- oD 50.50
Public opinion and human rights – What can (and can’t) we learn from surveys?
Human rights groups have long argued that their job is to uphold norms, laws, and principles, even if this isolates them from the political mainstream. In recent years, however, a growing number of scholars and handful of activists have begun using opinion polls to better understand the public’s attitude towards human rights issues. In some cases, groups have used these analyses to adjust their messages, craft new outreach efforts, or build new fund raising strategies. In this debate authors explore the following questions: What research has been done in this area, and how useful is it? Should human rights groups use polling results to adjust their messages and strategy? If so, when and how? What additional research should scholars be doing and how can they work with activists? Should foundations and other donors support this work? If yes, how?
New research suggests that if human rights organizations use evidence-based fundraising strategies, the public will donate. Español
When NGOs alter their narratives of mass violence depending on the cultural characteristics of each country, which version dominates?
Americans’ support for torture increases depending on who is involved and how it is framed. Español, العربية
In Israel, public support for the term, “human rights,” is falling; support for actual human rights policies, however, is strong. Español, العربية, עברית
A recent political uproar in South Korea has exacerbated the public’s diminishing trust in government officials.
Human rights groups have lost—or never gained—the trust of roughly half their (potentially) strongest supporters. Español
After 50 years, the Colombian government has signed a historic ceasefire agreement. But how can we get more Colombians on board? Español
Polling in over two dozen countries shows much greater public support for refugees than commonly reported. Español, Français
Mobile polling could revolutionize how civil society and human rights groups operate—if it’s done right. Español
Using polling data, the National Democratic Institute is helping LGBTI groups in southeastern Europe build their activist base. Español, Српски
Debates about the label “genocide” distract from the substantive discussion about whether and how to stop the killing.
Polls measure public opinion on refugees, but studying deeper thinking and issue framing are the keys to understanding people’s willingness to act. Español
New research shows that people who experience discrimination are less likely to contribute to the common good. Español
For countries in democratic transition, using public opinion research to inform the strategy of social movements has added value. Español
Partnering with a comedienne and taking to social media, Human Rights Watch is getting creative to gain traction on women’s rights in Morocco.
Despite Putin’s clampdown on Russian civil society, public opinion trends point to growing support for civil liberties. Español, Ру́сский
There are many reasons to avoid public opinion research, but there are even more reasons to invest in it. Español, Français
As space for civil society closes, donors and civil society leaders are realizing they cannot take public support for granted. Español
Why have global leaders continually been ignoring the views of Muslims—and especially of Syrians—on conflict
Repressive governments can damage the effectiveness of human rights action by attempting to discredit a prisoner of conscience.
South Africa stands apart from the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa, but without surveys, we still don’t know the public’s opinion.
Winning the public’s trust requires that NGOs be open to understanding, and respecting, the public’s perspectives.
Broad public support for human rights is a false front—not a mass movement but a loosely bound herd. Español
Israeli public opinion is not nearly as anti-democratic as is often depicted. Israeli leadership, however, is another story. עברית ,العربية
Moroccan authorities still use old methods of oppressing opponents. Without popular support, can human rights groups fight back? Français, العربية
Backed into a corner, Israeli human rights groups are trying to better understand and utilize public opinion. Español, עברית ,العربية
Knowing your audience, and tailoring messages accordingly, will make or break a human rights campaign. Español
Public perception on human rights in the Middle East can provide important insights on state building. Français, العربية
Public opinion polls can help bring forward the voice of the silent majority, who mostly favour peace in situations of violent conflict.
Was there a magic messaging bullet that helped change American public opinion on same-sex marriage? Español, Français
Experience of intense combat not only turns Israeli soldiers against conflict resolution, it can also spur them to become anti-occupation activists. العربية ,עברית
Many activists in Myanmar (Burma) are very skeptical of public opinion polling. But these polls are a key starting point for a larger conversation on democracy. မြန်မာဘာသာ
In Israel, intense combat experience decreases support for negotiations and human rights organizations
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