KATHMANDU, Sep 28 (IPS) – Welcome to the Strive podcast, where we chat in new voices about fresh ideas to create a more just and sustainable world. My name is Marty Logan.
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Today we are learning about what I believe to be a fantastic new tool for holding governments accountable for their human rights obligations. The Human Rights Measurement Initiative is actually six years old, so it’s not brand new, but it was a revelation to me when I came across it recently.
What I like is how the Initiative’s Rights Tracker scores a government’s track record on a specific right, say the right to education, based on how other countries with roughly the same level of resources have performed. As a journalist, I still believe in the naming and shaming approach, but as a guest today, Stephen Bagwell of the Initiative, and the University of Missouri, St. Louis, governments too often say that governments are responding to reports of rights violations by dismiss them as exaggerated or made up. It’s much harder to brush off HRMI’s scores, which are largely data-based.
I also like an equation Stephen uses to explain why human rights should be measured: the Sustainable Development Goals. There are all kinds of updates on progress towards the 2030 SDGs deadline, when in fact governments are not legally obliged to meet the goals. But hundreds of countries have ratified the various human rights instruments, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but no one has systematically monitored their progress in meeting those obligations.
A note about abbreviations you’ll hear in today’s episode: ICCPR is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, mentioned above, and the ICESCR is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Both are basic human rights documents. The former is considered law in 173 countries and the ICESCR in 171 countries.
Human Rights Measurement Initiative
Nepal page on HRMI’s Rights Tracker
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