Human Rights and Security Initiative

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Human Rights and Security Initiative

The Human Rights and Security Initiative addresses the security implications of human rights abuse.

Human rights norms have come under significant strain in the years following September 2001. The much-touted human rights regime that emerged in the post-World War II era is currently in jeopardy, and the resulting security implications have been largely ignored — both by individual states and by the international community at large. In order to improve our understanding of human rights abuse as a challenge to international security, CSIS established the Human Rights and Security Initiative under the lead of Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson. At present, our main geographic focus is on the United States, Europe, and Russia.

Event: Accounting for Post-9/11 Counterterrorism Policies and Actions
Held October 8, 2009

Event Slideshow:


CSIS is grateful to several donors that have made this work on human rights possible:

The initiative's research and activities are organized around five major themes.

  • Hall of a former Khmer Rouge prison photo by Flickr user lecercle

    The Absent Memory and Transitional Justice project explores the way in which countries reconcile with their pasts and absent memory’s significant yet underspecified effects on political and social development.

  • Sunrise over Camp Delta detention compound at Guantánamo Bay

    The Human Rights and Counterterrorism Project addresses policy recommendations in the United States and Europe that both uphold human rights standards and international law while keeping citizens safe.

  • Activist being beaten by police

    The Human Rights in Russia Project tracks, through survey data, the state of political and social development in Russia.

  • Human trafficker Dilaver "Leku" Bojku escorted by police

    The Human Trafficking and Peacekeeping Operations Project strives to secure the implementation of existing antitrafficking policies adopted by the Department of Defense, NATO, and the United Nations.

  • Chechen children pouring water.

    The North Caucasus project seeks to broaden international attention to and understanding of the continued violence, increasing human rights abuses, and growing instability in the republics of the North Caucasus.

  • Onion Dome

    Together with colleagues from the Eurasia Foundation and the New Eurasia Foundation, the CSIS Human Rights and Security Initiative convened a meeting of civil society leaders from the United States and Russia in Moscow to explore new approaches to a more robust U.S.-Russian civil society relationship.