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Data Resources for Global Human Rights (POLS 317): Human Rights Data Sources

Human Rights Data Sources

Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
Penn State's Association of Religion Data Archive contains many datasets pertaining to religion, such as surveys on topics such as the public's religious attitudes and practices, surveys of church leaders, and studies on the provision of social services by individual congregations. Among its holdings is a collection of data coding individual countries with regard to restrictions on religious organizations and practices, coded from State Department reports and other sources. ARDA also hosts data collected by the Religion and State (RAS) Project on treatment of religious minorities and other state policies related to religion. Other RAS data are available via

Cingranelli and Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset
The CIRI Human Rights Dataset contains data on government practices with regard to human rights, including variables on torture, religious freedom, "disappearances," and workers' rights. The data cover the years 1981-2011. The data are coded from the contents of human rights reports from Amnesty International and from the State Department.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
The Committee to Protect Journalists monitors killings of journalists throughout the world and maintains a list of murdered journalists that records where they were killed, the topic they covered, and whether anyone was punished for their deaths.

Freedom House
Freedom House's annual Freedom in the World reports score countries on a 1-7 scale for both politcal rights and civil liberties. Users can download Freedom Houses' annual rankings via an Excel file with data going back to 1972. Freedom House also produces annual reports on press freedom, internet censorship, women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa, and political liberalization in post-communist countries in Europe and Central Asia.

Global Media Freedom Dataset, 1948-2014
The Global Media Freedom Dataset codes press freedom in different countries - free, imperfectly free, or not free. The data are akin to the press freedom reports produced by Freedom House.

Human Rights Scores
As with other human rights data collections, the Human Rights Scores project uses reports from the State Department and Amnesty International to construct measures of both protection of human rights and dependence among types of human rights. Data from the project are available at

Ill-Treatment & Torture (ITT) Data Collection Project
To quote the project site, "The ITT Project measures allegations of states' violations of the Convention Against Torture published by Amnesty International (AI) during the years 1995 to 2005. The data come in two basic units of observations: the Country-Year and the Specific Allegation."

Political Terror Scale (PTS)
Mark Gibney at UNC-Asheville has created a 5-point "political terror scale" that codes countries on the extent of political violence (e.g. imprisonment, torture, killings), based on reports from Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department, and Human Rights Watch. The data cover the years 1976-2015 and have recently been supplemented with data on political violence committed by non-state actors. The data are available for downloading.

Transitional Justice Research Collaborative
The Transitional Justice Research Collaborative has compiled a database that "presents data on three primary transitional justice mechanisms — human rights prosecutions, truth commissions, and amnesties — for 109 democratic transitions in 86 countries around the world, from 1970-2012."

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