CIRI Human Rights Project

Research project

The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights dataset is compiled under the supervision of David L. Cingranelli and David L. Richards. The dataset contains standards-based quantitative information on government respect for 13 internationally recognised human rights in most of the countries in the world, and has been used in several studies of human-rights practices, e.g. Cingranelli and Richards (1999).


The CIRI Human Rights Dataset

The CIRI Human Rights Dataset


CIRI Human Rights Project


Excel, CSV




200 countries

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Expert coding. Every unit of analysis is independently coded by at least two trained coders, who meet with senior CIRI staff to resolve any disagreements. The indicators are based on US State Department and Amnesty International reports.

Data download

CIRI Human Rights Dataset


The variables in the CIRI dataset can be grouped in three main categories. The first category contains four variables dealing with violations of physical integrity rights, such as torture and extrajudicial killing. The six variables in the second category deal with other civil rights, e.g. freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and the right to political participation. Finally, three variables cover the political, economic and social rights of women. Note that a few changes has been made in selected variables in the 2007 upgrade version. Changes are listed on the website and in the revised codebook

Geographical coverage

The CIRI database is practically global in scope, covering 200 countries (present and historical).

Time coverage and updates

Years covered: 1981-2007. Note that time coverage is limited for some countries.
Updated annually (normally in August).


Detailed documentation of each variable is available in the coder manual (Cingranelli and Richards 2004), which can be downloaded from the website.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge. Registration required.

Access procedures

The system is easy to use and allows users to individually specify the variables, countries and years that are to be included in the dataset. It is also possible to save downloads in your MyCIRI account for future use.

Data formats

Excel and CSV.

Comparability and data quality

The CIRI database was awarded the Dataset Award by the Comparative Politics section of the American Political Science Association in 2006, indicating that the dataset is a valuable source for human-rights statistics. Several positive aspects can be noted. The database has an extensive geographical and temporal coverage, it is updated regularly, and is well documented, and the component variables are publicly available for other scholars. Weaknesses of the dataset are potential problems concerning the validity of the indicators and variance truncation. All in all, however, the CIRI database appears to be one of the best sources available for quantitative data on human-rights practices. See Chapter 5 in Rydland et al. (2008) for a more detailed discussion of human-rights indicators.


Cingranelli, David L., and David L. Richards. 1999. “Respect for human rights after the end of the cold war”. Journal of Peace Research 36 (5): 511-534.

Cingranelli, David L., and David L. Richards. 2008. The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Data Project Coding Manual Version 2008.3.13.

Rydland, Lars Tore, Sveinung Arnesen and Åse Gilje Østensen. 2008. Contextual data for the European Social Survey. An Overview and assessment of extant resources. NSD Report No.124, Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD).