Thursday, August 17, 2017

WJP study: Rule of law improves slightly, still 98th out of 113

Myanmar is failing slightly less egregiously to maintain rule of law this year, according to the World Justice Project’s annual Rule of Law Index, which was released yesterday.

The slight bump, from an overall score of 0.42 to 0.43 out of 1, is largely driven by an improvement in constraining government powers. Myanmar ranks 98th out of the 113 countries studied by the organisation. Last year, it was 92nd out of 102.

Compared to others in the East Asia and Pacific region, Myanmar ranks 14th out of 15, beating only Cambodia.

The WJP measured countries based on 44 indicators that fall under eight rule-of-law factors using data from more than 100,000 household and expert surveys, according to the organisation’s press release.

Myanmar scores best in the Order and Security category, ranking 53rd worldwide, but lags substantially in the Fundamental Rights category, where it is 109th.

Fundamental Rights were measured using eight indicators including right to privacy, due process of law and freedom of religion.

“It recognises that a system of positive law that fails to respect core human rights established under international law is at best ‘rule by law’, and does not deserve to be called a rule of law system,” the WJP website says of the Fundamental Rights category.

“Since there are many other indices that address human rights, and as it would be impossible for the Index to assess adherence to the full range of rights, this factor focuses on a relatively modest menu of rights that are firmly established under the Universal Declaration and are most closely related to rule of law concerns.”

The country’s worst indicator came under the Criminal Justice factor – it scored a 0.19 in the indicator measuring undue government influence on the criminal justice system. In June, the International Commission for Jurists, a rule-of-law NGO, proposed a 14-step agenda for reforming the country’s courts system, which has been weakened by decades of authoritarian rule.

Denmark topped this year’s Rule of Law Index, as it did last year, with Venezuela ranking worst.