Human rights often feel like abstract concepts. To get a fuller understanding of how they are defended or violated in the real world, case studies are very useful. Through research and specific processes, case studies provide an in-depth look at individuals, groups, or situations over a certain period. Here are five websites where you can find human rights case studies:
BSR is a global nonprofit organization with a network of 250 member companies and other partners. Their mission is to develop sustainable business solutions and strategies through consultation, research, and collaboration. They work with international companies, government agencies, and NGOs.
On their website, they have many case studies on a variety of topics, including human rights. Many of the other topics overlap with human rights issues, such as climate change, healthcare, ethics and governance, and women’s empowerment. Human rights case studies include a collaboration between Kering (Kering Eyewear, Gucci, etc) and BSR on the status of women working in the Italian luxury supply chain.
The UNESDOC Digital Library is an important element for the realization of UNESCO’s mission. The library gives access to documents, publications, and other materials either produced by UNESCO or relevant to UNESCO. That includes materials in education, natural sciences, social sciences, communication, and more. There are more than 350,000 documents dating back to 1945. In addition to the online library, there is a physical library and archives room.
By searching “human rights case studies” in the UNESDOC Digital Library, a variety of results come up. Some of these include global case studies on the impact of technology on human rights (published in 1993) and a document with case studies on human rights and encryption (published in 2016). There’s also a casebook on human dignity and human rights from 2011 that contains 30 case studies.
The goal of this Knowledge Hub is to provide resources and tools for companies working in challenging environments. These companies deal with complex challenges. Many of them affect the human rights of local communities and threaten the safety and security of operations and staff. There have been many policy frameworks, documents, and tools created to help companies deal with these issues, but they are rarely shared widely. The Hub’s purpose is to bring these tools together.
The case studies section offers examples of companies around the world enacting good practices in dealing with security and human rights challenges. Case studies come from places like Columbia, Cameroon, the DRC, and Iraq.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain. It was first established by the Equality Act in 2006. Its goal is to “make Britain fairer” by serving as an expert organization and point of contact for public bodies, businesses, and policymakers.
Their selection of case studies is organized into topics like “Youth Cases,” “Balancing Human Rights,” and “How Human Rights Benefit Children and Young People’s Lives.” Many of the cases are presented within the context of human rights like the right to fair trial and protection from harm.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is a group of 13 trustees and 58 staff committed to advancing human rights in business. They track the human rights policy and performance of more than 9,000 companies in over 180 countries. The Centre focuses on positively impacting the lives of vulnerable people, collaborating with partners, and remaining objective.
In their case studies portal, the Centre has compiled cases that involve community-driven actions in response to business activities. You can search by business sector (agricultural, energy, sugar, etc) and human rights issues (child labor, access to water, education, etc). You can also search by country/region or tools (how to: monitor impacts, access impacts, etc).
The BBC World Service Trust Project is a global education project. Using events, debates, and multi-lingual radio programs, the project seeks to educate individuals about their rights. For many years, they’ve used media solutions to spread awareness about poverty and human rights in areas like Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Their website is called “I have a right to…”
On this website, you can find case studies from around the world on topics like freedom and equality, justice before the law, and freedom of expression. Each of the studies correlates to an article from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, the case study on privacy and the internet in the UK refers to Article 12, which is the right to privacy in the home, family, and correspondence.
Also consider reading our article about Resources to Research Human Rights Cases.