2015 was declared the “international year of evaluation”. Human rights organisations face a difficult dilemma with regards to evaluation and impact assessment of their work. Although it is required and demanded by most donors, existing tools and methods are mostly unfit for human rights work. Challenges are plentiful: positive results in human rights normally relate to social change, for which linear and causal relationships provide no suitable explanations. Attribution of results to specific interventions is problematic, and human rights change is difficult to measure. In this debate, we explore some of the different tools and methods used for evaluating human rights, the pros and cons of how rights work is evaluated, as well as the budding methods and opportunities in this relatively unexplored field.
Collaborating Editor: Vincent Ploton, director of UN treaty body advocacy at the International Service for Human Rights