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Human Rights Indicators

Qualitative and quantitative indicators are essential tools in the realization of human rights. International human rights treaties and jurisprudence of the human rights treaty bodies call for the development of statistical indicators and data collection to help measure our progress in human rights.

Human rights indicators are tools for States to assess their own progress in implementing human rights and compliance with the international treaties. They can assist national governments in implementing rights-based policy, bolster cases argued by human rights advocates and provide further access to information.

Development of OHCHR’s framework of indicators was guided by the principles adopted for the work of the Human Rights Council: universality, impartiality, objectivity and cooperation to strengthen the capacity of Member States in meeting their human rights obligations. This process has built on a multidisciplinary approach and involved consultations with a wide range of international and national actors, including government agencies, national human rights institutions, statistics offices and civil society organizations.

OHCHR’s Guide on Human Rights Indicators is neither designed, nor is it suitable for ranking States based on an overall human rights performance. Neither is it a substitute for more comprehensive and judicial human rights assessments.

Contact: hrindicators@ohchr.org

Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation

Human Rights Indicators guide cover © OHCHR Now Available in PDF (English | French | Spanish)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation. The publication aims to assist in developing quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure progress in the implementation of international human rights norms and principles.

The Guide describes the conceptual and methodological framework for human rights indicators recommended by international and national human rights mechanisms and used by a growing number of governmental and non-governmental actors. It provides concrete examples of indicators identified for a number of human rights—all originating from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—and other practical tools and illustrations, to support the realization of human rights at all levels.

The Guide will be of interest to human rights advocates as well as policymakers, development practitioners, statisticians and others who are working to make human rights a reality for all.

To download a copy (9.4 MB), click on the cover page.

Download: Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation *
Complete Guide English | French | Spanish
Cover, Foreword, Acknowledgments  English | French | Spanish
Contents, Abbreviations and Acronyms English | FrenchSpanish
Introduction English | FrenchSpanish
Chapter 1 - Human rights and indicators: rationale and some concerns English | FrenchSpanish
Chapter 2 - Conceptualizing indicators for human rights English | FrenchSpanish
Chapter 3 – Methodological approaches to human rights indicators English | FrenchSpanish
Chapter 4 – Illustrating the framework: Indicators for some rights English | FrenchSpanish
Chapter 5 – Framework in practice: implementing and monitoring rights English | French | Spanish

Annexes, Glossary:
- Metadata sheets on selected indicators
- Databases of United Nations and other international organisations on human rights issues and population groups

Glossary of statistical terms   

English | French | Spanish
*/ All documents are in PDF

Status of Ratification

Accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions

World Maps of Human Rights Indicators