Students Staff

22 October 2014

Essex launches new map of global human rights

A leading human rights expert from the University of Essex has launched an update to a unique website that maps global human rights conditions and practices.

The Human Rights Atlas, first launched in 2011, is the most comprehensive tool of its kind, offering students, researchers and practitioners an easy-to-use picture of how human rights are evolving around the world year-by-year.

Thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Atlas is now a multi-lingual website, with data available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Arabic as well as English. The datasets have been updated to include 2012 making it more up-to-date, and the site is now even easier to navigate.

Professor Todd Landman, of Essex’s Human Rights Centre and Department of Government, has led the project. He said: “It’s a one-stop-shop for a wide range of country indicators. There are datasets on country indicators with respect to development and demographics; there are those that collate information on legal commitments and those that collate data on human rights practice. We’ve brought all three of those sources of data together.”

Covering 194 countries from 1981 to 2012, the Atlas can be used to map how human rights practices, and commitments to legal frameworks are developing, whilst also providing snapshots from particular years, for specific countries, based on particular pieces of data.

Professor Landman, who used the Human Rights Atlas as part of a TEDx talk at the University on 21 October 2014, added: “As well as the updates that make the Atlas more user-friendly and freely accessible now, we have also updated the underlying computer code, which means we’ll be able to continue to expand the Atlas and make it even more valuable in the future.”

Led by the University, the Atlas has been developed in collaboration with The Mackman Group, Thomson Reuters, and the Faculty of Social Sciences for Latin America (FLACSO).

Listen to Professor Landman explain his research interests in a series of podcasts recorded by Chris Garrington of Research Podcasts.


More information

For further information, please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or email:

The Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex has pioneered the teaching, research and practice of human rights over the last 30 years. Its 80 academics, from 11 disciplines, advise and act on behalf of governments, NGOs, national and regional human rights bodies, and international organisations such as the UN. In 2010, the Centre helped the University of Essex secure the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its work in advancing global human rights. As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the University will mark the contribution of its human rights researchers with a series of events and activities in March 2015.

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