The National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI)
Data Collection Project
Courtenay R. Conrad (Co-PI, UC Merced)
Jacqueline H.R. DeMeritt (Co-PI, UNT)
Ryan M. Welch (Co-PI, University of Tampa)
Will H. Moore (Co-PI, ASU)
How might Leviathan be restrained? Although states claim a monopoly on coercion within their sovereign territory, various institutions (constitutions, legislations, courts, etc.) exist to constrain state power vis-a-vis their citizens. We explore the effects of a relatively new domestic political institution: the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI). NHRIs are outgrowths of domestic Ombudsman offices and are charged with protecting the human rights of the citizens of the state in and by which they are established. The United Nations, under the Paris Principles, encourages the establishment of NHRIs, as well as the issuance of annual reports of their activities. Yet to our knowledge, there is no empirical research on the activities and effects of NHRIs. With an eye toward filling that lacuna, this project involves content analysis on NHRI annual reports and other sources. In pursuit of improved respect for human rights, we generate descriptive and quantitative data of two types: Institutional Data that record information on the structure, origins, and other characteristics of the population of national NHRIs, and Behavioral Data that record information on NHRI functions and activities.
This project has received support from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced; the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; the Castleberry Peace Institute and the Department of Political Science at the University of North Texas; the Department of Political Science at Florida State University; and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.