Latest News from Harvard FXB Center

Report cover photo by Clément Martz, all rights reserved
Sexual Exploitation of Migrant Children in Greece

In mid-April, Harvard FXB released a study of the risk factors exposing migrant children in Greece to exploitation. Using rapid assessment methodology, FXB research fellow Vasileia Digidiki and FXB research director Jacqueline Bhabha authored Emergency within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece. The report examines the complex factors that expose children as young as 11 to regular sexual exploitation in central Athens, and it investigates the circumstances in Greek camps that contribute to regular patterns of violence and abuse. A key finding is that children rely on selling sex to raise money for their survival or to pay smugglers to facilitate their onward journeys.

Information about the report has circulated widely.
About 70 news outlets and websites in at least 15 countries and 10 languages have covered the report. In a blogpost about the media interest, FXB highlights in one graphic the report's recommendations, as it is our hope that this attention to the topic will spur action. 

Read the report.
Read the blogpost with recommendations (and more about media coverage), Preventing Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Child Migrants in Greece.
Read the initial announcement of the report.
Read The Guardian coverage.
Listen to an 18-minute podcast with Bhabha and DIgidiki talking about the situation in Greece, as well as the plight of the Roma.
Watch a video segment from Young Turks.
Dr. Leaning at Partition Seminar
Partition of British India

The full name of the Partition Project, Looking Back, Informing the Future: The 1947 Partition of British India, Implications of Mass Dislocations Across Geographies, illustrates why this subject has long been a personal research interest for FXB director Dr. Jennifer Leaning and why she agreed to be faculty director for this project at the South Asia Institute (SAI). As the largest forced migration event in history and one for which the effects continue to be felt, understanding both the event and its ramifications can yield insight into many current situations, including large-scale migration and refugee resettlement.. As mentioned in the last newsletter, this spring SAI sponsored an eight-part public seminar on the Partition, in which Dr. Leaning spoke about the humanitarian aspects. However, that seminar represents only the tip of a much larger project. Teams in India, Pakistan, and the United States.are conducting research on the demographic and humanitarian consequences of the Partition; a textual analysis of potentially inflammatory language of the time; and a geographical analysis and examination of the effects of Partition on cities throughout South Asia. On May 8 through 10 with the support of both SAI and the Radcliffe Seminars, the teams met in Cambridge: starting with a workshop of presentations by the India-Pakistan teams, outlining their approaches and findings thus far. After which, all teams presented.
Listen to the podcast of Dr. Leaning's presentation (opens in Soundcloud).
Climate Change and Distress Migration

FXB director Dr, Jennifer Leaning has also long been concerned about climate change from a humanitarian and human rights perspective, particularly as it affects forced migration. She addresses this topic in two videos. First, for the  Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), she talks about the evolution of her understanding of climate change, including the impact of her work with refugees from Darfur.

Go to the HUCE profile of Dr. Leaning, which features papers and other videos, as well as the video mentioned above.

Second, at "Human Health in a Changing Climate," a conference organized by HUCE and the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Leaning spoke on the panel , Climate Change, Migration, and Health. Her contribution, "Climate Change, Distress Migration, and Armed Conflict: The Case of Syria," discussed climate change as a factor in the beginning of the Syrian conflict and its effects on displaced people now.

Go to the video of the panel. Or go here for individual videos of all the sessions of the day, which former US Vice-President Al Gore recently recommended in a Tweet.
News from Health and Human Rights Journal

In the lead up to the election of the next Director General of the World Health Organization (May 21), the journal has published a Q&A with all three candidates. Drs. Nabarro (UK), Nishtar (Pakistan) and Tedros (Ethiopia) discussed the role of human rights within WHO and in its work around the world.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dainius Puras, published a blog on the journal's website on World Health Day (April 7), in which he views the increasing global burden of mental health as the result of inequities and power imbalances. He is critical of "The excessive medicalization of mental health," which he says fails countless individuals in need of services.

Recently published papers in press include those in a special section in our forthcoming June issue which examines drug control policies and human rights. A blog this week argues that current international drug control measures result in extremely limited access to essential pain relief medicines in poor countries. It is a human rights obligation that access to medicines is the priority, rather than the exception, in drug control regulation, writes Marie Elske Gispen.
A Successful Fifth Annual Roma Conference at Harvard

Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution, FXB's recent conference, included much lively discussion, so much so that it ran over by half an hour - not because of any speakers running long, but because the audience was so engaged.
Here are some very brief excerpts from the day: 
  • Roma are among the most oppressed and haunted people in history, they are now claiming their rights and due respect. - Dr. Jennifer Leaning
  • Can you ignore the fact that the daily lives of Roma have been harmed by racism for hundred of years? - Margarete Matache
  • Gypsylorists form their own opinion about what a Roma woman should be--which is not real with Esmeralda Lock: first, seductress with flashing eyes; then, deceitful vampire; then Gypsylore informant.- Ken Lee
  • When we look back upon histories of oppression, we should not underestimate the importance of the fear of forgetting... The archive is a storehouse of memory and language, but it has the possibility to be renewed and retold. - Homi K. Bhabha
  • The Roma have historically been denied the right to project their own image, always being gazed upon. - Alexandra Oprea
  • Roma authors are often rejected because they betray the Roma archetype: what publishers and readers expect. - Ronald Lee
  • If not for stories, I wouldn't be here. They let me imagine a different life. - Alina Serban
  • For every stereotypical character, we need to create one grounded in reality. - Oksana Marafioti
Read the blog about the Roma project by one of the conference co-sponsors. See more pictures on Facebook. Look for a forthcoming blog about the conference on our website.
Dr. Odeh at the award ceremony, photo courtesy of Dr. Odeh.
FXB Near and Far

In  mid-April, FXB fellow Dr. Jumana Odeh traveled from Palestine to the 2017 World of Children award ceremonies in Beverly Hills, stopping off for a few weeks at the FXB Boston office. She was recognized for her work with children who have developmental and learning disabilities or neurological disorders at the Palestinian Happy Child Centre in Ramallah, which she founded.

FXB research fellow Vasileia Digidiki recently participated in a side event of the UN's 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. The panel, "Empowering refugee women and children through education and employment," discussed the particular challenges that refugee women and girls face, along with their unique needs, within the context of access to education and employment. 

The beginning of the Via Crucis at the Guatemala- Mexico border, photo by Lynne Jones 
FXB visiting scientist Lynne Jones traveled to Mexico to teach a short course on mental health and migration at the Grupo de Estudios de Migración y Procesos Transfronterizos at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. She also participated in Via Crucis (the Way of the Cross), a march from the Guatemala border to the US border by Central American migrants calling for Mexico and the United States to recognize their human rights. She is writing a series of  Migrant Diaries about her experiences working with migrants and refugees, which soon will be featured on the FXB website.

For a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, FXB fellow Pamela Steiner spoke on "Yesterday's Collective Trauma and Armenian Empowerment Today" at St. Elizabeth's College, New Jersey in late April.  In late May she will be presenting again on collective trauma  in the Cholmondley Room at the House of Lords as part of an event about the Pontian Greek Genocide, hosted by Lord Stone of Blackheath and the International Confederation of Pontian Hellenes.

While here from Mexico, FXB fellow Sergio Aguayo organized Struggles for Peace in Mexico: Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean Program Conference. Harvard FXB and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies cosponsored, along with his home institution the Colegio de Mexico. FXB research director Jacqueline Bhabha offered a summation. In his provocative Work-in Progress seminar, "Escaping from Criminal Violence in Central America, Mexico, and the US: Migrants or Refugees?" Aguayo brought the Harvard FXB community up to date on his research. The Harvard Chan School broadcast his talk on Facebook live (look under April 18 here). Aguayo has created a version with Spanish subtitles

On May 4, three FXBers presented at three different venues. FXB research director Bhabha gave the keynote at "Ethical Subjects, Now!, " a conference at Rutgers. Her talk was entitled "Erratic Samaritans: Lessons from the Death of Alan Kurdi," FXB director Dr. Leaning facilitated a panel on displacement with Professor Charles Hallisey of Harvard Divinity School and Tun Khin of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK at the annual symposium of Harvard's South Asia Institute. Meanwhile FXB Roma program director Margarete Matache was speaking on "Stereotypes, Exclusions, and Ethnic Categories in the Roma Experience" at a panel of the 22nd World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, held at Columbia. Earlier that week she participated in the City of Cambridge annual holocaust remembrance and a panel at Brandeis on Dalit and Roma solidarity.
First tweeted March 18
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First tweeted April 1

We also run our Twitter feed on the front page of the website (bottom right corner if you are looking from a computer).

And just to give you a taste of what you might have been missing, we are inaugurating a new irregular feature, Top Tweets. In March the Top Tweet highlighted a blog about the weaponization of healthcare in Syria, from the first report of the Lancet/AUB Commission on Syria, for which Jennifer Leaning is cochair. The tweet has continued to circulate and is now at more than 8000 impressions. In April, the Top Tweet highighted Jacqueline Bhabha's introduction to   Realizing Roma Rights, the new book from UPenn Press, which she edited with FXB's Matache and the Roma Eduction Fund's Andrezj Mirga.

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