Measuring Human Rights: U.N. Indicators in Critical Perspective

GOVERNANCE BY INDICATORS: GLOBAL POWER THROUGH QUANTIFICATION AND RANKINGS, Davis et al, eds., 2011

Posted: 25 Aug 2011

See all articles by Margaret L. Satterthwaite

Margaret L. Satterthwaite

New York University School of Law

AnnJanette Rosga

Transpositions Consulting

Date Written: July 30, 2011

Abstract

This chapter examines the use of indicators by U.N. bodies charged with monitoring State compliance with human rights treaties. The authors argue that although the use of quantitative indicators tends to disguise some of the core problems that are inherent in the indicators project as technical ones of measurement and data availability, many of the same problems would still be present even if quantitative indicators were banished from human rights assessment projects. The authors caution, however that human rights compliance indicators may threaten space for democratic engagement by purporting to turn exercises of judgment into ones of solely technical measurement. For this reason, they argue, it is all the more essential that human rights advocates not eschew engaging in debates about indicators, since doing so provides new opportunities to use the language of science and objectivity as a powerful tool for holding governments to account.

Keywords: human rights, metrics and indicators, United Nations

JEL Classification: L33

Suggested Citation

Satterthwaite, Margaret L. and Rosga, AnnJanette, Measuring Human Rights: U.N. Indicators in Critical Perspective (July 30, 2011). GOVERNANCE BY INDICATORS: GLOBAL POWER THROUGH QUANTIFICATION AND RANKINGS, Davis et al, eds., 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1916796

Margaret L. Satterthwaite (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

AnnJanette Rosga

Transpositions Consulting ( email )

Oakland, CA 94605
United States
+1-510-479-3664 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://transpositions.org

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,340
PlumX Metrics