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CFR Interactive Evaluates Efforts to Protect Human Rights Worldwide

February 23, 2012

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The international human rights regime has made critical strides in the struggle to prevent atrocities and to hold leaders accountable for them, according to a new component of the Global Governance Monitor, a multimedia resource from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Yet, the regime still falls short in many crucial areas, says the guide, which was recently awarded the Telly Awards' highest honor.

Produced by CFR's International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program, the interactive guide tracks progress on the protection of human rights around the world:

Legal protection: While myriad treaties and agreements have enshrined human rights on the international community's agenda, they lack binding clauses to ensure that action matches rhetoric, and important violators have not signed on.

—Capacity building: For nations that have the will but lack the means to protect human rights, capacity building remains underemphasized—primarily due to high costs and the difficulty of measuring success. "On balance, it remains far easier, and less costly, for the international community to condemn, expose, or shame human rights abusers rather than provide material aid for human rights capacity building."

Response to atrocities: "A number of regional and country-specific courts, as well as the International Criminal Court, provide potential models for ending impunity. However, these courts have unevenly prosecuted violators of human rights, and have been criticized for focusing on some abuses or regions while ignoring others."

Women's and children's rights: The rights of women have advanced incrementally. But even as UN members have more assertively pressured nations to protect women's rights, implementation has lagged. So too have children's rights been unevenly protected in reality, though awareness and official standards for their rights have expanded.

First launched in 2009, the Global Governance Monitor uses images, video, text, and interactive maps to track multilateral efforts to address global challenges. The guide's seven other components assess the nonproliferation, finance, oceans governance, climate change, conflict prevention, public health, and counterterrorism regimes. A future component is planned for transnational crime.

Like those before it, the human rights component includes:

—A brief video explaining the state human rights worldwide

—A graphic timeline tracing the history of the regime, from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 through the present

—An issue brief on the regime's strengths and weaknesses, and steps the United States should take to address gaps

—A matrix evaluating the scope and mandate of all the major institutions and initiatives related to human rights

—An interactive map detailing flashpoints around the world, including the struggle for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, political repression in Myanmar, torture at Guantánamo Bay

—A list of resources, including essential documents, recent articles, and CFR experts on the subject

View the new component at: www.cfr.org/humanrightsmonitor All of the monitor's components can be found at: www.cfr.org/ggmonitor.

Produced in collaboration with MediaStorm, the feature is made possible by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation.

More CFR interactives can be found at: www.cfr.org/publication/interactives.html.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

The International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) program at the Council on Foreign Relations aims to identify the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century.

MediaStorm is a production company whose principal aim is to usher in the next generation of multimedia storytelling by publishing social documentary projects incorporating photojournalism, interactivity, animation, audio and video for distribution across multiple media.