2022 India Press Kit

Embargoed until 8.00pm 22 June 2022, NZST/ 1.30 pm 22 June 2022, IST

To explore the new 2022 data in full before the launch, go to:

https://embargoed-2022.rightstracker.org/en

Executive Summary  |  Press contact  | Rights Tracker  |  Score Summary   | Story Leads |  About HRMI  |  HRMI Spokespeople  |  Further resourcesLogos

Executive Summary for India

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI, pronounced ‘her-mee’) is the first global project to track the human rights performance of countries. Its 2022 Rights Tracker gives human rights scores on up to 13 different human rights contained in United Nations treaties, for around 200 countries.

The 2022 Rights Tracker scores for India include a few positive scores, but also some strikingly poor results.

Headlines (further details below):

  • Marked inequities in India’s quality of life rights
  • Access to sufficient healthy food is a concern in India
  • Freedom of opinion and expression is a serious concern in India
  • Human rights advocates at a greater risk of various rights violations
  • Experts report high levels of state violence, especially arbitrary arrest, and torture and ill-treatment
  • People from Dalit and tribal communities are particularly affected by rights violations
  • People critical of the government are at risk of rights violations

The civil and political rights data, and the people at risk responses, were collected through an expert survey in February and March 2022, about events in 2020 and 2021.

The economic and social rights data are based on figures from international databases and provide scores for every year from 2007-2019.

Press contact

Press contact: Thalia Kehoe Rowden: thalia.kehoerowden (at) motu.org.nz

Spokesperson: Anne-Marie Brook, Co-founder and Development Lead


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Spokesperson: Dr Susan Randolph, Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Lead

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Spokesperson: K. Chad Clay, Co-founder and Methodology Research and Design Lead


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Quotes from our experts

Anne-Marie Brook:

On why measuring human rights matters: ‘Leaders and other decision-makers already have lots of statistics on things like GDP growth. We want to make sure they also have robust data on how countries are treating people, so they can look at where things could be better and work towards making the changes that are needed.’

‘It’s hard for governments to know all the things they can be working on in the area of human rights if they don’t have accurate and consistent data that shine a light on both their successes and weaknesses.’

 

Rights Tracker

All images are taken from our Rights Tracker, and freely available for press and other use.

To explore the new 2022 data in full before launch, go to:

https://embargoed-2022.rightstracker.org/en/country/IND?tab=report-esr&atRisk=6

Embargoed until 8.00pm 22 June 2022, NZST/ 1.30 pm 22 June 2022, IST

Thereafter, our online Rights Tracker will have the new data: RightsTracker.org

 

Summary of India’s Scores

Quality of Life: 65.1%

India’s summary score for quality of rights is 65.1%. In other words, India is doing 65.1% of what we calculate is possible at its level of income to ensure these quality of life rights for its people. This score falls in the ‘very bad’ range, suggesting that the country has a very long way to go to meet its immediate economic and social rights duties.

India’s scores for three of the five rights we measure fall in the ‘very bad’ range: 43.8% for right to work; 65.3% for right to housing; and 56.8% for right to food. India scores slightly better with 78.9% for right to education and 80.7% for right to health, though these scores still fall in the ‘bad’ range.

Safety from the State: 4.6 out of 10

India has a wide range of scores for this category, which includes a good score for freedom from the death penalty, as well as low scores of 5.7/10 for freedom from forced disappearance, 5.4/10 for freedom from extrajudicial execution, 4.3/10 for freedom from arbitrary arrest, and 3.9/10 for freedom from torture and ill-treatment. All of these scores fall in the ‘bad’ range.

 

Empowerment: 4.5 out of 10

India’s performance is poor when it comes to the three empowerment rights. For the right to assembly and association, India scores a low 3.6 out of 10; for the right to opinion and expression, 3.5; and for the right to participate in government, 6.8. The low scores for right to assembly and association, and opinion and expression suggest that many people in the country do not enjoy these freedoms.

 

India Story Leads: Themes from the data

Marked inequities in India’s quality of life rights

India’s score of 65.1% for its quality of life rights falls in the ‘very bad’ range, indicating that India is not using its resources effectively to make sure its people’s Quality of Life rights are fulfilled.

When compared to other countries in South Asia, India ranks 5th out of 6 countries on these rights.

The good news is that this score indicates that India has sufficient resources to make significant improvements for its people.

Access to sufficient healthy food is a concern in India

India’s score of 56.8% for the right to food falls in the ‘very bad’ range and indicates that the country is doing only 56.8% of what it can do with its resources. The underlying indicator value to calculate the HRMI score on the right to food is the actual percentage of children under five who are not stunted. As of 2017, 65.3% of children under five in India were not stunted.

The right to food is closely connected to the right to work. India’s score for the right to work is 43.8%, which is the lowest among its quality of life rights scores.

When compared to other countries in South Asia, India ranks 7th out of 8 countries in terms of fulfilling the right to adequate food for its people.

Freedom of opinion and expression is a concern in India

Human rights experts in India raised pressing concerns about the right to opinion and expression. India’s score for this right is 3.5 out of 10. Our experts also shared the following when asked for more information about which people were at risk:

  • People from Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi communities
  • People from particular religious backgrounds, primarily Muslims, and other religious minorities, including Christians
  • People living in certain geographic locations, particularly those living in Jammu and Kashmir and in the north-eastern parts of India; minority groups in Jharkhand; and tribal groups in Chhattisgarh, especially in the Bastar region
  • Human rights organisations, especially those who work with and advocate for minority communities
  • People with certain political beliefs or affiliations, primarily those who are in opposition to or critical of the government
  • Human rights activists and academics, especially those working on issues related to Dalits, Bahujan, Adivasis, migrants and migrant workers, and Muslims

See the ‘people at risk‘ page for more details on who is not enjoying their right to opinion and expression.

When compared to the 30 countries in our 2022 sample, India performs very poorly for this right and ranks 25th out of 30.

Human right advocates at risk of various rights violations

Human rights advocates in India have been identified to be at a greater risk of human rights violations, especially of their civil and political rights.

Experts said that they were affected by violations of the rights to:

  • freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention
  • freedom from forced disappearance
  • freedom from extrajudicial execution
  • freedom from torture and ill-treatment
  • assembly and association
  • opinion and expression
  • participation in government
  • education
  • food
  • health
  • housing
  • work

Here are some specific comments that experts made about who was at risk of rights violations:

Right to freedom from arbitrary arrest

  • Civil society members, staff of non-governmental organisations, human rights defenders, lawyers, and others who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act, particularly in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh
  • Lawyers who provided legal services to individuals detained for participating in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and Farm Laws
  • Members of civil society organisations, such as Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, as well as of the religious-political organisation, Jamaat-e-Islami
  • Human rights advocates, especially those located in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi

Right to opinion and expression

  • Human rights organisations, especially those who work with and advocate for minority communities
  • Human rights activists and academics, especially those working on issues related to Dalits, Bahujan, Adivasis, migrants and migrant workers, and Muslims

Experts report high levels of state violence

The Safety from the State scores, and the extra information given by survey respondents, highlight the pressing problem of state violence, including against people belonging to certain communities and people of certain religious identities.

For example, some additional context provided by human rights experts about which people were particularly at risk included the following:

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention

  • People with particular political affiliations or beliefs, especially those who openly criticised Prime Minister Modi, the ruling party – BJP, the government more broadly, or any Indian laws or policies
  • Dalit and tribal rights activists
  • People who protest or engage in non-violent political activity, in particular students and farmers
  • People with particular religious beliefs, particularly Muslims
  • Journalists who covered stories of the government and its agents committing acts of violence or discrimination against citizens, especially cases relating to violence against farmers, students, Muslims, human rights defenders, or Dalits

Freedom from forced disappearance

  • People living in Jammu and Kashmir (men and boys in particular), Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and other states in the north-eastern part of India, and Tribal Belt in central India
  • People living in areas with high military presence
  • Kashmiris, regardless of where they were located
  • People from certain religious backgrounds, especially Muslims
  • People from particular castes, specifically Dalits and Bahujan

Freedom from extrajudicial execution

  • People from Dalit and tribal communities
  • People with particular political beliefs or affiliations, such as people who openly criticise the police as well as Naxalites (i.e. Maoist insurgent groups)
  • People in particular locations, including Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Nagaland, and Jammu and Kashmir, and especially Muslims in these locations
  • People who participated in protests and demonstrations, especially those involved in protests opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi

About the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI)


HRMI is a global, not-for-profit human rights data platform that aims to improve people’s lives by producing user-friendly, reliable information on the human rights progress of countries.

‘HRMI is filling a gap in human rights data, providing human rights practitioners with powerful tools to show governments how they are performing, and remind them of the promises they’ve made by signing human rights treaties.’

– Anne-Marie Brook

Co-founder and Development Lead Anne-Marie Brook, an economist and social entrepreneur based in Wellington, New Zealand, says, ‘We know that it is hard for countries to make progress if good data aren’t available that show how they’re actually doing. HRMI is filling a gap in human rights data, providing human rights practitioners with powerful tools to show governments how they are performing, and remind them of the promises they’ve made by signing human rights treaties.’

How HRMI produces the scores

HRMI human rights scores are produced by two teams of researchers.

Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Lead Dr Susan Randolph produces scores for up to five Quality of Life rights, for around 200 countries, using indicator data supplied by countries to international databases. Dr Randolph then analyses the data using the award-winning SERF Index she developed with her colleagues, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer.

‘The SERF Index is unique because it takes into account a country’s financial resources,’ Dr Randolph explains. ‘The income-adjusted score shows how close a country is to meeting its urgent duty, compared with other countries with similar resources – for these rights, the realistic target is 100%.’

‘The HRMI Country Report tells people whether their government is doing its best with the country’s resources to give full effect to their economic and social rights, or whether there is room for improvement.’

Co-Founder and Methodology Research and Design Lead, Dr K Chad Clay from the University of Georgia in the United States, heads up the data collection and analysis for HRMI’s Empowerment and Safety from the State measurements.

These rights are politically sensitive to measure, and HRMI is the first global project to track them systematically, country by country. In 2022, HRMI produced data for 41 countries, and is ready to expand to the rest of the world once sufficient funding is secured.

‘We know that the best sources of information on human rights in a country are the people directly monitoring conditions in that country. So we designed a detailed expert survey to be filled out by human rights practitioners, like lawyers, journalists, and advocates, including people working for organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We collected data in February and March of 2022, asking about the situation in their country in 2020 and 2021. We then used statistical techniques to be sure we were providing the most accurate and honest information possible. Now we’re presenting our findings in scores out of ten for each of the eight civil and political rights we measure.’

‘Our vision is a world where countries are competing to see who can treat people the best.’

– Anne-Marie Brook

HRMI works on an annual cycle and is already preparing to collect data about 2022, ready for publication in 2023. As funding increases, HRMI is ready to:

  • expand to cover more countries
  • measure performance on more rights, and
  • provide more detail on performance, such as separating out scores by sex and race.

‘We want to create a global competition, where countries compete to treat people better,’ Ms Brook says. ‘As we repeat our data collection annually, we hope to see countries improve, until people everywhere are thriving and safe.’

 

Background Information on HRMI and HRMI staff

HRMI Co-founders Susan Randolph, K. Chad Clay, Anne-Marie Brook

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is a unique collaborative venture between human rights practitioners, researchers, academics, and other supporters. It is hosted by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, a non-profit research institute based in New Zealand, ranked in the top ten economic think-tanks worldwide, with another base of operations at the Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS), at the University of Georgia in the US. HRMI is also collaborating closely with a number of other academic organisations, and a range of NGOs working to advance human rights.

 

HRMI Spokespeople

The HRMI team includes some of the world’s most experienced experts in the field, including developers of some of the most widely used existing measures of civil and political rights, and the prize-winning authors of some of the best existing measures of economic and social rights.

Anne-Marie Brook 

Anne-Marie is an economist and social entrepreneur with a passion for helping bring about systemic change. She is good at seeing the big picture and helping others see how their skills can contribute collaboratively to making our world a better place.

Prior to making the jump into human rights, Anne-Marie worked as an economist for the OECD and the New Zealand public sector. She is an Edmund Hillary Fellow and has degrees in Psychology and Economics from the University of Otago and an MPA in Economics from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, which she attended on a Fulbright Scholarship.

 

K. Chad Clay

Co-founder and Methodology Research and Design Lead Chad is a political scientist with a deep interest in furthering our understanding of human rights practices, political violence, organised dissent, and economic development. Chad teaches classes on human rights, international relations, and political economy in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at the University of Georgia, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues (GLOBIS), and has published widely in leading journals.

One of the co-founders of HRMI, Chad is leading the design and development of our Civil and Political Rights metrics. He brings with him more than a decade of experience in the area of measuring human rights, including as co-director of the (now archived) CIRI Human Rights Data Project. Chad received his PhD in political science from Binghamton University in 2012.

 

Susan Randolph

Co-founder and Economic and Social Rights Metrics Lead Susan’s life-long interest in people’s wellbeing and economic development has led her to push the frontiers of our knowledge and help develop a ground-breaking approach for measuring the fulfilment of Economic and Social Rights.

Her book describing this approach, Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights with Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer (Oxford University Press, 2015), won the 2016 best book of the year award from the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section, and the three authors were awarded the 2019 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

Susan is Co-Director of the Economic and Social Rights Empowerment Initiative, and an emerita associate professor of economics at the University of Connecticut. She has a PhD in economics from Cornell University.

 

Press contact and further resources

All three HRMI co-founders are available for interview or comment on the 2022 scores and related matters. You can book an interview at any time by emailing Thalia Kehoe Rowden, thalia.kehoerowden (at) motu.org.nz.

Our full dataset will be available for free download from our Rights Tracker, closer to the public launch date, so you can create your own graphics to fit your publication’s branding, or to draw out the data you are most interested in, such as comparing two particular countries.

All data and graphics on our Rights Tracker are freely available under a Creative Commons licence.

Video interviews with members of our team are freely available on our YouTube channel.

 

Logos & Images for download: