The Stanford Human Rights Center provides tools for students, advocates, states, and civil society to better understand how to respect and protect human rights.
The Center was created in 2013 to conduct applied human rights research. We promote events, student engagement, and public understanding of international human rights and global justice.
Our work focuses on public policy analysis and the identification of international best practices in the areas of (criminal) justice reform, conditions of detention, and the inter-American human rights system.
We mostly work in (and on) Latin America, but our close collaboration with Stanford’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic has taken us across the globe.
Even though the Geneva Conventions establish that medical facilities should be protected during armed conflicts, recently, there have been numerous attacks on hospitals operated by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.
In this discussion moderated by Mirte Postema (Stanford Human Rights Center), Jason Cone (executive director MSF-USA), Jane Coyne (MSF-USA board member and former MSF project coordinator), Dr. Sherry Wren (Stanford School of Medicine) and Claudia Josi (lecturer in law, Santa Clara University), discussed the principles of international humanitarian law that apply to such situations, and the challenges to implement these in practice.
The Colombian government and leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are close to finalizing a peace agreement to end the country’s five-decade-long armed conflict. As part of the accord, both FARC and Colombian military leaders responsible for atrocities can avoid prison in exchange for confessing to their crimes. But does the peace accord sufficiently protect the rights of victims of war crimes?
James Cavallaro, President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the Director of Stanford Law School’s Human Rights Center, moderated a debate between Doug Cassel, Professor of Law at Notre Dame University, who helped negotiate the agreement as a delegate for the Colombian government, and José Miguel Vivanco, Americas Director at Human Rights Watch and a leading critic of the justice component of the peace agreement.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are interested in pursuing a career in human rights?
“It is important to realize that human rights is part of everyone’s life. To be aware of social justice, poverty and economic, social and cultural rights. A career in this area is full of satisfactions and multidisciplinary challenges and there is a wide range of opportunities in government and international agencies, NGO’s, United Nations, international litigation, private or public advising, teaching, researching, and so on.”–Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor, Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Senior Researcher-Professor in the Legal Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
Q: Can you give us an impression of your interaction with the Stanford community? What did you like best about your time at Stanford?
“I particularly enjoyed the excellent environment at Stanford which not only provided space for and access to exciting research, but with its many workshops and symposia it also provided many opportunities to develop new ideas. Meeting interesting scholars from various backgrounds in academia and civil society activism from the U.S. and other parts of the world has also provided me with new input for my own research.”–Ayako Nakamura, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences at Tohoku University, Japan.