Vox features HRMI’s 2019 data on the human rights landscape in the United States in this searing piece by Lauren Wolfe.
Lauren Wolfe writes:
A new report examining human rights in the United States and around the world has just been released, and its findings are disturbing: The US is doing abysmally in several key categories, including the right to freedom from extrajudicial killing, the right to participate in government, and the right to be safe from the state.
Of the 12 human rights categories, from press freedom to quality of life, measured by the Human Rights Measurement Initiative — a global nonprofit data analysis organization based in Wellington, New Zealand — there are several in which the US has “strikingly poor results,” according to the report’s authors.
It’s aworrying sign that for all its resources and reputation for democracy, the US is not doing all that well in the world when it comes to human rights.
The troubling findings, however, are something HRMI co-founder K. Chad Clay called “not surprising” and not new. “We’re not seeing much evidence of a sea change between the Obama and Trump administrations,” said Clay, who is also a professor at the University of Georgia.
In other words, things in the US have been pretty bad for years, despite its developed, wealthy status.
Bhrikuti Rai reported on threats to civil liberties in Nepal in the Kathmandu Post, drawing on HRMI data:
Civil liberties in Nepal are increasingly coming under threat, with greater policing of social media and proposed laws that will limit freedom of expression, says a new human rights survey.
The survey, conducted by the New Zealand-based Human Rights Measurement Initiative, said that Nepal’s low score of 3.9 out of 10 on freedom of opinion and expression is “very concerning.”
“Nepal’s Empowerment score of 5.6, based on a detailed survey of human rights experts, tells us that many people in Nepal are not enjoying their civil rights and political freedoms,” the report says. The empowerment category in the report includes right to assembly and association, right to opinion and expression, and right to participate in government.
Journalists and young people, including artists and singers critical of the government as well as human rights defenders and those working on transitional justice issues, were listed as among the most “vulnerable” to restrictions on their rights to expression and opinion by the government.
The bleak picture of declining civil liberties comes just a week after the police pursued action against a Facebook page for a movie review, and a month after national and international civil liberties groups pointed out declining press freedom in Nepal.
Michael Taylor wrote this article for the Thomson Reuters Foundation about the United States scores and some of the other important findings in our 2019 data.
Police brutality, migrant abuse and Death Row ensured the United States scored poorly among rich countries in a survey released on Thursday assessing human rights from Mexico to Mozambique.
The Wellington-based Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) quizzed experts in all of the 19 nations it assessed, including civil society groups, lawyers and journalists, and gauged how each state treats its citizens.
“On safety from the state, the United States is performing significantly below the others,” said Anne-Marie Brook, co-founder of HRMI, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
She compared the U.S. performance against that of Australia, New Zealand, Britain and South Korea, all of whom belong to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“The United States is the only one that has the death penalty, extrajudicial killings, like police killings that are not justified, and all the things going on at the border with children separated from parents,” she said.
For TVNZ’s One News, Katie Bradford filed this report on human rights in New Zealand, with public figures from the Minister of Justice to the Human Rights Commissioner responding to HRMI’s findings.
Click here to watch the news clip. Here’s an extract from the accompanying web article:
New Zealand’s housing crisis has been labelled a “human rights crisis” by the Human Rights Commissioner.
It comes as an international report finds New Zealand is also not meeting its requirements when it comes to Māori, the disabled and prisoners.
“It’s extremely embarrassing, New Zealand has a housing crisis, it also has a human rights crisis as everyone here has the right to a secure, warm dry home,” Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says.
TVNZ’s Breakfast also reported on human rights violations against disabled people that HRMI’s data show.
Click here to watch the clip.
Releasing the figures today, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative has tracked how 170 countries are doing. New Zealand ranks well in some areas, but for people with disabilities their rights to an education, housing, health and employment is at particular risk.
Disability Connect board chairwoman Colleen Brown told TVNZ1’s Breakfast the findings are “totally unacceptable”.
“Parents are still having to fight to get their children into schools and that in this day and age is totally unacceptable,” she said.
The ABC’s Pacific Beat reported on HRMI’s scores for Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. The coverage starts at 9 minutes.
Click here to listen to Catherine Graue’s report.
We are delighted that HRMI co-founder Susan Randolph, and her co-authors Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Terra Lawson-Remer was awarded the 2019 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
The annual Grawemeyer Awards program at the University of Louisville was founded on the on the belief that individual ideas can have a big impact on the world. Prizes are given in the fields of music composition, religion, psychology, and ideas for improving world order.
This year, the winners of the last category are Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph, who co-authored the 2015 book “Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights.” The book won the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights Section Best Book Award in 2016.
Randolph is a development economist and a professor emerita from the University of Connecticut. She said the basic question the book explores is: “How is it governments can ensure that their economies work to support people’s well-being?”
“More recently, what my research has focused on and what this book picks up, is not simply looking at the relationship between economic growth and inequality,” Randolph said. “But more substantively, trying to look at the relationship between people’s well-being as reflected in the internationally-accepted norms of human rights and economic policies.”
But, Randolph said, this requires actually being able to measure concepts like “well-being,” which aren’t necessarily easily quantified. One of the major points of “Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights” was the development of a a new tool, the Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment (SERF) Index, to measure nations’ progress toward human rights goals.
You can read more about this exciting news in our own article here.
Kathryn Ryan interviewed our co-founder Anne-Marie Brook on Radio New Zealand’s popular Nine to Noon programme. Follow the link or listen here:
We are very proud that HRMI co-founder Anne-Marie Brook received the prestigious Edmund Hillary Fellowship. This is a a three-year fellowship programme for high-calibre international entrepreneurs, investors, and startup teams to support innovative businesses that have the potential to make a global impact. Read Idealog’s profile of Anne-Marie or watch the video below.