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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. There is a growing effort to quantify and track trends in human rights. The reliance on large, international indicators, including global indexes and national human rights report cards, is increasing as part of international development assistance and human rights monitoring. This article explores the limitations of mainstream human rights indicators, particularly in the developing world, arguing that many of these approaches overlook local realities. An alternative strategy for designing bottom-up human rights indicators is offered drawing on the experience of constructing the Uhakiki Human Rights Index in Tanzania. The challenges of developing an appropriate and feasible methodology in complex environments is discussed, particularly given that with bottom-up indicators, what works in one situation might not necessarily be transferrable to another context.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Human Rights

Publication Date





1378 - 1394