In spite of positive developments in the last 60 years, the worldwide promotion and protection of economic and social rights remains a daunting challenge. While millions of people are deprived of clean water, primary health care and basic education, most states do not recognize economic and social rights as more than abstract declarations of principles. Also, governments and international organizations usually tackle these questions exclusively as development challenges, ignoring their relation to human rights obligations. In this article, there is an initial attempt to set out a methodological framework to illustrate how some simple quantitative methods can be used in concrete situations to assess whether a state is violating its human rights obligations. Quantitative tools can help us, as human rights advocates, not only to persuasively show the scope and magnitude of various forms of rights denial, but also in revealing and challenging policy failures that contribute to the perpetuation of those deprivations and inequalities.
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