Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Brown Humanitarian and Human Rights Research

In addition to core Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies projects, a wealth of human rights and humanitarian research is conducted across the University. Here we highlight research conducted by our affiliated faculty, fellows and other colleagues at Brown University. 


Clinical Trial for Convalescent Serum Therapy to Treat COVID-19

Lifespan/Brown University has been included in the first round of sites selected for the CSSC-001 and CSSC-004 convalescent plasma studies being run by Johns Hopkins University. Lead by Adam Levine (Site PI), Lifespan/Brown was selected as one of the first 10 sites for two major protocols: (1) post exposure prophylaxis and (2) mild outpatient disease.

Read More about the Convalescent Plasma Study >

Individuals holding mobile health tool

mHealth Tool for Dehydration Assessment and Management in Patients with Diarrheal Disease

This five year National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research project will develop and validate an innovative new mobile phone based platform for the assessment of dehydration severity in adults, adolescents, and older children with acute diarrhea. This new mobile health tool will help physicians, nurses, and other providers worldwide to determine the best management strategies for patients with acute diarrhea. More >

Ebola virus image

Pamoja Tulinde Maisha (PALM) Study

The Pamoja Tulinde Maisha (PALM) study is a randomized, controlled trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) of four investigational agents for the treatment of patients with Ebola virus disease. The study is being run by WHO and NIH and taking place at treatment facilities managed by ALIMA, MSF, and IMC. The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies is supporting its implementation with technical and research expertise. More >

Military member in Liberia

International Intervention and the Rule of Law after Civil War: Evidence from Liberia

What are the effects of international intervention on the rule of law after civil war? Rule of law requires not only that state authorities abide by legal limits on their power, but also that citizens rely on state laws and institutions to adjudicate disputes. Using an original survey and list experiment in Liberia, Robert Blair shows that exposure to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) increased citizens’ reliance on state over non-state authorities to resolve the most serious incidents of crime and violence, and increased non-state authorities’ reliance on legal over illegal mechanisms of dispute resolution. More >

Brazil study center

Monitoring the Threats to Democracy in Brazil: A Challenge for Scholars

Through a Brown University Humanities Research Fund grant, James Green, Carlos Manuel Céspedes Professor of Latin American Studies at Brown University is coordinating an effort to help U.S. and international scholars accompany the situation in Brazil since the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency. With the support of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies graduate student Marina Adams, they are building a website that will be a clearing house in English for information about contemporary Brazil that can be a resource for academics in the social sciences and humanities who want to receive information about the changes taking place there. More >

Houses in disaster zone

Implications of Social and Legal Status on Immigrants' Health in Disaster Zones

This research conducted by Elizabeth Fussell and colleagues, highlights how immigrants who are linguistically isolated, have limited social networks, and lack legal immigration status experience unique health risks in disaster zones. Through a review of the sparse research literature, they provide examples of innovative but underresourced programs that reduce immigrants’ exposure to disaster-related health hazards and economic exploitation in the recovery. More >

Decrypting Encryption Debate text image

Decrypting the Encryption Debate: A Framework for Decision Makers

This report for the National Academies of Science reviews how encryption is used, including its applications to cybersecurity; its role in protecting privacy and civil liberties; the needs of law enforcement and the intelligence community for information; technical and policy options for accessing plaintext; and the international landscape. More >

Map for costs of war project

Costs of War

The Costs of War Project is a team of 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians, which began its work in 2011. We use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. There are many hidden or unacknowledged costs of the United States’ decision to respond to the 9/11 attacks with military force. We aim to foster democratic discussion of these wars by providing the fullest possible account of their human, economic, and political costs, and to foster better informed public policies. More >

Image on battlefield

Do the Geneva Conventions Matter?

This book, edited by Matthew Evangelista and Nina Tannenwald offers a comparative analysis of state practice with regard to the Geneva Conventions. An overarching theme is to what extent, and under what conditions, does symbolic or “ritual” compliance (for example, incorporation into military manuals and military training) translate into actual compliance on the battlefield?

Children holding hands

Rethinking Child Protection in Emergencies

The humanitarian system is struggling to adapt to changes in the global political environment, trends in armed conflict and displacement, and advances in science and technology. In recent years, the international community has undertaken a number of efforts to overcome these challenges, such as the Agenda for Humanity. This research reviews recent evidence from a range of disciplines to inform these efforts, especially as they relate to the protection of children. More >