Indices, Benchmarks, and Indicators: Planning and Evaluating Human Rights Dialogues

Anna Würth, Frauke Lisa Seidensticker, German Institute for Human Rights, 2005. Available as pdf

“In September 2001, the Swiss Government accepted a postulate by the Commission for Foreign Policy of the Federal Parliament. The postulate asked the government to develop the instrument of human rights dialogues within the human rights foreign policy. In 2004, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued an internal briefing paper for this policy. To further develop the instrument, the Human Rights Policy Section of the DFA asked the German Institute for Human Rights in early 2005 to elaborate a study on this comparably recent instrument of foreign policy with special attention to measurement of impact.

A commitment to the universal validity of human rights does not lead to a predetermined, uniform pattern of bilateral human rights policy towards all countries. A different approach is possible and necessary: Depending on the context of the respective country, the implementation of human rights concerns requires a set of instruments that follows different goals and strategies and sets different thematic priorities. In my opinion, this applies for human rights dialogues as well.

The present study elaborates the instrument of the institutionalized or formalized human rights dialogue. It focuses on the measurement of impact of human rights dialogues, an area that has not yet received sufficient attention. For states conducting human rights dialogues the study contains valuable recommendations for the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of future dialogues”

1  Impact of Human Rights Norms  . . . . . . . . . 1
2 Planning Human Rights Dialogues  . . . . . . . . 16
3 Measuring Impact: Forms and Methods  . . . . 21
4 The Practice of Impact Assessment  . . . . . . . . 27
5 Recommendations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39


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