New human rights data and data viz tool

Mar 27, 2018

Based in New Zealand, and operating internationally, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is the first global project to track the human rights performance of countries around the world.

This is the first set of robust, comprehensive data on human rights. Existing metrics are piecemeal, of varying quality, and sometimes muddied by political agendas.

“We are creating the world’s first go-to source of comprehensive, country-level human rights data. Rather than starting from scratch, we are drawing on the expertise of specialists who have already been working in this field for decades,” said Anne-Marie Brook, the co-founder of HRMI.

Brook says that the motivation for this work is the belief that a lack of good-quality human rights data is impeding progress in respect for human dignity. “For human rights to improve, they need to be measured.”

This impetus drove Brook, K Chad Clay, and Susan Randolph to found HRMI. Brook is an economist based at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in Wellington, NZ; Clay is a political scientist focusing on civil and political human rights based at the University of Georgia, USA; and Randolph is an economist specialising in economic and social human rights based at the University of Connecticut, USA.

Brook says: “I've been noticing social injustices all my life. I am driven to address the challenge of the pervasive lack of respect for humanity around the globe and the dysfunction of the systems that contribute to that.”

HRMI’s goal is to do this by revolutionising the production and use of independent, quantitative metrics of countries’ human rights performance. HRMI has recently completed a pilot (in 13 diverse countries) of a new methodology for capturing information on civil and political human rights through an expert survey. These rights are: right to opinion and expression; right to assembly and association; right to participate in government; freedom from arbitrary arrest; freedom from torture; freedom from disappearance; freedom from execution.

HRMI also has measures of progress on five economic and social rights (rights to education, health, food, housing. and work) for more than 120 countries.

HRMI has just launched their initial suite of metrics on a on a new interactive data visualisation website. In the future they plan to expand their coverage to include more countries and a wider variety of human rights.

Everything HMRI produces is freely and openly available online under a Creative Commons Attribution copyright licence.
For more information about the Human Rights Measurement Initiative and to access the data, please visit: