The World Justice Project (WJP) condemns the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, the latest in a string of killings of Black people in the United States that highlights the persistent challenge of systemic racism in its criminal justice system and society as a whole. As an organization headquartered in the United States, WJP is compelled to address this glaring gap in U.S. rule of law performance.
The United States has struggled since its earliest days to provide equal treatment under the law. In our 2020 WJP Rule of Law Index, the U.S. ranks 88th out of 128 countries for discrimination in the criminal justice system. The .37 score (1 being a perfect score) is the United States' worst single mark of the 44 rule of law sub-factors measured by the Index.
In the area of civil justice, the U.S. scores .39 in the sub-factor measuring discrimination, placing the U.S. 115 out of 128 countries worldwide—its lowest sub-factor ranking. In the general category of Fundamental Rights, the U.S. ranks in the upper quarter of all countries at 26th out of 128. However, in the sub-factor for equal treatment/absence of discrimination, the U.S. ranks 96 out of 128 countries.
The recent killings give these appalling statistics a human face. Our organization was founded to promote the rule of law as the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace, but these essential elements are not the reality for many U.S. communities. We must honor the right of people to peaceably assemble and speak and thereby petition their government for redress of grievances, and we must protect the fundamental right to hold government accountable and seek justice for all.
The WJP will undertake research and advance reforms of policy and practice to end racism and all forms of invidious discrimination anywhere in the world. We must all work together to reinforce our community commitment to the rule of law. In the words of Nelson Mandela, a beacon of the rule of law and an enduring inspiration for the WJP, "Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all."