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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

8. Measuring and Monitoring Human Rights  

Todd Landman and Larissa C. S. K. Kersten

This chapter focuses on the measurement and monitoring of human rights. It explains the purpose, challenges, and types of human rights measures and discusses the main content of human rights that ought to be measured, including the different categories and dimensions of human rights. It also considers the different ways that human rights have been measured using various kinds of data and measurement strategies, such as events-based data, standards-based data, survey data, and socio-economic and administrative statistics. Furthermore, it looks at new trends in human rights measurement, with a focus on new ways to measure economic and social rights, ‘open source’, and ‘big’ data, and the mapping and visualization of human rights data. The chapter concludes by discussing the remaining challenges for human rights measurement and monitoring, including biased reporting, incomplete source material, and the importance of continued dialogue between different academic disciplines on the need for measurement.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

9. Global Civil Society and Human Rights  

Marlies Glasius and Doutje Lettinga

This chapter examines the relationship between global civil society (GCS), defined as ‘people organizing to influence their world’, and the normative ideal of a ‘global rule-bound society’. It first explains the concept of GCS before discussing some of the GCS actors involved in human rights issues, with a particular focus on their background, methods, and influence. It then decribes three kinds of activities of individuals and organizations in civil society in relation to human rights corresponding to three different phases: shifting norms, making law, and monitoring implementation. These activities are illustrated with two case studies: norm-shifting activities in relation to economic and social rights, and lawmaking and monitoring activities in relation to the International Criminal Court.

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Cover Human Rights

Treaties, Monitoring, and Enforcement  

Emily Hencken Ritter

This chapter explores the monitoring and enforcement of treaties, which is the foundation of international human rights law. The international nature of human rights treaties (HRT) makes it difficult to monitor and enforce states' compliance with treaty obligations. The chapter looks at how international organizations, domestic institutions, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and civilians monitor state compliance and invoke enforcement when necessary. It then explains the difficulty of constraining a state with the power to harm while demonstrating the power of collective action to change government practices. The process of compliance with international law involves standard setting, state compliance behaviour, monitoring, and enforcement. The chapter also highlights the difference between de jure and de facto rights protections. It looks into the social movements, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, monitoring and enforcing state accountability to international HRT obligations.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights

Human Rights in International Law  

Rhona K. M. Smith

This chapter focuses on human rights within international law. It discusses the principal monitoring systems that ensured states complied with their international human rights treaty obligations. Some human rights agreements involved the abolition of slavery, humanitarian law, and labour rights. The chapter then lists treaties, customary international law, and soft law as the sources of international human rights law. States generally indicate their acceptance of international human rights law by agreeing to treaties, but they could avoid the full impact of legal obligations through reservations, derogations, and declarations. Thus, the existing mechanisms for monitoring human rights have a light touch that encouraged states to comply with treaties through constructive dialogue instead of any court processes.