We’re expanding into new countries: will yours be one?

After a successful 13-country pilot in 2018, we are expanding our Civil and Political Rights measurement to cover new countries. Who will be next?

Read on to find out how we’re choosing the new participants, and how you can get involved.

First things first: Are you in Tunisia, Lebanon, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden or Norway?

HRMI’s aim is to produce human rights measurements of all the countries in the world. That’s a lot, obviously! To expand our coverage, we rely on HRMI Ambassadors in each country or region to join with us.

In 2019 we have settled on a few new countries, and we are still urgently in need of keen contributors in two new countries:

  • Either Tunisia or Lebanon
  • Either Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden or Norway

If that might be you, we would love to hear from you!

For every country that joins up, human rights defenders can add robust data to their stories of human rights violations. If you have stories you want to tell, and people you want to influence so that human rights are better respected in your country, HRMI data can help.

Please read on and see what you think, and contact us if you’re interested.

There’s more detail below of why we’d like to add those countries.

The story so far

Now that we’ve tested our methods, we’re ready to expand as far as our budget will let us. In 2019 that means we’ll add up to eight new countries to the original 13, but we very much hope that the important, unique and robust human rights data we’ve collected so far will encourage new funders to invest in much bigger expansion in the coming two years.

Remember, we have Economic and Social Rights data (on the rights to food, education, health, housing and work) for 160 countries. We can generate our metrics for these rights from existing reporting, collected from various sources, and analysed afresh to show how close countries are to meeting their immediate obligations.

Our Civil and Political Rights data are much more costly and time-consuming to collect, because we go right to the source. In each participating country, we ask current human right experts – such as lawyers, journalists and people at human rights monitoring organisations, from local specialist ones to international ones like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch – what they know about a range of human rights violations.

We ask these experts to complete a carefully written questionnaire (you can see simulation of last year’s survey here), in a secure, encrypted online document. Our Civil and Political Rights team then analyses the results, using advanced statistical techniques for combining, and ensuring comparability across, responses. Then we present them on our data site and share them freely with the world, so states can be held to account for their abuses, and encouraged to improve.

Radar graphs for three of the original pilot countries.

Radar graphs for three of the original pilot countries. Explore the data on our data site.

In each country, we rely on key human rights practitioners who want to see these data produced for their country.

We need local experts to spread the word about HRMI’s work, and recommend colleagues who are qualified to contribute to the data collection. Our one or two initial contacts need to then start a ‘snowball’ rolling as more and more experts recommend others to participate.

How we’re choosing the next countries

Our 13 pilot countries are:

New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
United Kingdom

Here they are with their 2018 results for how well each country respects the right to be free from torture:

The Right to Freedom from Torture: 13 Civil and Political Rights Pilot countries

The Right to Freedom from Torture: 13 Civil and Political Rights Pilot countries. Explore these data further on our data site.

Our 2018 pilot data have provided all sorts of useful insights into the strengths and challenges of these 13 countries. For example:

In 2019 we’ll be able to tell more stories with our data, especially as we’ll be running the research again in these 13 countries. We’ll be able to see if there’s any shift in any of the countries as their policies – and in some cases, governments – change.

When it comes to choosing the next eight countries to add, we’re weighing up a few different factors:

  1. We want to include a range of countries, in terms of geography, size, wealth and societal challenges
  2. For any new country, we need to have some local contacts who can start the snowball rolling, and who want HRMI to come to their country.

Using those criteria, we have provisionally settled on adding these countries for 2019:

Democratic Republic of Congo
United States
South Korea

Given the current volatility of some of these new countries, we’d like the last two countries to be relatively stable ones, one in the Middle East or Northern Africa (perhaps Tunisia or Lebanon?), and one in Northern Europe (perhaps Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden or Norway?).

If you’re a human rights practitioner in a country that fits that description, and you’d love to have human rights measurements available for your country, please contact us.

What are the stories you want to be able to tell, with robust data, about human rights violations in your country? HRMI data can help. Get in touch to get involved.

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