For human rights to improve, they need to be measured. Based in New Zealand, and operating internationally, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is the first global project to track the human rights performance of countries around the world.
HRMI’s ultimate goal is to make people’s lives better by encouraging more respect for human rights. It aims to do this by revolutionising the production and use of independent, quantitative metrics of countries’ human rights performance.
HRMI was founded by Anne-Marie Brook, K Chad Clay, and Susan Randolph. Brook is an economist based at Motu; Clay is a political scientist focusing on civil and political human rights based at the University of Georgia, USA; and Randolph is an economist specialising in economic and social human rights based at the University of Connecticut, USA.
They have completed a pilot (in 13 diverse countries) of a new methodology for capturing information on civil and political human rights through an expert survey.
HRMI also has measures of progress on five economic and social rights (rights to education, health, food, housing, and work) for more than 120 countries.
In March 2018, HRMI launched their initial suite of metrics on a new interactive data visualisation website. In the future they plan to expand their coverage to include more countries and a wider variety of human rights.
This data allows 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 also gives governments an objective perspective on their own performance, highlighting areas of strength and weakness. For in-depth information, please visit the HRMI website.
Since the documenting governments’ successes and failures in promoting human rights 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.
HRMI's 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.
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.
Everything HMRI produces is freely and openly available online under a Creative Commons Attribution copyright licence.
Event: Presentation at University College London in April 2018
Event: London School of Economics Human Rights Seminar 29 November 2016
How can human rights data contribute to economic development? A presentation by Anne-Marie Brook, K. Chad Clay and Susan Randolph at the OECD in April 2018
Meet the EHF Fellows: Anne-Marie Brook: A video introduction to Anne-Marie Brook and her work with HRMI.
NZ economist creates world first human rights tracker: A radio interview between Anne-Marie Brook and Kathryn Ryan of RNZ's Nine to Noon programme.
Among others, Motu is collaborating with the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut and the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia.
Open Society Foundations,