Topic 3.1 – Module 1 – What is Monitoring?

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Definition of Monitoring

In technical terms, monitoring is the active collection, verification, and immediate use of information to address human rights problems. Human rights monitoring includes gathering information about situations, observing events, visiting sites, holding discussions with government authorities to obtain information, and pursuing remedies.
Illustration of a figure holding a large magnfiying glass
In less complicated language monitoring is:

  • Finding out what is going on
  • Fact-finding
  • Uncovering information
  • Collecting data
  • Using indicators to measure progress
  • Measuring progress towards justice for people with disabilities

DRPI’s approach is to look at issues that matter to persons with disabilities and that impact their human rights. We want to develop the best possible evidence to support the move towards persons with disabilities achieving their rights.

Monitoring Disability Rights

Below are key ways that DRPI tracks or monitors disability rights.

Tracking/Monitoring Individual Experiences

  • Through interviews or focus groups, stories are collected about when persons with disabilities have faced barriers and challenges. People are asked to tell their own story about when they have been left out, treated badly or prevented from participating because of their disability. These stories give us information about the real human rights situation faced by persons disabilities.People participating in a DRPI workshop
  • Sometimes, persons with disabilities do not think it will make a difference to report the mistreatment or exclusion they experience. Sometimes people may fear that they will face more abuse if they tell about these things. The reality is that documenting and reporting individual cases of mistreatment and abuse that happens both out in society and within the family and other private settings, is important because it raises awareness and can lead to changing those conditions. The information may also uncover what is really going on and make it difficult for governments to claim that rights are being respected when they are not.

Tracking/Monitoring Systems

  • Laws and policies are reviewed and measured against United Nations standards to see whether they meet a country’s obligations “to respect, protect and promote” human rights. Since laws and policies can appear to protect human rights but be used in ways that create inequality and violate the human rights of persons with disabilities, the ways in which laws operate is carefully reviewed and recorded.Logo of the UN with the text "Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities"
  • Legal cases and decisions are sometimes just as important as the written laws and regulations of a country when promoting human rights. A law can say one thing but be interpreted by courts and tribunals in a different way, making a big difference in the exercise of rights by individuals and groups.
  • Government programs, services and practices often have a large impact on the daily lives of persons with disabilities. Documenting programs, services and practices that violate human rights — either directly or indirectly — provides evidence for the need to make changes.

Tracking/Monitoring Attitudes

  • Societal attitudes and public opinion have an important impact on the Photo of a busy city street with the words "Public opinion monitor"way in which the public thinks about disability. One way of finding out about attitudes is to look at the media, which both reflects and plays an important role in influencing public opinion and the ability to exercise human rights. Media plays a large part in how people around the world think about persons with disabilities and about disability issues generally.
  • Monitoring social attitudes includes looking at and finding patterns in the way that disability is described and covered in print, broadcast and internet-based media to uncover social attitudes about disability and persons with disabilities. This information is then used to better understand why the public tends to discriminate against individuals with disabilities and how they think that people with disabilities are unable to be included in society. It gives information that can be used to combat negative stereotypes and prejudice and to provide positive knowledge ot the public about disability.
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