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The concept of access to justice and the problem of empirical indicators

Grant number: 10/10631-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2011
Effective date (End): May 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Mariana Thorstensen Possas
Grantee:Silvana Monteiro da Silva
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The advent of democracy didn't mean the guarantee of the fundamental rights in Brazil. Human rights violations persist in the Brazilian democratic context, including those perpetrated by the State, such as the police violence cases. This situation leaves room for questioning the "quality" of Brazilian democracy, to the extent that access to human rights is considered a prerequisite for the existence of a "good" democracy (Diamond e Morlino, 2004). In this context, one of the activities at NEV/USP is the monitoring of human rights violations, of which the National Human Rights Report is part. The purpose of the Report is to observe the achievement degree of fundamental rights in all states of the federation. Among the various rights reviewed, this research will address specifically the treatment given by the Reports to the right of access to justice. Given the particular importance of the right of access to justice to ensure the protection of other fundamental rights and for the existence of a "good" democracy, the objective of this research proposal is to identify different ways of representing this right in the literature and its translation into empirical indicators. For this purpose a literature review on the subject "access to justice" will be conducted. The focus of the review will be the literature on human rights that makes contributions to the debate on the concept. In a second step, based on the literature, the empirical indicators that monitor access to justice used in the National Human Rights Report (NEV/USP) so far will be reviewed and critically appreciated. This exercise should result/enable, in the future, the introduction of changes and improvements in data collection when it comes to access to justice. (AU)

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