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Programs Overview

The Handa Center is engaged with several interdisciplinary, policy-oriented programs and research initiatives domestically and internationally, which focus on a wide range of issues including human trafficking, trauma mental health, justice and reconciliation in post-conflict societies, and atrocities prevention and response. 

Through programs at Stanford and beyond, the Center is committed to increasing awareness of and raising the level of discourse around new developments in the fields of human rights and international justice among a variety of stakeholders.

Since moving to Stanford from UC Berkeley in 2014, with the generous support of Dr. Haruhisa Handa and his foundation, the Handa Center has been able to strengthen its established international programs while expanding the scope of opportunities for meaningful interdisciplinary engagement on campus.

Wall graffiti "We Cry for Justice"
Rule of Law and Accountabilty

The Center engages with international partners on a range of practical programs, including independent trial monitoring efforts, judicial capacity building, and other training programs, particularly focused on the ASEAN region.

Special Court for Sierra Leone exterior

International Trial Monitoring

Participants in a training

Justice Sector Capacity Building

Participants of Summer Institute holding a banner

Summer Institutes

Human Trafficking Research

To strengthen anti-trafficking programs and policies, the Handa Center conducts research on the collection and analysis of accurate, standardized, and quality data. The Handa Center report, “Inaccurate Numbers, Inadequate Policies: Enhancing Data to Evaluate the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in ASEAN” written by Jessie Brunner, provides analysis and recommendations to support ASEAN regional anti-trafficking efforts. Brunner presented her research at the 2015 Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, which gathered key experts and practitioners dedicated to combatting trafficking, as well as representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and the ASEAN Secretariat. A follow-on study designed to promote best practices on data collection and government collaboration to combat human trafficking in Southeast Asia is underway. 

Cover of trafficking report by Jessie Brunner

Digital Archives and New Technologies

SPOTLIGHT: Virtual Tribunals Initiative

Post-conflict tribunals and truth commissions are generally ad hoc creations with limited life spans. When they complete their work, the international participants go home and the physical structures are dismantled or put to other use. All that remains is a paper trail that is accessible only to a small coterie of experts. Although some portion of the output of international criminal tribunals is available, to varying degrees, in archives and libraries around the world (including electronically, in piecemeal collections through a number of websites and subscription-based databases) no institution has compiled these historically significant legal records collections in a single place. Equally significant, certain types of records such as the exhibits, transcripts and the videos of trial proceedings are not publicly available at all, although being matters of public record. 

The Virtual Tribunals initiative is a joint effort of the Handa Center and the Stanford University Libraries (SUL) to facilitate access to these electronic archives through a single portal, and develop a searchable comprehensive collection of historically significant records in a discovery-rich enviroment. This project takes seriously the question of how these institutions might leave behind a legacy that will be of lasting value for scholars, experts, and international students, as well as for the people of the post-conflict societies in whose name these tribunals have been pursuing justice. We seek to assist the legacy preservation of these courts, truth commissions, and human rights investigations by turning their records into a powerful educational tool for both domestic and international audiences. The interactive platform will provide access to the documents, photos, and videos in a way that will enable cross-disciplinary research and public engagement by anyone with internet access around globe. In serving as a resource for collections at risk in their countries of origin we can also preserve crucial records for future generations and for a time when they might also be used to seek accountability for past injustices.

Stanford University's Green Library exterior

Get Involved with the Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Lab