Human Rights and Responsibilities in Times of Coronavirus


Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 11:00am


Zoom Webinar

The recording of this event can be found here

Speakers: Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, Harvard University; Flavia Piovesan, Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights, Catholic University of São Paulo; Sergio Aguayo, Professor at the Center for International Studies, El Colegio de Mexico

Moderator: Ieva Jusionyte, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Studies, Harvard University

Join us for a discussion on human rights politics, policy and implementation in Latin America in a context complicated by Covid-19. Kathryn Sikkink will apply insights from her latest book, The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibilities (Yale University Press, 2020), to the current global crisis and present the Latin American historical origins of her emphasis on rights and responsibilities. Flávia Piovesan, a Brazilian scholar and member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, will focus on the Commission's perspective and response to the pandemic. Sergio Aguayo, a leading scholar and analyst of human rights and violence in Mexico and Central America, will analyze the interaction between human rights, organized crime, and Covid-19. 

Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at HKS and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Sikkink works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice. Her publications include Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century; The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award); Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America; Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (co-authored with Margaret Keck and awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas for Improving World Order, and the ISA Chadwick Alger Award for Best Book in the area of International Organizations); and The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance, (co-edited with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp). She holds an MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Sikkink has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the editorial board of International Organization.

Flávia Piovesan is a professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the Catholic University of São Paulo. She also teaches at the PhD Program of the University of Buenos Aires and at the Academy on Human Rights at the American University Washington College of Law. She holds a Masters and a PhD from Catholic University of São Paulo. She was a visiting fellow of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School; a human rights visiting fellow at the University of Oxford; and since 2007 she has been a fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Germany). She was a member of the UN High Level Task Force on the implementation of the right to development (2009-2012). She was Special Secretary for Human Rights in Brazil and President of the National Commission for the Eradication of Forced Labor (2016-2017). She is member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2018-2021).

Sergio Aguayo is a research professor at the Centro de Estudios Internationales (Center for International Studies) at El Colegio de Mexico since 1977, and holds a Level III -the highest possible- in Mexico's Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (National Researcher System). He currently coordinates the Seminar on Violence and Peace in that Institution. He has taught at various universities in Mexico, the United States and throughout Europe. In 2014 and 2015 he taught a course on "Violence in the Caribbean Basin" at Harvard University. In March 2015, he was appointed Visiting Professor at Harvard University. His first newspaper article appeared in a local newspaper in Guadalajara in 1971. He now writes a weekly column in Reforma every Wednesday, as well as 12 other newspapers. Since March 2001, he is a member of Primer Plano, Canal 11's weekly TV show, and from 2009 to March 2015 he participated in Carmen Aristegui's Mesa Política radio program broadcasted by MVS. He has written dozens of books and scholarly articles. The digital version of his latest title, Remolino. El México de la sociedad organizada, los poderes fácticos y Enrique Peña Nieto, published by Editorial Ink, was launched in March 2014. In January 2015, the printed version of the book came out, and the English digital version of the book, The Mexican Enigma, is now available for purchase.

Ieva Jusionyte is assistant professor of anthropology and social studies at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political-legal and medical anthropology, with a focus on the study of state power and the materiality of violence; law and criminalized livelihoods; discourses and infrastructures of security; technologies of injury; politics and ethics of representation; and ethnography as method and storytelling. Currently she is conducting fieldwork for her latest project, Firepower, a multi-sited ethnographic study that follows firearms as they move through legal and political regimes that compete to define their meaning and value–from gun shows and pawn shops in Texas and Arizona to shooting ranges, forensic labs, and public disarmament campaigns around Mexico. It is a social biography of a gun set against the cultural history and political economy of violence. Jusionyte is the editor of the California Series in Public Anthropology. She is a faculty associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and coordinates the Contemporary Latin American Anthropology Workshop (CLAAW) at Harvard University. She holds a PhD and an MA in Anthropology from Brandeis University and a BA in Political Science from Vilnius University.