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Hello ,

It's been a very productive season at HRMI. In the last few months we've released our 2019 human rights data, launched a new data portal, welcomed several new staff members, and held our first Pacific Region co-design workshop.

You can read more about all of these things and more below.

Another big thing for me in the past few months was giving my first ever TEDx talk. It’s called 'Let’s measure what we treasure: human rights' and you can watch it on YouTube right now. In it I tell some of the story of the biggest career transition of my life. But the main purpose of this talk was not to tell my story. I wanted to amplify the voices of the many thousands of often invisible human rights defenders worldwide who are working tirelessly to advocate for oppressed people, and who often put their own lives (and the lives of their families) at risk in order to draw attention to the mistreatment of others.

I know that some of you reading this are these people, and I want to thank you for the incredible work you do.

The more I learn about human rights worldwide, the more potential I see for HRMI data to help incentivise more ethical behaviour by governments and others to improve the lives of people. Without good data, human rights will continue to be overlooked and underappreciated.

As I say in my talk, changing our world for the better will require a huge global collaborate effort, and here at HRMI we all believe that producing good data is a crucial part of that, but only one part. We are looking to build new partnerships now. If you’ve got any feedback or questions on any aspect of our work or if you'd like to discuss ways to collaborate, please get in touch!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

'By the Pacific, For the Pacific, With the Pacific'
In August, a group of 43 representatives from HRMI and the Pacific Region converged on Auckland for three days of connecting with one another, learning from one another, and exploring the potential for improving human rights in the region through expansion of HRMI’s human rights dataset.

Some of the outcomes:
  • warm relationships with human rights defenders in the Pacific region
  • appointment of HRMI Ambassadors to help roll out the expert survey in 2020
  • exploration of a new suite of human rights metrics based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
  • improvements to the data portal
  • improvements to the expert survey
  • addition of a 'Pacific specific' module of questions to the expert survey that will go only to Pacific region respondents 
  • a commitment from HRMI to be guided by the principle 'by the Pacific, for the Pacific, with the Pacific'
Read more about the workshop here
New on the website
Have you seen these recent articles on our website? They all show HRMI data being used to illuminate current human rights situations around the world. 
If you have an idea for a future article, please get in touch with our Communications Lead, Thalia:
New team members
Photograph: Some of the HRMI team at our recent staff retreat in Wellington, New Zealand: Jay Stewart, Thalia Kehoe Rowden, Chad Clay, Tilomai Solia-O'Hara, Susan Randolph, Anne-Marie Brook, Shaan Badenhorst, Catherine Chong.

The HRMI team has welcomed several new staff members recently, in New Zealand and the United States.

Catherine Chong is our new Survey Engagement and Operations Lead, and has already made an enormous difference to the team with her speed, initiative, and all-round excellence. She is working hard on getting the 2020 survey ready, and getting to know Ambassadors and other partners around the world. Please get in touch with her if you have any questions about the expert survey, at

Tilomai Solia-O'Hara has joined the team as our Pacific Engagement Lead. She has a strong commitment to serving Pacific peoples, and is doing a great job at building our team throughout the region. If you are interested in getting involved in our Pacific regional work, please contact her at

Shaan Badenhorst, a research analyst at Motu, the public policy research institution that hosts HRMI in New Zealand, has joined the economic and social rights team, working with co-founder Susan Randolph and her husband Jay Stewart, based in the US, to produce annual updates and help fill in data gaps. 

Congratulations go to HRMI co-founder Chad Clay, who has been appointed the new director of GLOBIS, the Center for the Study of Global Issues, at the University of Georgia.

Our UGA-based team continues to expand, and now includes UGA students Morgan Barney, Meridith Lavelle, and Mennah Abdelwahab, who are already making a real difference to the expert survey work.
Getting ready for 2020
Our annual human rights expert survey goes out around the world in February each year. We are already well into the annual cycle of getting ready for it.

The University of Georgia-based team is working hard right now on improving the draft survey based on our user testing at the Pacific workshop. When that's finished, it will be tested and adjusted again before going to be translated by Translators Without Borders into around 10 languages.

In the meantime, Catherine heads up the process of supporting country Ambassadors to help find human rights experts to contribute their knowledge. 

We're also working on finalising which countries will receive the survey in 2020. We have 19 countries already in the sample, and will be adding up to 20 Pacific countries and territories, depending on how many local Ambassadors we can find. We also hope to add a few more countries, dependent on funding. If you have ideas of who might like to sponsor the expansion of our research, perhaps into a group of neighbouring countries, please get in touch with Anne-Marie or Catherine:;
Have you checked out our new data viz yet?
Have you had a look at our brand-new data portal yet? It contains all our human rights data, and everything is freely available for use under a Creative Commons license.
A reminder of some of the new features you can now enjoy:
  • Three rights categories: As well as the 12 rights we have scores for, we have also sorted them into just three categories of rights: Empowerment, Safety from the State, and Quality of Life. 
  • Country narratives: some people like graphs, and some prefer words. We now give you both: clear, crisp graphs that are easy to read, and narratives alongside them that explain what they mean.
  • Simpler charts: we have moved away from our radar charts in favour of much simpler bar charts, to make sure everyone can use them. Please tell us what you think!
  • Larger fonts: Our new data viz will be easier to read in lots of ways.
  • More information on people at risk: It will now be easier to see which people are at particular risk of rights violations, and we're now including more detail for each country, as well as the generic categories.
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Four languages: you can now explore the data in French, Spanish, or Portuguese, as well as English.
We are continually updating and refining the data portal, and welcome your feedback. Please let us know what you like, what you think is missing, and anything else you'd like to see changed or added. 

Explore the data portal now!
A plan for new women’s rights metrics
A reminder that we have a plan to create a brand-new suite of women’s rights metrics. Can you help?
Now that we have successfully pioneered human rights data collection for 12 core human rights, we want to expand in three directions:
  • cover more countries
  • cover more rights
  • provide more detail on scores, like disaggregating by sex and race.
We have a 1-page proposal to develop metrics that focus on the rights of women and girls. 

We are looking for both funding and a lead researcher (in either order) to kick off this work. We envisage the lead researcher being an academic who is doing research on women’s rights and interested in measurement. Please get in touch if you have ideas!
Here’s a link to a short video featuring four human rights defenders who are friends of HRMI, talking about the need for better data in their work for women (content warning for discussion of sexual violence). Might you be able to you share it around your networks?

Pass it on!
Do you know someone working in human rights, advocacy, media or government who could get good use out of our data? Please tell them about us!

If there's anything we can do to help you spread the word, please get in touch with our communications lead, Thalia, on

Human Rights Measurement Initiative
Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Level 1, 97 Cuba St
PO Box 24390
New Zealand

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