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OVERVIEW

Effective, accountable justice systems are critical to promoting peace, democracy, and reconciliation, with the ultimate goal of preventing human rights violations and upholding rule of law. Rule of law is the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced.

Size/Magnitude of Problem

Rule of law is the necessary precursor to international development; with rule of law and the protection of basic rights to safety, freedom, and dignity, countries will see better public health, economic development, and political participation. That protection reduces the abuse suffered by vulnerable populations like women and the poor, allows local businesses and foreign investments to not be stifled by corruption, and eliminate the need for bribes to access basic government services.

  • 2.6 billion people, or 36% of the global population, live in countries considered to be "not free," with significantly constrained civil liberties.ii
  • In 2015, 68% of countries scored below 50 (out of 100) on Transparency International’s Corruption Index.iii
  • 10th consecutive year of declining democracy and human rights worldwide as measured by Freedom House.iv
Desired Equilibrium

Governments diligently and fairly ensure human rights by enabling equal participation for all and protecting against individual persecution based on sex, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or political affiliations. Abusive, authoritarian regimes are supplanted by democratic institutions that empower all citizens and maintain rule of law.

Ways Skoll social entrepreneurs are addressing the issue:
  • Creating transparency within existing legal frameworks to build accountability and effective rule of law (Equal Justice Initiative, Global Witness, International Bridges to Justice, International Center for Transitional Justice)
  • Building expertise and strategic alliances that establish new legal frameworks to protect human rights (Crisis Action, Equal Justice Initiative, Global Witness, International Bridges to Justice, International Center for Transitional Justice, Namati)
  • Mobilizing global citizens behind human rights to influence decision-makers (Crisis Action, International Bridges to Justice, International Center for Transitional Justice, WITNESS)
References

i SPI Indicators for Personal Rights include: Political rights, Freedom of speech, Freedom of assembly/association, Freedom of movement, and Private property rights.
ii Freedom House, "Freedom in the World 2016" (link)
iii Transparency 2015 Report (link)
iv Freedom House, "Freedom in the World 2016" (link)

Critical Geographies
Personal Rights1

As defined by SPI (<10/100 score)
Cuba, Central African Republic, Uzbekistan, China, Myanmar, Iran, Yemen, Russia, Vietnam, Sudan, Saudi Arabia

Corruption

As defined by SPI (≤20/100 score)
Afghanistan, Sudan, Angola, Libya, Iraq, Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Yemen, Uzbekistan