Human Rights in the Post-Communist World: Strategies and Outcomes

Human Rights in the Post-Communist World: Strategies and Outcomes Lecture Series

Harriman Institute 2010-2011 Core Project 

Principal investigators: Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder 

The post-communist region offers a wealth of experience for assessing effectiveness of different strategies for advancing human rights. Rights are flourishing as never before in some parts of the post-communist world. In other post-communist regions, however, assassinations of investigative journalists, political imprisonments, torture, stolen elections, and the dismantling of NGO networks demanding accountability have become routine elements of post-communist rule. Our project will ask how these variations are measured, what causes the variations, and what strategies have proven effective—and ineffective—in advancing human rights.

In one part of the core project, academic experts and human rights practitioners will debate the track record of various “theories of change” and their applicability to rights promotion among the post-communist states and world-wide. Another part of the project will examine how indices of human rights outcomes and ratings of human rights performance are constructed—who does this, how they acquire the status of authorities, what the consequences are of the rating enterprise, and how ratings and databases can be improved. Link to website.