Program on Human RightsProgram
The Program on Human Rights is a unique intersection of the social sciences and public-policy formation and implementation. It provides a forum for the dozens of Stanford faculty who work in disciplines that engage or border on human rights (including law, philosophy, political science, education, human biology, public health, history and religious studies) and the more than 30 student-initiated human rights groups on campus. It seeks to relate the research and findings of the academic disciplines to domestic and human rights policy today.
Human rights play a growing role as a standard of ethical justification in today's world. Whether conceived of as a standard for political and legal reform within the U.S. or as a set of transnational rules for affecting the actions of governments abroad, ideas about human rights shape expectations about life, personal security, health, education, work, fair treatment, and politics. Human rights claims are made in the name of civil and political rights (such as the right to due process), as socio-economic freedoms (such as labor rights), and in the name of politically marginalized groups like women and children. Still newer conceptualizations about human rights have argued for the right to development, the right to a clean environment, and the right to democratic governance. Human rights claims are increasingly attached to formal and procedural criteria and violations of human rights are often perceived by the international community as threats to good governance.
This program seeks to understand how human rights can best be deployed to advance social justice, freedom, equality, development and the rule of law. Which people and institutions set and apply human rights standards? What are the primary obstacles (legal, political, social, economic and technological) to advancing human rights, and how can they be overcome? And given the divergence in the cultural norms, patterns of economic and legal organization, religious, moral and political creeds within and across nation states, should human rights standards differ from place to place?
The program has several dimensions
- A university-wide human rights clearinghouse to encourage inter-disciplinary awareness, dialogue and cooperation. This entails a website, centralized calendar, and mailing list of rights-related events e-mailed bi-monthly to over 500 faculty, researchers and students. It is constantly expanding. The clearinghouse distributes information about courses at Stanford, job opportunities, internships, summer schools, conferences, etc., in the area of human rights and will eventually be the basis for the dissemination of research results and service learning experiences.
- Internships for undergraduate and graduate students interested in human rights, especially with an international emphasis. Working with the McCoy Center for Ethics and the Haas Center for Service, we aim to create new internship opportunities that focus on some aspect of human rights, building on current pilot programs and ad hoc efforts.
- A research seminar, held in conjunction with the Program on Global Justice, where leading scholars and practitioners report on both the theory and practice of human rights.
- Interdisciplinary research programs. Research areas will include, but will not be limited to:
- The scope and limits of courts as mechanisms for the creation and spread of human rights norms and laws in conjunction with a 3-year grant from the Stanford Presidential Fund for Innovation in International Studies on Courts, Politics and Human Rights and conducted by Joshua Cohen, Terry Karl, Jennifer Martinez and Helen Stacy;
- The expansion of international, national, regional and interest-based institutions - political, economic, military, and community-based - that address human rights problems;
- Issues of genocide, torture, and the protection of civilians from crimes against humanity;
- Transitional justice, accountability and impunity for human rights violators;
- Human rights issues related to persistent poverty, inequality and development, including the struggle over resources;
- The rights of women and minorities, including unequal access to economic resources, efforts to address violence against women, and innovations in knowledge;
- The place of information technology in the defense and promotion of human rights, especially the use of enhanced search technology for transitional justice, the use of streaming video to aid in dissemination of key findings, and the exploration of other technologies facilitating communication in difficult settings;
Future activities of the program may include the development of an interdisciplinary curriculum in human rights and a team-taught course on the subject. The program also hopes to establish policy-based and service-learning seminars to prepare students for work in the field and to formulate recommendations for improvements in practices upon students' completion of internships or service learning experiences.
Through all of these activities the importance of diversity of all kinds will be a constant and strong theme. Our objective is to influence the debate about human rights values and practices as well as identify "best practices" for improving respect for human rights in the United States and internationally.
Grants and Fellowship Opportunities:
- Courts, Politics and Human Rights
CDDRL, FSI Stanford, PHR Project
- Globalization and Human Rights
- Second and Third Generation Rights in Africa
Events & Presentations
Only 5 recent/upcoming are displayed. More events & presentations »
- Shaping the Global Agenda on Child Protection
May 10, 2013 Seminar
- Prison Hunger Strikes and Globalizing the Anti- Apartheid Struggle
April 26, 2013 Seminar
- ICC Speaker Series- The International Criminal Court: The Next Decade
March 5, 2013 Lecture Series
Helen Stacy, Richard Steinberg
- ICC Speaker Series- Shamila Batohi
February 26, 2013 Lecture Series
- ICC Speaker Series- William Pace
February 19, 2013 Lecture Series