Monitoring means the close observation of a situation or individual case carried out so as to determine what further action needs to be taken. The following elements constitute monitoring:

  • It is carried out over an extended period of time.
  • It involves collecting or receiving a large quantity of data. 
  • Close observation of the situation is done through constant or periodic examination or investigation and documentation of developments. 
  • Standards or norms are used as reference in objectively assessing the situation or case in question, especially in determining what is wrong with it. 
  • Tools or instruments are used in identifying how the situation compares with established standards or norms. 
  • The product of monitoring is usually a report about the situation. 
  • The report embodies an assessment of the situation which provides a basis for further action.

Human rights monitoring can have the following particular purposes:

  •  to assist governments in applying international standards;
  • to be able to pressure governments into adopting and implementing international standards; 
  • to be able to undertake domestic legal actions like taking cases to court; 
  • to be able to undertake other actions like denunciations and publicity campaigns, with the goal of bearing pressure on the government and/or to enhance public awareness 
  • to be able to help particular victims; and 
  • to be able to provide early warning in potential conflict areas.

To read more on Monitoring, please refer to the HURIDOCS book on What is Monitoring?