CFR Presents

Development Channel

Issues and innovations in global economic development

Print Print Email Email Share Share Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close

loading...

Post-2015 Development Issues: Civil and Political Rights

by Terra Lawson-Remer
February 21, 2013

Nepalese women take part in a protest against what they say is an increase in violence against women, and demanding the government to implement stronger laws and to take firm action against violence on women, outside the Prime Minister's official residence in Kathmandu January 7, 2013 (Navesh Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters). Nepalese women take part in a protest against what they say is an increase in violence against women, and demanding the government to implement stronger laws and to take firm action against violence on women, outside the Prime Minister's official residence in Kathmandu January 7, 2013 (Navesh Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters).

As discussed in previous blog posts in this series, good governance and human rights are central aspects of global development.  Fundamental to human freedom, these objectives are both an end in themselves and a means to an end, and should be included in the post-2015 global development agenda. In this regard, guaranteeing Civil Rights, Political Rights, and Personal Security is a critical development goal.

This goal meets the criteria for goal setting—it embodies a consensus normative and ideational objective, is actionable and serves a “booster” function for an important but neglected issue, is universally applicable, and appropriate targets and indicators would strengthen accountability.

Measuring performance on this goal is not as impossible as it may appear at first glance. This post discusses indicators for civil and political rights. My next post tackles indicators for personal security.

Given that civil and political rights targets aim to hold governments accountable for fulfilling international human rights treaty obligations, assessment should be external to government authorities, impartial, and conducted by legitimate international bodies charged with monitoring rule of law and human rights commitments. Although civil and political rights are inherently complex and interdependent, two potential “bellweather” cross-national indicators, based on UN expert reports, are:

  1. Number of cases of arbitrary deprivation of life, as reported by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to the UN Human Rights Council; and
  2. Number of cases of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment perpetrated by an agent of the State or any other person acting under government authority without judicial due process, as reported by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Violence against Women.

Do these UN expert reports meet the selection criteria for indicators

UN expert reports could be complemented by public perception and expert surveys.  Most relevantly, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index assesses countries’ performance on the nine areas of: limits on government power, corruption, order and security, fundamental rights, open government, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, criminal justice, and informal justice. The scores are built from assessments of the general public and local legal experts to measure the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The score derived from public perception surveys regarding fundamental rights would be an excellent indicator for this goal.

Does the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index meet the selection criteria for indicators

The next post in this series tackles personal security.  Previous posts in the series can be found hereherehereherehere, and here.

Post a Comment No Comments

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required

Pingbacks