Isolated incidents or troubling pattern? The power of human rights data to strengthen human rights narratives

Mennah N. Abdelwahab, Dr. K. Chad Clay, Department of International Affairs, University of Georgia Candler Hall, 202 Herty Dr, Athens, GA 30602

How do human rights data, human rights narratives, or combinations of both affect individuals’ willingness to act in response to human rights violations? Informing the populace of human rights violations plays a vital role in motivating action to address such violations. In the past several decades, information campaigns have succeeded in mobilizing individuals across the globe to demand change and creating domestic and international pressure that has led states to change their behavior. However, there are still far too many examples of times where these campaigns, primarily based on human rights narratives, have failed. On the other hand, comprehensive human rights data have only recently started being used in advocacy efforts, with some literature arguing that data can help improve the efficacy of narratives and vice-versa. Human rights data can be particularly useful for contextualizing single instances of human rights violations into a larger pattern of a state's behavior. This contextualization can assist individuals in recognizing the significance of a single violation of human rights. To test the proposition, we utilize a survey experiment that presents qualitative and quantitative human rights information to participants and determines what combination is most effective at motivating them to be concerned about or take action regarding human rights violations. The results of our research will assist both domestic and international human rights-centered non-governmental organizations in creating the most effective information campaigns. In helping create such campaigns, our research will increase individuals’ human rights literacy and their desire to advocate for human rights. Such changes will, in turn, promote greater respect for human rights and assist individuals in holding their governments accountable.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Mennah Abdelwahab

Institution: University of Georgia

Type: Poster

Subject: Political Science

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6515