Transparency, Accessibility, and the Completeness of Amnesty International Human Rights Records

Open Access
Author:
Biek, Megan A
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christopher Jennings Fariss, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • human rights
  • Amnesty International
  • transparency
  • accessibility
Abstract:
Human rights scholars have explored measurement challenges that impede accurate human rights measurement. They assert that those commit human rights violations often take measures to hide the atrocities, leaving information gaps in human rights records. In this article, I argue that the completeness of human rights records is a function of the transparency and accessibility of a given government. By testing government transparency data and Amnesty International access against the completeness of 24 years of Amnesty International Country Reports, I illustrate the effect that the concepts of transparency and accessibility have on the completeness of human rights records. I hypothesize that as the independent variables of transparency and accessibility improve, the completeness of human rights records increases because the information production process is more effective when access and observation are not inhibited. Additionally, three measures of completeness are utilized to measure this complicated concept. This finding likely holds important implications for human rights scholars and monitoring agencies seeking more complete human rights information.