The Hauser Center’s program in Justice & Human Rights focuses squarely on the questions, interests and needs of NGOs from the global south who are responding to grave crimes and injustices in their countries and beyond. Our work connects these vital civil society actors to each other – and to expertise and resources at Harvard and beyond – to strengthen their ability to address real-time and emerging opportunities and challenges in the field.
Today, a host of new forces is dramatically reshaping both the geopolitical arena and the struggle for human rights. Over the last two decades the strategies, laws and normative frameworks that recognize and advance rights have evolved dramatically, and brand-new regional and international mechanisms and institutions have emerged. New southern actors and “emerging democracies” are changing the global balance of power, requiring human rights and justice NGOs to balance and blend multiple priorities that transcend simple geographies of nation, region, or ‘north and south.’ A new generation of activists is on the rise, facilitated by advances in information and communication technologies that present both “leapfrogging” opportunities and new risks. And the entwined realms of law, politics, and religion require change-makers to effectively blend technical and creative capacities.
These kinds of new regional and global realities raise huge implications for civil society organizations attempting to respond to immediate community demands for justice and confronting the accountability of public and private actors. While southern NGOs are already advancing justice and human rights in their countries in many ways, there are few opportunities for these leaders to discuss their experiences, share and compare perspectives and dilemmas, and learn about new opportunities for domestic action within the evolving field and international arena.
The Hauser Center’s Justice & Human Rights program helps to fill this gap. Our strategy sessions, conferences, and executive seminars, and the tools we produce (discussion papers, case studies and briefing books) are designed to strengthen the knowledge, capacity and networks of leading southern human rights and justice NGOs working at the forefront of the human rights movement.