Human rights practitioners

Human rights defenders, experts, and practitioners are crucial to HRMI’s work. We want to make their voices heard, and we rely on their contributions, particularly in our annual human rights survey of experts.

If you are invited to contribute information via our expert survey, please do! This will involve filling in an online multilingual questionnaire on the level of respect for human rights in your country. Sharing what you know about human rights violations in your country will help get your information out to a new audience.

Thank you very much to everyone who has contributed their expertise to the design of our expert human rights survey or completed the survey. We are really grateful for your contributions.

Our expert survey is conducted annually from February – March and is run in a growing number of countries each year. In 2021 we ran the survey in the following countries:

American Samoa, Angola, Australia, Brazil, Cook Islands, DR Congo, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hong Kong, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna.

In 2022, we are expanding the expert survey to include China and India.

If you would like to nominate your country for inclusion in future years, please contact us.

Why contribute?

Here’s what others say about why you should contribute:

“Comparative data on countries’ human rights performance is a useful way to hold governments to account. The Human Rights Measurement Initiative’s work depends on cooperation from human rights defenders everywhere to develop and share the best possible data and to make use of the results.”

– Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

“HRMI’s information will assist human rights mechanisms at international, regional and national levels to track performance in and across different countries, and help support realistic, evidence-based recommendations that seek to protect people and groups most at risk of violations of their rights.”

– Leigh Toomey, Chairperson, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

“Robust, accessible data that informs governments and their people about how well they are doing, or could be doing, to promote and protect human rights, is essential for effective, sustainable decision-making in today’s challenging world. ”

– Rosslyn Noonan, Former New Zealand Chief Human Rights Commissioner and Chair of the Global Association of National Human Rights Institutions

No one understands the human rights situation in a country better than the local and international experts and activists working to minimize rights violations there. By sharing your wealth of knowledge, you will help HRMI create the most accurate measurement possible.

– Brian Root, Quantitative Analyst, Human Rights Watch

In Africa we are forced to exchange rights and dignity for the fetish of economic development. With our hearts, minds and bodies we refuse to do so. We fight the good fight. HRMI is one of our weapons in this fight. Join!

– David Matsinhe, Lusophone Research Specialist at Amnesty International, Southern Africa

There is a critical need for better human rights data in the Pacific Island region. I recommend that the Pacific human rights community use HRMI’s data to develop better strategies, based on this data, to promote and protect human rights.”

– Imrana Jalal, international human rights lawyer, Co-Founder, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement

The information collected from country experts can serve as an important measure of the impact of human rights defenders in a wide cross-section of countries, over time. The fight for universal respect for the rights of people everywhere requires good data.”

– Scott Edwards, Senior Crisis Advisor, Amnesty International

For more information about how and why we are collecting information, please see our page on measuring civil and political human rights.

Who can be a survey respondent?

Survey respondents are human rights researchers and practitioners who are monitoring events in one of the survey countries. They must fit in one of the following categories:

  • Human rights expert (researcher, lawyer, or other practitioner) monitoring civil and political rights events in a survey country. They may be working for an international or domestic NGO or civil society organisation.
  • Journalists covering human rights issues in a country.
  • Staff working for the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of a survey country, ONLY if it is fully compliant with the Paris principles including being completely independent in fulfilling its mandate.

In most cases survey respondents are located within the country they are providing information on. For more closed countries we expect some respondents will be based outside the country.

Consistent with our philosophy of remaining independent, we do not collect information from government officials or from staff working at government-organised NGOs. 

Our priority is to seek respondents who have access to primary sources and are often the first points of contact for that information on the ground. For this reason, we do not seek academics as survey respondents.

We also don’t recruit victims of human rights violations whose human rights knowledge comes only from their personal experiences.

Since we do not have the capacity to vet all potential survey respondents ourselves, we work through country Ambassadors and trusted partners, who help to connect us to potential survey respondents who meet the above criteria.

Trusted partners are employees of vetted international human rights NGOs, networks of smaller domestic human rights NGOs, networks of other expert practitioners (such as journalists), or A-status national human rights institutions. Nevertheless, this study is completely independent of these organisations, and these organisations bear no responsibility for any of the work that HRMI does. Some of our trusted partners include: Amnesty International, Asia Pacific Forum, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Front Line Defenders, the Fund for Global Human Rights, ATLAS women, and Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN).

We guard the identities of survey respondents very closely, so as not to place any of these individuals at risk for sharing their perception of events with us. You are welcome to read our security policy and advice.

Thank you for your interest in HRMI. You are also most welcome to follow us on TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Facebook, and sign up to receive occasional newsletters here