Monday, March 6, 2017

Former Humphrey Fellow Mathews on UMN team, article on economic & social rights

From Humphrey School Prof. James Ron: "Last year, a group of U Minn students studied human rights and budget analysis as part of the 2016 cycle of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Collaboration Project.

An edited version of their analysis for HRW has just appeared in the Journal of Human Rights Practice, and is attached to this email. An earlier summary of their work appeared in openGlobalRights.

Congratulations to former law student, Megan Manion; former Humphrey Fellow, Thandi Mathews; current political science doctoral student, Robert Ralston; and former master’s student in comparative international education, Ian Allen.

This year, students are working on a variety of HRW-related projects, and will be presenting their work in New York in May 2017; next year, students will work with myself, Prof. Howard Lavine (political science), Prof. David Crow (CIDE), and HRW on a representative poll of the US population."

Economic and Social Rights: Where the Rubber of International Commitment Meets
the Road of Government Policy
Megan Manion, Robert Ralston, Thandi Matthews, and Ian Allen
University of Minnesota  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99ebkG0WZZQX0Y3RnMtV1M3V01OSDZDVnhVOElhNmFlN1M4/view?usp=sharing

Abstract
This policy and practice note investigates budget analysis as a potential method for
human rights practitioners to adopt and implement in their ongoing work. It uses expert
interviews, detailed reviews of prior budget analyses, and academic literature to
identify the strengths and weaknesses of budget analysis as a method. Budget analysis
is a powerful tool for human rights activists. Budgets represent a key piece of evidence
for practitioners to hold governments accountable to their obligations to increasingly
and effectively generate, allocate, and expend resources for economic and
social rights-related programmes. However, there are important issues to consider before
conducting a budget analysis, including available expertise and institutional interest
in investment, the ability to monitor state allocation over time, and how to work
closely with governments. There are also clear limitations to budget analysis as a
method, including lack of credible and accessible data, its effectiveness as a monitoring
mechanism, and how it can further entrench the assumption that economic and
social rights are not on an equal footing with civil and political rights. Despite these
issues and limitations, budget analysis should be considered an important, and viable,
method for practitioners to consider using in their advocacy efforts. 
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