Humane: Do Some Good
The World Justice Project
The World Justice Project was founded in 2006. Every year, they produce the Rule of Law Index. I love to pour over the rankings and study the comparisons worldwide. Here’s the description of the index from their website:
The WJP Rule of Law Index® measures how the rule of law is experienced in everyday life in 99 countries around the globe, based on over 100,000 household and 2,400 expert surveys worldwide. It is the most comprehensive index of its kind and the only to rely solely on primary data. Adherence to the rule of law is assessed using 47 indicators organized around eight themes: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice. In addition to country scores and rankings, the Index also includes key global findings as well as an analysis of regional strengths, rule of law challenges, best and worst performers, and trends to watch.
Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, improve public health, enhance education, lift people from poverty, and protect them from injustices and dangers large and small. Despite this, all over the world, people are denied basic rights to safety, freedom, and dignity because the rule of law is weak or non-existent. The natural environment is degraded when environmental protection laws are ignored. Women suffer abuse when they don't know they are protected by laws or when their access to justice is limited. Families suffer when parents are coerced into paying bribes to get their children admitted to public schools or to get them basic health care. Local and international businesses avoid investing in communities because of the lack of stable rules and regulations and excessive amounts of risk.
Here’s a quick synopsis of this year’s findings:
1. Constraints on Government Powers. USA ranks #20. Denmark #1. Venezuela #99.
In a society governed by the rule of law, the government and its officials and agents are subject to and held accountable under the law. Modern societies have developed systems of checks and balances, both constitutional and institutional, to limit the reach of excessive government power, and to subject the government power, or ruler, to legal restraints.
2. Absence of corruption. USA ranks #21. Denmark #1. Afghanistan #99.
The absence of corruption - conventionally defined as the use of public power for private gain - is one of the hallmarks of a society governed by the rule of law, as corruption is a manifestation of the extent to which government officials abuse their power or fulfill their obligations under the law.
3. Open government. USA ranks #17. Norway #1. Zimbabwe #99.
Open government is far more than transparency, and encompasses elements such as clear, publicized, and stable laws; administrative proceedings that are open for public participation; official drafts of laws and regulations that are available to the public; and the availability of official information.
4. Fundamental rights. USA ranks #27. Sweden #1. Iran #99.
Rule of law abiding societies should guarantee the rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the right to equal treatment and the absence of discrimination; the right to life and security of the person; the right to the due process of the law; the freedom of opinion and expression; the freedom of belief and religion; the absence of any arbitrary interference of privacy; the freedom of assembly and association; and the protection of fundamental labor rights.
5. Order and security. USA ranks #18. Japan #1. Pakistan #99.
Human security is one of the defining aspects of any rule of law society. It encompasses three dimensions: absence of crime; absence of civil conflict, including terrorism and armed conflict; and absence of violence as a socially acceptable means to redress personal grievances.
6. Regulatory enforcement. USA ranks #22. Norway #1. Venezuela #99.
Appropriate and effective enforcement does not only mean that it occurs without public or private meddling, but also that regulatory proceedings are conducted in a timely way that respects the due process of law.
7. Civil justice. USA ranks #27. Norway #1. Afghanistan #99.
Civil justice requires that the system be accessible, affordable, effective, impartial, and culturally competent. Accessibility includes general awareness of available remedies; availability and affordability of legal advice and representation; and absence of excessive or unreasonable fees and hurdles.
8. Criminal justice. USA ranks #22. Finland #1. Venezuela #99.
An effective criminal justice system is capable of investigating and adjudicating criminal offenses effectively, impartially, and without improper influence, while ensuring that the rights of suspects and victims are protected.
Here's a link to the report: Rule of Law Index 2014
Here's how you can help the World Justice Project