The promotion of human rights requires documentation of their abuse. Through research, UNODC promotes human rights by collecting data on and analysing crimes with human rights implications. Biennially, it publishes the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which tracks violations of Article 4 (prohibition of slavery) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants also documents crimes affecting thousands of the most vulnerable. Other work, such as the periodic Global Study on Homicide, reflects on the deprivation of life and violence against women and children. UNODC research on drug problems, such as the World Drug Report, highlights the human rights concerns in the areas of justice, security and health by presenting the vulnerabilities of different population groups that have been affected by the drug problem at different levels. In 2022, UNODC published a research brief to explore how the lived experience of incarcerated individuals can be better integrated into evidence-based policy to support rehabilitation.
Through its annual surveys, UNODC also collects data on criminal justice operations (UN-CTS) and the drug problem (ARQ) that directly impact human rights, including the rights to life, liberty, access to justice and due process. Analysing these data can help to shed light on human rights violations related to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Data are all sex and age disaggregated so that discrimination in the criminal justice system can be properly analysed. National and regional studies on the relationship between crime and development also reflect on the right of all human beings to reach their full potential.
UNODC standards in the field of statistics promote the development of national crime statistical systems able to provide human-rights sensitive information. The International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS), for example, promotes the classification of crime according to a number of disaggregating and qualifying variables, thereby facilitating the identification of vulnerable populations and typologies of crime relevant to understand human rights abuses.
Further examples of knowledge produced by UNODC research at national, regional or global level highlighting human rights concerns include: