Measurement & Human Rights



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STAT-COM: States Compliance with International Human Rights Bodies

Measuring attainability' of UN and regional human rights bodies recommendations

The international protection of human rights at the United Nations and in regional human rights bodies represents a major step forward in the protection and promotion of human rights on the international, regional and domestic levels. 

Despite an increased demand and burden on these institutions, however, there are very few instruments to monitor states’ compliance  with the recommendations and rulings handed down by the UN treaty bodies, UN special rapporteurs and regional human rights tribunals. 

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that states, not the international human rights bodies, are responsible for implementing the organizations’ judgments. The lack of such compliance information and oversight leads to the perception that international human rights institutions are paper tigers.

Measuring compliance is the most powerful tool to support the execution of these institutions' recommendations and judgments on the domestic level and facilitate the tribunals’ goal of providing redress for past abuses and establishing stronger human rights protections in the future.


The compliance process starts with the human rights bodies’ recommendations and rulings. As such, StatCom's goal is to facilitate a constructive dialogue about the attainability of the human rights bodies’ recommendations. In particular, we seek to understand how states receive international human rights bodies’ recommendations, the challenges they face in implementing them and the successes they have had in attaining the goals set out by the human rights bodies. Through a multi-method approach, comprised of case studies, surveys and statistical analyses, our goal is to produce an indicator of 'recommendation attainability' that states and the human rights bodies can parlay into more effective recommendation and compliance practices.


This activity brings together the research conducted by MHR associate research fellow Courtney Hillebrecht on international human rights courts, the work done with Colette van der Ven at the Carr Center on measuring compliance to UN special procedures, and Maria Eugenia Munaretto's current work at The Fletcher School on UN treaty bodies