A number of tools and instruments aim to measure various aspects of human rights. Some rely on qualitative information, others on quantitative indicators; together, these comprise four main categories, namely, statistical data, events-based data, standards-based data and survey-based data. Till now, however, no global index has assessed countries on the full range of human rights and its dimensions.
Attempts to suitably measure the degree to which human rights are upheld throughout the world have encountered numerous practical and conceptual difficulties. Other common measurement challenges include governments’ reluctance to provide accurate information on the human rights situation in their country, the lack of credible data and the inconsistency of data collection over the years.
It is important to keep in mind that sources for assessing a country's human rights situation can be biased. These biases can arise from methodology as well as politics or ideology. For example, methodology can bring about biases by the choice of a limited number of indicators, each with a certain weight, in constructing an index; for example, certain civil and political rights may be weighted as more important than economic and social rights. Indeed, as with other forms of data human rights data can also suffer from gender-blindness. To capture different situations and experiences of women and men, it is essential that indicators be constructed in a gender-sensitive, participatory manner to incorporate perspectives of both women and men and understand if men and women have difficulty achieving different types of human rights, as particularly civil rights are not implemented for women in many contexts.