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (Ayush) to alleviate chronic workforce gaps in rural areas. Part of “Livelihood Creation in India through Social Entrepreneurship and Skill Development” (a Tata-Trust-funded project at the South Asia Institute), the report describes task shifting and training as paths towards healthcare equity in India, forming part of the 3T approach—task shifting, training, and technology.


capture-com-coverBhabha, J., et al., Children on the Move. An Urgent Human Rights and Child Protection Priority. This report examines the legal framework for protecting child migrants, as well as risk factors and responses to the sexual abuse of children on the move. An area of emphasis is the importance of addressing the needs of these vulnerable children, often deeply affected by multiple traumas, before their asylum status is determined.

Digidiki, V. Humanitarianism in Crisis: Lesbos, Greece. This report provides an Capture-humanitarianismeyewitness account of the mounting humanitarian crisis unfolding on the island of Lesbos, as an unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees overwhelms both local and national resources. Provides a chronological overview of the unprecedented mass migration over 2015/2016 and its impact on local life. Also critiques the failures of both Greek and European policy to mitigate the crisis.

Capture-R+R-report-coverDonger, E., & Bhabha, J. Is This Protection? Analyzing India’s Approach to the Rescue and Reintegration of Children Trafficked for Labor Exploitation. Provides a comprehensive and critical analysis of the Indian government’s efforts to rescue and reintegrate children trafficked for their labor.

Gausman, J., Chernoff, M., Duger, A., Bhabha, J., Chu, H., et al. When We Raise Our Voice.Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.22.18 AM examines the impact of a multifaceted, sustained, community-based intervention to eradicate forced and bonded labor. Centers on the efforts of Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS), a local NGO dedicated to the elimination of exploitative labor practices within low caste, remote communities, home to some of India’s most economically disenfranchised and vulnerable populations.


Matache, M. Strategies and Tactics to Combat Segregation of Roma Children in Schools. Analyzes rsz_2p1070157the interventions employed by civil society organizations in six European Union countries to advocate for the development and implementation of measures to prevent the segregation of Roma children in schools. Presents six case studies based on in-depth literature review and conversations with communities, experts, and stakeholders in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Romania. Click here to read a brief version (digest) of the report.

Capture-child-poverty-brief-sdg Indicators to measure child poverty in the SDGs, March 2015. The Coalition of Partners Working to End Child Poverty – of which Harvard FXB is a founding member – has developed a policy brief that assesses how child poverty can be included as part of the new monitoring framework of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). The brief provides specific recommendations to support United Nations member states in framing their new poverty reduction indicators post 2015. See the brief (PDF) and statement by Save the Children and UNICEF, the coalition’s co-chairs. [Policy brief]


Jordan 2014 FXB policy briefAbisaab, J, Balsari, S, Ali Siam, Z, et al. Syrian Refugees in Jordan: Urgent Issues and Recommendations. November 2014. Based on a Harvard FXB field investigation in Jordan in June 2014 and drawing on a prior FXB field investigation conducted in Lebanon in November 2013, presents an assessment of key problems and provides key recommendations to the policy community aimed at improving life conditions for the estimated 600,000 Syrian refugees now in Jordan.

Bartells, S, Hamill, K. Running Out of Time: Survival of Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon,  January 2014. Documents the findings of Capture-Lebanon policy brief 2014a rapid assessment of the needs of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon undertaken over 10 days in November 2013. Addresses stressful living conditions, deprivation of basic needs, social isolation, and child labor, among others. Also discussed is the response of the Lebanese government and international actors to the growing humanitarian crisis. [Policy brief]

FXB Harvard. Post-war Kosovo and Its Policies Towards the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities, July 2014. In a climate of complex parallel structures, post-war tensions, and historical prejudice, a Harvard FXB research team examined the barriers to Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian access to education, employment and documentary proof of identity. The team also probed issues of national identity and values, in view of Kosovo’s struggles to integrate minority communities and become a multicultural society.

Capture-Kara-tainted-carpetsKara, S. Tainted Carpets: Slavery and Child Labor in India’s Hand-Made Carpet Sector, January 2014. This investigation sought to fill gaps in previous studies of India’s handmade carpet sector. Over 3,200 cases covering 9 states in northern India are investigated. The report covers “all modes of slave-like labor exploitation” in the carpet sector and documents the supply chain from production source to retail markets in the United States.

Leaning, J. Gaza, 2014 Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission, 2014. On 8 July 2014, Israel initiated a military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Although accounts vary, most estimates put the number of residents of Gaza killed in the 50-day armed conflict at over 2,100. Questions arose regarding violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the course of the conflict. In July 2014, following discussions with Al Mezan Center for Human Rights,Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) commissioned a fact-finding mission to Gaza, whose aim was to gather evidence and draw preliminary conclusions regarding types, causes and patterns of injuries and attacks; attacks on medical teams and facilities; evacuation; impact of the conflict on the healthcare system; and longer-term issues including rehabilitation of the wounded, mental health, public health and displacement. 

Matache, M., Fuller, A. Accelerating Patterns of Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary, February 2014. This analysis aims to alert the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and other intergovernmental bodies to the persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against the Roma in Hungary. Argues that the resurgence of hate crimes and discrimination indicates a need for vigorous early assessment of the risk of violence and for measures to ensure the safety of Roma and other minority groups.


Bustreo, F, Hunt, P., et al. Women and Children’s Health. Evidence of Impact of Human Rights. “Finds that applying human rights to women’s and children’s health interventions not only helps governments comply with their binding obligations, but also contributes to improving the health of women and children. It also shows that few human rights-shaped women’s and children’s health policies are accompanied by research and evaluation that is well equipped to capture many of the human rights dimensions of the interventions.” (World Health Organization)

Yamin, AE. “Applying human rights to maternal health: UN Technical Guidance on rights-based approaches.” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2013; 121(2): 190-193.

Yamin, AE. “From Ideals to Tools: Applying Human Rights to Maternal Health.” PLOS Medicine. 2013; 10(11): e1001546. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed1001546.

Yamin, AE, Boulanger, V, Falb, K, et al. “Costs of Inaction on Maternal Mortality: Qualitative Evidence of the Impacts of Maternal Deaths on Living Children in Tanzania.”  PLOS One, August 2013; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071674