HUMAN rights, CHECKS ON GOVERNMENT POWERS WEAKENED worldwide
More Countries Declined Than Improved in 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index
WASHINGTON, DC (31 January 2018) – The World Justice Project (WJP) today released the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index® which measures rule of law adherence in 113 countries worldwide based on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys. Featuring primary data, the WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.
Since the publication of the last WJP Rule of Law Index in October 2016, a majority of countries worldwide saw their scores decline in the areas of human rights, checks on government powers, and civil and criminal justice.
The greatest decline was seen in Factor 4, Fundamental Rights (71 countries dropped out of 113), which measures absence of discrimination, right to life and security, due process, freedom of expression and religion, right to privacy, freedom of association, and labor rights. The second greatest decline was seen in Factor 1, Constraints on Government Powers (64 countries dropped out of 113), which measures the extent to which those who govern are bound by law.
In addition, more countries’ overall rule of law score declined (34%) than improved (29%) as compared to their 2016 Index scores—a troubling trend. Thirty-seven percent of countries’ overall rule of law score remained the same.
“We are witnessing a global deterioration in fundamental aspects of the rule of law,” said William H. Neukom, WJP founder and CEO. “Reduced adherence to the rule of law anywhere threatens development everywhere.”
The biggest mover in this year’s WJP Rule of Law Index (calculated by comparing countries against the 2016 rankings) was the Philippines, which fell 18 positions, now ranking 88th out of 113 countries overall and 13th out of 15 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. The Philippines saw the most significant drops in Constraints on Government Powers, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, and Criminal Justice. In contrast, Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, and Sri Lanka showed the biggest improvements in overall rank, each of whom improved by nine positions over their 2016 overall rule of law ranking.
The top three overall performers in the 2017-2018 WJP Rule of Law Index were Denmark (1), Norway (2), and Finland (3); the bottom three were Afghanistan (111), Cambodia (112), and Venezuela (113). The top three and bottom three performing countries have not changed since the 2016 Index.
Countries leading their regions in overall rule of law scores included: Nepal (South Asia), Georgia (Eastern Europe and Central Asia); Ghana (Sub-Saharan Africa); Uruguay (Latin America and the Caribbean); United Arab Emirates (Middle East and North Africa); New Zealand (East Asia and Pacific), and Denmark (Western Europe and North America, defined as EU + EFTA + North America).
The WJP Rule of Law Index® is the world’s leading source for original data on the rule of law. The Index relies on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys to measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived in practical, everyday situations by the general public worldwide. Performance is measured using 44 indicators across eight primary rule of law factors, each of which is scored and ranked globally and against regional and income peers: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.
“Effective rule of law is the foundation for communities of equity, opportunity, and peace,” said William H. Neukom, WJP founder and CEO. “No country has achieved a perfect realization of the rule of law. The WJP Rule of Law Index is intended to be a first step in setting benchmarks, informing reforms, stimulating programs, and deepening appreciation and understanding for the foundational importance of the rule of law.”
The complete 2017-2018 report—including country profiles, data visualizations, methodology, and download options—is available on January 31 at: www.worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index
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The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide. Effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and disease, and protects people from injustices large and small. It is the foundation for communities of equity, opportunity, and peace—underpinning development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights. Learn more at: www.worldjusticeproject.org
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