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Data and human rights: What sources and methods? How reliable and helpful?

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. To obtain the fullest possible picture, we recommend reading articles in other openGlobalRights series, including, public opinion and human rightsevaluation and impact assessment in human rightsdebating economic and social rights; and more. 


当人权卫士处在一个敌对的环境下要想保证自己的数字信息安全,我们需要学习一下实用的行为方式。向openGlobalRights讨论提供资源: data and human rights. English. Español. 

Para fortalecer la seguridad digital de los defensores de derechos humanos, el comportamiento es importante

Cuando se trata de abordar la seguridad digital para los defensores de derechos humanos en entornos hostiles, tenemos que pensar más sobre el comportamiento práctico. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre los datos y los derechos humanos. 简体中文. English.

To strengthen digital security for human rights defenders, behavior matters

When approaching digital security for human rights defenders in hostile environments, we need to think more about practical behavior. A contribution the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights. Español. 简体中文.

Discrimination in action: the value of experiments in human rights

A video game experiment in Slovenia reveals discriminatory practices against the Roma—what else might experiments teach us about human rights? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on .

Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan

Experiments on support for women’s rights in Pakistan could improve the implementation and enforcement of UN treaties. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on .

The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging

Framing issues in different ways can undermine or bolster support of human rights, and experiments can help to explain why. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Español.

How new data can—and can’t—support academic research

Human rights practitioners and researchers often ask very different questions when collecting data—how can we bridge these gaps? A contribution to the openGlobalRights on data and human rights.

Human rights datasets are pointless without methodological rigour

Existing datasets on human rights have methodological weaknesses that can make them useless for any meaningful statistical analysis. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights.

Ethics, technology and human rights: navigating new roads

When we incorporate new technologies into human rights work, we need to be acutely aware of agency, participation and consent. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights.

The fine print: seeing beyond the hype in technology for human rights

With all the hype about new technologies for human rights, activists must think critically and strategically. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights

Cohesion in the chaos: uniting human rights methodologies

With the range of options available to document and analyze human rights, it’s important to help researchers and advocates use data responsibly and appropriately. Part of openGlobalRights’ data and rights series.

Missing torture amongst the poor

Documenting torture has always been problematic, but the experiences of the poor are continually left out of the picture. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ data and human rights debate. EspañolFrançais

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.

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

Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading

While data is important for human rights advocacy, the risks of misleading people are also very real and advocates must insist on rigor.


Quantitative data in human rights: what do the numbers really mean?

Everyone loves numbers, but when we use them in human rights, how often are we misrepresenting the data?

Using budget analysis to confront governments: what practitioners need to know

Millions of dollars that could address socio-economic disparities are lost through illicit financial flows, but budget analysis could help. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights.

Running the numbers on ICC deterrence: when does it actually work?

Systematic assessments reveal that the ICC can deter intentional civilian killing, but only under the right conditions. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the International Criminal Court. Español

Violence data: what practitioners need to know

The demand for numerical data on human rights has never been higher, but no data can be taken at face value. Español

Doubling down on human rights data

NGOs have often resisted social science methods, but random sampling and public opinion survey data can help us understand what people actually think and want. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Public Opinion and Human RightsEspañolFrançaisРу́сский

Data-driven optimism for global rights activists

Opinion polls across four world regions suggest that human rights activists can be cautiously optimistic—the public likes and trusts them. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Public Opinion and Human Rights.   EspañolFrançais, العربية

When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey

Yes, human rights work must be measured, but we need to focus on the small steps as well as the “big picture.” A contribution to the openGlobalRights debateon Evaluation and Human Rights. Français, Español, العربية 

Where’s the evidence? Moving from ideology to data in economic and social rights

To advance the polarized openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights, we need more empirical research, and less ideology. EspañolPortuguês

Open budgets, open politics?

Budget transparency has the potential to make governments more accountable, but research shows that it occurs most often where it is least needed. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights. EspañolFrançais

Winners and losers: how budgeting for human rights can help the poor

Recent research reveals the impact that international covenants could have on government taxation and expenditures. Based on civil society organization (CSO) campaigns around the world, human rights law—coupled with budget analysis—can be a powerful tool to hold governments to account for how their policies affect the poor. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Economic and Social Rights Bahasa Indonesia, Español, Français简体中文

The state of global human rights philanthropy

Using the first-ever data-driven effort to track global human rights funding, representatives from two major global funding networks based in the U.S. and Mexico respond to James Ron on the current trends and opportunities of grants for human rights initiatives around the world. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human Rights. Español, العربيةPortuguês

Universal values, foreign money: local human rights organizations in the Global South

Despite enjoying a fair bit of local support, local human rights organizations (LHROs) in the Global South are still largely dependent on foreign funds. To better tap into local resource pools, LHROs will have to rethink their funding strategies, and perhaps reconsider some of their activities. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Funding for Human Rights. Türkçe, Español, Português, Français, עברית ,العربية 

The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement

Pilot testing Using cutting-edge human rights perception polls, the authors explore links between social class and domestic human rights movements in Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, and India. Social elites, they find, are better connected to human rights representatives than the masses. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on "Emerging Powers and Human Rights" and "Human Rights: Mass or Elite Movement?". Español, Français, العربية, 中国语文, हिंदी, Português, Türkçe

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