Championing human rights amid disease and discrimination

Episode Summary

Throughout history, governments have seized on catastrophes to seize and consolidate power. Yet official actions like restricting movement, ramping up surveillance, curtailing freedom of assembly, and closing borders can also help control the spread of a deadly pandemic like COVID-19. Harvard Kennedy School Professors Mathias Risse and Jacqueline Bhabha say that while some of these measures may be temporarily necessary to prevent loss of life, safeguards must be put in place to make sure human rights are not eroded over the long term. But how do you promote human rights in a worldwide climate of fear?

Episode Notes

Joining PolicyCast and host Thoko Moyo for this episode are Kennedy School Professors Mathias Risse and Jacqueline Bhabha of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. 

Professor Risse is faculty director of the Carr Center and his work focuses on global justice and the intersections of human rights, the climate crisis, inequality, and technology.  He is also the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School.

Professor Bhabha is an expert in public health — particularly involving children and vulnerable populations — as well as an internationally-known human rights lawyer. She is FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health and  the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School.

To read more about the Carr Center’s work, please visit their website

PolicyCast is hosted by Harvard Kennedy School Associate Dean of Communications Thoko Moyo. The show is produced by Ralph Ranalli and Susan Hughes.