'Are We There Yet?': Measuring Human Rights Sensibilities
(2014) 20(1) Australian Journal of Human Rights, 67-97
Posted: 30 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2014
Evaluation of human rights laws needs to go beyond measurable activity and outputs, and should try to assess the existence and strength of an underlying human rights sensibility among those for whom human rights laws are an available tool. This article responds to Arthurs and Arnold’s (2005) critique of the Canadian Charter, describing a pilot study that explores the feasibility of establishing indicators for knowledge and use of, and attitudes towards, human rights legislation. The study was conducted among legal and social service professionals in the Australian Capital Territory and the State of Victoria, and demonstrates that it is possible to devise a simple and meaningful instrument for measuring human rights sensibilities and tracking changes to them over time. Such monitoring may assist in assessing the long-term success of human rights legislation in fostering the internalisation of human rights norms.
Keywords: Human rights legislation; impact indicators
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