Human rights

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Currently the world doesn’t have a simple transparent way to monitor the extent to which people are treated with dignity in different countries. To fill this gap the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is working to produce a free easy-to-access database of thematic measures of Human Rights for countries.

This will allow NGOs, international organisations, national human rights institutes, and members of the public or citizen sector groups to see the big picture more easily and assist them in promoting change. It will also give governments an objective perspective on their own performance, highlighting areas of strength and weakness and pointing towards other countries they can use as guides for improvement. For in-depth information, please visit the HRMI website.

Doesn’t data like this already exist?

No. International bodies such as the UN do not produce quantitative measures of human rights due to the political sensitivities of their member countries. And existing measures of human rights fall far short of the ideal. The best-known measures of civil and political rights (CIRI) are no longer being updated in the hope that this will spur the development of better measures. Good progress has been made towards a credible measure of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the SERF Index). But it is not well known, its continued production is uncertain due to resourcing constraints, and further expansion is needed.

HRMI will build on these existing and previous efforts, and produce a suite of thematic human rights metrics that are simple, transparent, accurate, accessible, and independent of governments.

Why is HRMI based at Motu?

Since the nature of documenting governments’ successes and failures in promoting human rights and potential is inherently sensitive, credible measures of human rights need to be constructed independently of government and with a very high degree of transparency.

As a highly respected independent charitable trust with good international connections, Motu is well-placed to co-host this work. In addition, New Zealand is highly respected on the world stage for our human rights record and is an ideal country in which to base independent and transparent reporting.

Together, our goal is to help facilitate a step-change for the better in the lives of billions of people

Our aim is to produce a suite of metrics that become the global go-to measures of human rights. But this is not an end in itself. We expect HRMI data to be used for informed advocacy (in-country and international), development assistance, advice, education, and research. 

By enabling a more rigorous and evidence-based approach, HRMI’s vision is to help to deepen understanding of what works and what doesn’t, in order to facilitate more effective and collaborative solutions to complex global human rights challenges. More on HRMI's key activities and what it will produce is here.


Related Websites

Among others, Motu is collaborating with the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut.