The Human Rights and Rule of Law Indicator considers the relationship between the state and its population insofar as fundamental human rights are protected and freedoms are observed and respected. The Indicator looks at whether there is widespread abuse of legal, political and social rights, including those of individuals, groups and institutions (e.g. harassment of the press, politicization of the judiciary, internal use of military for political ends, repression of political opponents). The Indicator also considers outbreaks of politically inspired (as opposed to criminal) violence perpetrated against civilians. It also looks at factors such as denial of due process consistent with international norms and practices for political prisoners or dissidents, and whether there is current or emerging authoritarian, dictatorial or military rule in which constitutional and democratic institutions and processes are suspended or manipulated.

Questions to consider may include*:

Civil and Political Rights

  • Rights: Do communal, labor, political, and/or minority rights exist and are they protected?
  • Civil Rights: Are there civil rights laws and are civil rights protected?
  • Right to Life: Is the right to life protected for all citizens?

Civil and Political Freedoms

  • Freedom of Speech: Are there laws protecting freedom of speech?
  • Freedom of Movement: Is there freedom of movement?
  • Freedom of Religion: Does religious freedom exist? Does religious extremism exist?

Violation of Rights

  • Systemic Violation of Rights: Is there a history of systemic violation of rights by the government or entity therein?
  • Torture: Are there reports of state- or group-sponsored torture?
  • Forced Labor: Are there labor laws or reports of forced labor?
  • Child Labor: Are there child labor laws or reports of child labor?
  • Forced Relocation: Are groups forced to relocate? If relocation occurs, is there a system ensuring proper compensation?


  • Existence of Independent Media: Does it exist? Do its reporters feel free to publish accusations against those in power?
  • Access to Information: Is there equal access to information?


  • Legal System: If rights are not protected, is there a legal system in which that can be addressed?
  • Fair Trials: Do accused receive a fair and timely trial? Is this equal for all?
  • Arbitrary Arrests: Are there accusations or reports of arbitrary arrests? Are these state-sponsored?
  • Illegal Detention: Are there accusations or reports of illegal detention? Are these state-sponsored?
  • Prison Conditions: How are the prison conditions?


  • Power Sharing: Is there a process and system that encourages political power sharing?


* Indicator descriptions are not exhaustive, and are intended only as an entry point for further interpretive analysis by the user.