The Human Rights Perception Polls

The Human Rights Perception Polls are a unique, multi-region survey of public opinion towards human rights issues, policies and organizations. With support from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science; CIDE, a Mexican university; and the Open Society Foundation’s Human Rights Initiative, we have conducted, or are planning to conduct, the following surveys:

  • India: 1680 respondents, representing the adult population of Mumbai and its rural environs, in 2012-13;
  • Mexico: 2400 respondents each in 2012 and 2014, representing the entire adult Mexican population, followed by a poll of 960 respondents  representing Mexico City’s adult population in 2016;
  • Morocco: 1100 respondents, representing the adult populations of Rabat, Casablanca, and their rural environs, in 2012;
  • Nigeria: 1000 respondents, representing the adult population of Lagos and its rural environs, in 2014;
  • Colombia: 960 respondents, representing the adult population of Bogota, summer 2017.
  • United States: 3,000 respondents, representing the adult population of the USA, scheduled for early 2017/18

In addition, CIDE‘s partners at the Americas and the World consortium inserted Human Rights Perception Poll questions into their own national surveys of:

  • Colombia: 1699 respondents, representing all adult Colombians, in 2013;
  • Ecuador: 1503 respondents, representing all adult Ecuadorians, in 2013.

These countries vary in multiple ways, but all have vibrant human rights-related NGO sectors. The Human Rights Perception Polls help us identify the characteristics of human rights supporters and skeptics; understand the publics’ interpretation of the phrase, “human rights”; assess public views of foreign and local funding for domestic NGOs; and trace the correlates of trust in rights-based organizations.

The Human Rights Perception Polls codebook is available online here. Please contact James Ron at jamesr@umn.edu if you wish to work with the  data.

Select Cross-National Findings

 

 

Publications Based on the Human Rights Perception Poll Data

Brief Articles

CROW D., J. KAIRE & J. RON (2017, May 4). “Monetizing the Human Rights ‘Brand.'” openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in Spanish.

RON J., D. CROW & J. KAIRE (2017, February 15). . “Ordinary People Will Pay for Rights. We Asked Them.” openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in Spanish.

RON, J. & D. CROW. (2016, November 29 & December 19.) Human Rights Groups Are Secretly U.S. Agents. True or False? Washington Post and openGlobalRight/openDemocracy. Available also in Spanish & Arabic.

RON, J. (2016, September 6). Earning the Trust of Human Rights Supporters. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in Spanish. 

TOUHTOU, R., J. RON & S. GOLDEN. (2015, July 28). For Moroccan Rights Groups, Good Intentions Aren’t Enough. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in French & Arabic.

EL HAITAMI, M., S. GOLDEN & J. RON.  (2015, July 7). Partners in Prayer: Women’s Rights & Religion in Morocco. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in French & Arabic.

CROW, D. (2015, July 1). Mapping Human Rights Skepticism in Mexico. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in Spanish.

RON, J., S. GOLDEN, D. CROW & A. PANDYA. (2015, June 29). Data-Driven Optimism for Global Rights Activists. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in SpanishFrench &  Arabic.

RON, J. & A. PANDYA. (2013, November 13). Universal Values, Foreign Money: Local Human Rights Organizations in the Global South. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available also in TürkçeEspañolPortuguêsFrançaisעברית ,العربية.

RON, J., D.CROW & S. GOLDEN. (2013, June 18). The Struggle for a Truly Grass Roots Human Rights Movement. openGlobalRights/openDemocracy. Available in EspañolFrançaisالعربية中国语文हिंदीPortuguêsTürkçe.

Audio-Visual Materials

Will Publics Pay to Protect Rights? (June 2017). openGlobalRights/KindeaLabs production. Spanish version. 

RON, J. & K. ABSAR. (2017). U Minnesota presentation. “Strengthening Human Rights Organizations Worldwide.”

RON, J. (2017, May 17). Presentation. “The Human Rights Organizations Project: Rigorous, Evidence-Based Learning for Human Rights Practitioners.” Freedom House, Washington D.C.

RON, J. (2016, July 13). Presentation. “Using Social Science Research To Guide Human Rights Activism.” International Human Rights Funders Group, New York University.

RON, J. (2016, May 24). Podcast: “A Matter of Opinion: What Do We Really Think about Human Rights?” The RightsTrack, Episode #6.

RON, J. (2016, February 4). Presentation. “Public Trust in Human Rights NGOs Amidst Intense Violence.” Watson Institute for International Affairs, Brown University.

Academic Publications

CROW, D. & J. RON. “Do Global Publics View Human Rights Organizations as Handmaidens of U.S. Empire?” Under review at the Journal of Peace Research. 

RON, J. 2017. Special issue of the Journal of Human Rights 16/3: Public Opinion Surveys and Human Rights.

RON, J., S. GOLDEN, D. CROW & A. PANDYA. 2017. Taking Root: Human Rights and Public Opinion in the Global South. Oxford University Press.

PANDYA, A. & J. RON.  2017. “Local Resources for Local Rights? The Mumbai Fundraiser’s Dilemma.”Journal of Human Rights 16/3: 370-387.

CROW, D. 2017. “Rights Trap or Amplifier? Crime and Attitudes Toward Local Human Rights Organizations in Mexico” Journal of Human Rights 16/3: 332-350.

RON, J., A. PANDYA & D. CROW. 2017. “Can Southern Rights Organizations Raise More Money Locally?” Journal of Human Rights Practice. 8/3: 393-405

RON, J., A. PANDYA & D. CROW. 2016. “Universal Values, Foreign Money: Funding Local Human Rights Organizations in the Global South” Review of International Political Economy. 23/1: 29-64

RON, J. & D. CROW. 2015, “Who Trusts Human Rights Organizations? Evidence from Three World Regions.” Human Rights Quarterly. 37/1: 188-239.

RON, J., D. CROW & S. GOLDEN. 2014. “Human Rights Familiarity and Socio-Economic Status: A Four-Country Study.” Sur: International Journal on Human Rights. 11/20: 335-351.

Presentations Decks

RON, J. D. CROW, K. ABSAR & J. KAIRE. 2016. “Will People Pay $$$ for Rights?” Presented on October 27, 2016 at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel.

RON, J., D. CROW & K. ABSAR. 2016.“Local Resources for Local Rights?” Presented on July 13, 2016 at the International Human Rights Funders Group’s 2016 Conference “Seizing Opportunities: Sustaining the Human Rights Movement” in New York, NY.

RON, J. & A. PANDYA. 2014. “Universal Values, Foreign Money: Resourcing Human Rights in the Global South.” Presented on November 14, 2014 at the Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Reports

Will Publics Pay to Protect Rights?

An Experimental Study of Mexico City Inhabitants’ Willingness to Donate to Local Human Rights Organizations and of These Groups’ Ability to Use This Data

In partnership with CIDE and FLACSO-Mexico, we asked a nationally-representative sample of 960 adults in Mexico City about trust in local rights groups, attitudes towards human rights principles and policies, and existing philanthropic habits and preferences. We also conducted two donation experiments, one of which involved real cash. We found trust determines willingness to donate, and that the Mexico City public is more willing to donate than human rights leader believe.

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The Human Rights Sector in Colombia

Evidence from the Public

In partnership with CIDE’s Americas and the World project, we asked a nationally-representative sample of 1,699 adult Colombians what they thought of human rights groups and ideas, and found some cause for optimism. The public often hears about human rights, and many have met human rights workers. Moreover, Colombians tend to think positively about human rights and trust human rights groups.

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The Human Rights Sector in Ecuador

Evidence from the Public

In partnership with CIDE’s  Americas and the World project, we surveyed 1,503 adults in Ecuador about their attitudes towards human rights organizing in their country. Against a backdrop of human rights organizing around indigenous rights and governmental and corporate accountability, most Ecuadorans regarded the idea of human rights positively, though they had only moderate exposure to human rights discourse, or organizing.

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The Human Rights Sector in Mexico

Evidence from Activists, the Public, and Elites

In partnership with CIDE’s Americas and the World project, we interviewed 535 Mexican political, social, and intellectual elites, as well as a nationally representative sample of 2,400 adults. We also interviewed representative samples of local human rights groups in Mexico City and San Cristóbal, Chiapas State. This report summarizes findings from all three surveys. The Mexican human rights sector is heavily dependent on foreign resources, and its activists are fearful that the broader population thinks of human rights workers as “protecting criminals.” Our surveys of elites and the public, however, found much stronger support for Mexican rights groups than expected.

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The Human Rights Sector in Morocco

Evidence from Activists and the Public

The Moroccan human rights sector is an important player in the country’s comparatively peaceful liberalization. To learn more about its resources, capacities, reputation, and prospects, we gathered data in 2011-12 from local human rights organizations (LHROs), and the general public. We began by interviewing a representative sample of 30 local human rights organizations in Rabat and Casablanca. Next, we conducted a representative opinion survey of 1,100 adults in Rabat, Casablanca, and the surrounding rural areas in partnership with the Moroccan survey firm LMS-CSA. Moroccan activists are confident about their sector’s popularity among the general public, but our opinion polls suggests that this view is overly optimistic. This report summarizes findings from both surveys.

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The Human Rights Sector in Mumbai, India

Evidence from Activists and the Public

To learn more about the resources, capacities, reputation, and prospects of the human rights sector in India, we gathered data in 2010-11 from local human rights organizations (LHROs), and the general public. We began by interviewing a representative sample of 30 local human rights organizations in Mumbai. Next, we conducted a representative opinion survey of 1680 adults in Mumbai and rural Maharashtra in partnership with Indian survey firm CVOTER. This report summarizes findings from both surveys.

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The Human Rights Sector in Nigeria

Evidence from Activists and the Public

To learn more about its resources, capacities, reputation, and prospects of the human rights sector in Nigeria, we gathered data in 2014 from local human rights organizations (LHROs), and the general public. We began by interviewing a representative sample of 30 local human rights organizations in Lagos. Next, we conducted a representative opinion survey of 1,000 adults in Lagos, and surrounding rural areas in partnership with a Nigerian survey firm. This report summarizes findings from both surveys.

 Available Winter 2017-18