Human Rights Indicators

Human Rights Indicators

A Guide to Measurement and Implementation You do not have access to this content

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17 Oct 2013
9789210562867 (PDF)

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Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation aims to assist in developing quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure progress in the implementation of international human rights norms and principles. It describes the conceptual and methodological framework for human rights indicators recommended by international and national human rights mechanisms and used by a growing number of governmental and non-governmental actors. It provides concrete examples of indicators identified for a number of human rights—all originating from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and other practical tools and illustrations, to support the realization of human rights at all levels. The Guide will be of interest to human rights advocates as well as policymakers, development practitioners, statisticians and others who are working to make human rights a reality for all.
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  • Foreword
    The human rights journey from standard-setting to effective implementation depends, in large measure, on the availability of appropriate tools for policy formulation and evaluation. Indicators, both quantitative and qualitative, are one such essential tool.
  • Acknowledgements
    The preparation of this publication would not have been possible without the contributions and support of a large number of individuals and organizations. It benefited from the guidance of the human rights treaty bodies and a series of consultations and workshops organized by OHCHR between 2005 and 2012 in different countries and regions. OHCHR is particularly grateful to Rajeev Malhotra for initiating and conceptualizing the work on indicators for human rights at OHCHR and for his leading role in the development of the Guide with Nicolas Fasel and Grace Sanico Steffan. OHCHR wishes to thank Martin Scheinin for his substantive leadership and the following other members (or former members) of human rights treaty bodies, special rapporteurs and experts for their invaluable guidance and support: Francisco Alba, Jana Asher, José Francisco Calí Tzay, Audrey R. Chapman, Eitan Felner, Maria Virginia Bras Gomes, Paul Hunt, Moushira Khattab, Miloon Kothari, Lothar Krappmann, Todd Landman, Manfred Nowak, Michael O’Flaherty, Mark Orkin, Victoria Popescu, Eibe Riedel, Hans-Otto Sano, the late Hanna Beate Schoepp-Schilling, Mehmet Sevim and Christopher Stone. OHCHR also wishes to thank the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (Statistical Division), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (PARIS21/Metagora) for the essential expertise they provided to this work.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Introduction
    The subject of your work here, “Statistics, Development and Human Rights”, is nothing less than a quest for a science of human dignity. This is a vital endeavour. When the target is human suffering, and the cause human rights, mere rhetoric is not adequate to the task at hand. What are needed are solid methodologies, careful techniques, and effective mechanisms to get the job done.
  • Human rights and indicators: Rationale and some concerns
    Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.
  • Conceptualizing indicators for human rights
    Human rights can never be fully measured in statistics; the qualitative aspects are too essential. The conclusion, however, is not that the human rights community should avoid using quantitative facts, but rather learn how to use them. The challenge is to develop a know-how on how to plan such fact-finding, to assemble the data, to organize them meaningfully and to present and disseminate them properly—in order that high standards of relevance and reliability be met.
  • Methodological approaches to human rights indicators
    In order to promote and to protect human rights we need to make statistics the science of truth, not of lies. Quoting Goethe: “It has been said that figures rule the world. Maybe. But I’m sure figures show us whether it is being ruled well or badly”.
  • Illustrating the framework indicators for some rights
    In today’s world where we are continuously facing the challenge of investigating and analysing human rights abuses in complex contexts, statistics can help enormously towards an understanding of the scope and magnitude of these phenomena as well as, and this is very important, to prevent future atrocities. Without statistics, we will be condemned most probably to a partial vision and understanding of our reality.”
  • Framework in practice implementing and monitoring rights
    We started to talk with institutions and persons we had never met until then: the [National Commission on Human Rights], the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and several senior scholars working in the fields of human rights, democracy and governance. … we discovered highly qualified potential partners and started to explore with them how to work together. While the discussions on the possibility of measuring human rights and democratic governance were not always easy—as each partner had his own specific conceptual background, method of work and particular agenda— we realised that our Institution had a lot to gain and a lot to provide in this process of dialogue and incipient collaboration.
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