Stephen Marks

Stephen MarksFrançois-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights
Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health

Other Affiliations
Senior Fellow, University Committee on Human Rights Studies, Harvard University


Doctor of Laws (Docteur d’Etat en droit), with high honors, Institute of the Law of Peace and Development, Faculty of Law and Economics, University of Nice, 1979
Master of Arts (hon.), Harvard University, 1999

Advanced degree (Diplôme d’études appliqués avancées, DEAA) in administrative litigation and human rights, Faculty of Law, Economics and Political Science of the University of Besançon, 1977
Certificate of European Studies, Institute of Advanced European Studies of the University of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Strasbourg, 1972

University degree in literary studies (Dipôme universitaire d'études littéraires, DUEL), University of Humanities of Strasbourg (in Arabic language, literature and civilization), 1972
Diploma in Arabic with high honors, Faculty of Letters of Damascus University, 1971
Masters degree (Diplôme IHEI), Institute of Advanced International Studies of the University of Law, Economics and Social Sciences of Paris, 1971

Research Interests
The emphasis of Stephen Marks's work is on the interface of health and human rights, drawing on the disciplines of international law, international politics, international organizations, and international economics.

Professor Marks's current interests include integrating human rights into sustainable human development and developing human rights indicators of relevance to poverty reduction strategies. He has been a consultant to the United Nations Development Program on this topic and expects to collaborate on a new project for UNICEF with Professor Ajay Mahal. Previously he was principal investigator for a major grant by the Government of the Netherlands on the right to development. The aim of this research is to introduce human rights concepts into development planning and implementation at the national and international levels. One product of this research was an article on "The Right to Development: Between Rhetoric and Reality" in the Harvard Human Rights Journal. He is working on two books emerging from this project, in close collaboration with the Independent Expert on the Right to Development, Dr. Arjun Sengupta, who is also an adjunct professor at HSPH. He and Dr. Sengupta, who was recently appointed Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, are working on new projects focusing on poverty.

Another recent research interest is international efforts to limit human genetic manipulation, focusing on human reproductive cloning and germline gene therapy. This study explores the human rights implications of these techniques and the assumptions of opposing attitudes on this question. His work in this area has appeared in the Chicago Journal of International Law and in the journal Health and Human Rights.

A third major area of interest is the relation between bioethics and human rights. He is working with Professor Daniel Wikler on several projects aimed at bridging the disciplinary boundaries between ethics and human rights. He wrote the entry on "human rights" for the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics and on "medical experimentation" for the Enclyclopedia on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.

His fourth topic of research is on impunity for mass atrocities, specifically the cases of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and Hissène Habré in Chad. His study on the latter was published in a book on universal jurisdiction at University of Pennsylvania Press. In a related area his study on "Branding the “War on Terrorism”: Is There of a “New Paradigm” of International Law?" is in the current issue of Michigan State Journal of International Law, as part of a symposium on "From Nuremberg to Abu Ghraib:The Relevance of International Criminal Law to the Global War on Terror"

A fifth topic of research is that of cultural rights. His essay on "Defining Cultural Rights" was published in 2003 in a book at Marinus Nijhoff. He contributed a study on creating a human rights culture in Cambodia for a book on "universalism and local knowledge in human rights," which was published as part of a joint project of Princeton University and the Central European University.

Other areas of research include mental health and human rights, about which he prepared a study for the Council of Europe, and human rights and tobacco control, about which he is completing a manuscript with Dr. Carolyn Dresler.

Another area of research is human rights education and training. As part of a joint project with the American Public Health Association, he edited and contributed to a book entitled Health and Human Rights: The Educational Challenge. He is also one of four editors of an anthology called Perspectives on Health and Human Rights, published by Taylor and Francis, which is designed for teaching. He co-directs the Intensive Summer course on health and human rights, which takes place annually at the Harvard School of Public Health in June.

Select Publications
  • Marks S., Economic Sanctions as Human Rights Violations: Reconciling Political and Public Health Imperatives. American Journal of Public Health, 1999, 89(10):1509-13..
  • Marks S. and Weston B. (eds.), The Future of International Human Rights. Transnational Publishers, 1999.
  • Marks S., Common Strategies for Health and Human Rights: From Theory to Practice. Health and Human Rights, 1997, 2(3):95-104; reprinted in Mann J, Gruskin S, Grodin M, Annas G (eds.), Health and Human Rights: A Reader. Routledge, 1999.
  • Marks S., Elusive Justice for the Victims of the Khmer Rouge. Journal of International Affairs, 1999, 52(2):691-718.
  • Marks S., From the "Single Confused Page" to the "Decalogue for Six Billion Persons": The Roots of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the French Revolution. Human Rights Quarterly, 1998, 20(3):459-514.
  • Marks S., "The New Partnership of Health and Human Rights," Human Rights Dialogue [published by the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs], Spring/Summer 2001, pp. 21-22.
  • Marks S., "Jonathan Mann’s Legacy to the 21st Century: the Human Rights Imperative for Public Health," Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, vol. 29, pp. 131-138 (2001)
  • Cheryl E. Easley, Marks S., and Russell E. Morgan, "The Challenge and Place of International Human Rights in Public Health," American Journal of Public Health, December 2001, vol. 91, No. 12, pp. 1-4.
  • Marks S., "Health and Human Rights: The Expanding International Agenda," American Society of International Law, Proceedings of the 95th Annual Meeting, April 4-7, 2001, pp. 64-70 (2001).
  • Marks, S. The Evolving Field Of Health and Human Rights: Issues and Methods, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, vol. 30 (2002), pp. 739-754.
  • Marks, S., "Tying Prometheus Down: The International Law of Human Genetic Manipulation," Chicago Journal of International Law, vol. 3, No. 1, Spring 2002, pp. 115-136.
  • Marks S., "Human Rights Assumptions of Restrictive and Permissive Approaches to Human Reproductive Cloning," Health and Human Rights, vol. 6, No. 1, 2002, pp. 82-102.
  • Marks, S., "The Hissène Habré Case: The Law and Politics of Universal Jurisdiction," in Stephen Macedo (ed.) Universal Jurisdiction: National courts and the Prosecution of Serious Crimes Under International Law, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003, pp. 131-167.
  • Marks, S., "Human Rights," Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Third Edition, Macmillan Reference, 2004, vol. 2, pp. 1221-1227.
  • Marks, S., "Defining Cultural Rights," in Morten Bergsmo (ed.), Human Rights and Criminal Justice for the Downtrodden: Essays in Honour of Asbjørn Eide, Marinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden/Boston, 2003, pp. 293-324.
  • Marks, S., "The Human Rights Education Challenge for the Health Professions: A preliminary Assessment," in Marks (ed.), Health and Human Rights: The Educational Challenge, APHA and François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, 2002, pp. 5-19.
  • Marks, S., Human Rights in the UN System: The Role of UNESCO, UNESCO, 2003.
  • Marks, S., "The Human Right to Development: Between Rhetoric and Reality," Harvard Human Rights Journal, vol. 17 (Spring 2004), pp. 139-168.
  • Marks, S., "La Santé Saisie par les Droits de l’Homme," in Yaël Reinharz Hazan et Philippe Chastonay (eds.), Santé et Droits de l’Homme, Geneva, Switzerland : Éditions Médecine & Hygiène, Collection Médecine Société, 2004, pp. 71-82.
  • Marks, S., "Creating a Human Rights Culture: The Role of Local Knowledge in Cambodia’s Difficult Transition," in András Sajó (ed.) Global Justice and the Bulwarks of Localism, Leiden, Netherlands: Konninklijke Brill NV, 2005, pp. 257-290.
  • Marks, S., The Right to Development in Context, in The Right to Development: A Primer, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2004, pp. 16-39.
  • Marks, S., Medical Experimentation, in Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Macmillan Reference, 2004, pp. 669-675.
  • Marks, S., The Human Rights Framework for Development: Seven Approaches, in Basu, Mushumi, Archna Negi and Arjun K. Sengupta (eds.), Reflections on the Right to Development, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2005, pp. 23-60.
  • Marks, S., Branding the “War on Terrorism”: Is There of a “New Paradigm” of International Law?, Michigan State University Journal of International Law, vol. 14, No. 1 (2005)
International Research Projects
  • Litigation and Legislative Strategy to Advance the Human Right to Health in Ghana (Ghana)
  • Right to Development Project (India, Ghana, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mali, Philippines) On sabbatical January-June 2006
  • During spring semester 2006, Professor Marks can be reached at the following address: Stephen P. Marks, Visiting Professor, City University of Hong Kong School of Law, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, (825) 2788-7162 (office), (825) 3442-3360 (residence), (825) 6758-6674 (mobile), email:
Web Site(s)
  • FXB Center for Health and Human Rights -- Provides information on the Center's mission, its staff, its three programs (international health, humanitarian crises and human rights in development), Center activities, training and education, co-sponsored activities, and publications, including the journal Health and Human Rights.
  • Right to Development Project -- This site is part of the FXB Center site which describes the right to development projects and includes reference documents and manuscripts produced by that project.
  • Human Rights at Harvard -- In his capacity at Senior Fellow, Professor Marks is developing, on behalf of the University Committee on Human Rights Studies, undergraduate education in human rights and special projects, including one on the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.