The Human Rights Measurement Initiative is working on the creation of a new, comprehensive measurement of international children’s rights.
All of us have a stake in children thriving and flourishing. According to the World Bank, one-quarter of the world’s population is aged 0-14; another eight per cent are aged 15-19. And the international community has clearly announced its support of the human rights of minors – the United States is the only country in the UN who is not a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
That being said, child abuse (in many different spheres of life), remains very common. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1 billion children between the ages of 2 and 17 “have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.”
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuses of children’s rights. These, even more than abuses of other rights, are likely to be wildly underreported because of children’s relative lack of economic, political, and personal power in the world. And like other rights, their realisation will vary by identity group, sub-national region, and other considerations – all kids are different!
However, data in this realm is extremely limited. As members of HRMI’s children’s rights team discuss in this post they co-authored for The Loop, it is therefore necessary that we develop data and measures to effectively hold governments accountable to their treaty obligations. This includes not only measuring children’s rights broadly but also developing indicators for different categories of children’s rights, such as civil and political rights, and economic and social rights, and collecting data to capture different experiences within countries.
HRMI Children’s Rights Research Fellows Annie Watson and Liz Kaletski have been surveying literature, examining available data and making connections at child rights organisations around the world. As academics and quantitative researchers, they have used publicly available data to create preliminary measures of children’s rights, including component measures of children’s civil and political rights and economic and social rights, for 190 countries from 2000 to 2018. They are working to refine and improve these measures with input from children and other children’s rights stakeholders.
As part of this process, Liz and Annie are building contacts among child rights practitioners and seeking guidance with regards to best practices when it comes to building children’s active participation into research processes.
Additionally, they are looking for partners to engage in mutually beneficial research collaborations (including blog posts in the short term and more traditional scholarly publications in the long term), as well as grant funding and co-design workshops that will ensure the workstream addresses the data and measurement needs of key stakeholders. You can find more details about their approach in this concept note:
If you are interested in getting involved or would like more details about this workstream, please reach out to us through the HRMI contact form.