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Newest Debate: Data and human rights

The global human rights community has access to more data, from a wider range of sources, than ever before. However, it is not always clear how reliable and helpful these data are, and how to best use them in human rights work. In this series, openGlobalRights authors explore the types, sources and uses of human rights data. Read on...

Our latest:

Closing space in Hungary with a Russian cookbook

Hungary is using Russia’s playbook to close down civil society space, and many Western allies are hardly even noticing. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on closing space for civil society.

Human rights and public opinion in Israel: anger vs. pragmatism

In Israel, public support for the term, “human rights,” is falling; support for actual human rights policies, however, is strong. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights. Españolالعربيةעברית

Tackling economic inequality with the right to non-discrimination

Inequality may be compatible with human rights, but not if it violates the right to non-discrimination. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic inequality and human rights.

Putting universality into the Universal Periodic Review

The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review is systematically marginalizing economic and social rights. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights. Español

ICC will investigate environmental destruction as well as war crimes

The ICC is now prioritizing crimes involving environmental destruction and land grabbing. How will this change economic development? A contribution to openGlobalRights’ debate on the International Criminal Court. Español

No single dataset is sufficient for understanding human rights, nor should it be

Yes, cross-national datasets are inappropriate for understanding the lived experience of those suffering from human rights abuse, but that’s not why we need them.

Yes, human rights scholars conceal social wrongs—when they miss the point

To suggest that relying on cross-national analyses perpetuates human rights abuses is simply fallacious.

How human rights scholars conceal social wrongs

Using cross-national data in human rights research helps perpetuate social wrongs.

Inequality, business and human rights: the new frontier?

Despite the growing urgency to address inequality, the business and human rights field has remained rather silent on the issue. Why? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic inequality.

No data, no accountability: solving racial violence in the United States

Without adequate data, the US racial divide remains a matter of perception, rather than of careful empirical analysis. Português

Small grants can make big impacts

Building a culture of philanthropy in the global South is a herculean task, but small grants can still make big changes. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on funding and human rightsPortuguês

Decolonization—not western liberals—established human rights on the global agenda

Human rights scholarship and advocacy claim to be grounded in universality, yet both are anything but in their privileging the Western role in building an international human rights system. Español

Blame South Sudanese leadership, not George Clooney

The crisis in South Sudan is a result of its current leadership – the country wasn’t doomed to fail – and its people welcome celebrities like George Clooney who point this out.

Letter to George Clooney

Celebrity activism risks reducing complex political issues to simple morality tales, leading to emotional politics and irresponsible interventions.

Dogs, pigs, and human rights: South Korea’s uproar

A recent political uproar in South Korea has exacerbated the public’s diminishing trust in government officials. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights.

Collaborating with scientists for climate justice

The impacts of climate change intensify existing social inequities by placing disproportionate burdens on vulnerable populations. Collaborations with scientists and community partners could lead to rights-based solutions.

The right place for the Left: the World Social Forum in Montreal

In August 2016, the World Social Forum brought global justice activists to Montreal, the first time it was ever held in the global North. But this reorientation of the movement fell far short of its goals

Rethinking what ICC success means at the Bemba Trial

When measuring ICC success, we need to examine the local impact and not just the international effects. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the International Criminal Court. Français

Two forums, two approaches to advancing the SDGs and human rights

Recent global assemblies make it clear—to achieve the SDGs we need to find ways to hold governments, UN agencies and the private sector accountable for the pledges they made.

Making economic rights “real” with stakeholder dialogues

When businesses go into a poor community, how can those most affected have more influence over the agenda?


Demagogues and populists must be challenged – UN High Commissioner speaks out

A cross border bonding of demagogues and populists poses a grave risk to human rights, and we are doing too little to challenge their lies and half-truths.

Earning the trust of human rights supporters

Human rights groups have lost—or never gained—the trust of roughly half their (potentially) strongest supporters. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights, and evaluation and human rightsEspañol