Global Human Rights Index




A proposed system for measuring and ranking each country's observance of internationally-agreed human rights

The next 60 years - Holding nations to account on human rights

Executive Summary

Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drawn up, it is time for the United Nations (UN) to initiate new mechanisms to encourage member states to improve their human rights (HR) record.

The Green Party of England and Wales is proposing that the UN establish a Global Human Rights Index (GloHRI), which would measure and rank each country according to its conformity with international human rights standards.

Using an objective points system, GloHRI would measure every country, based on its compliance with a check-list of agreed human rights norms, such as whether or not it has the death penalty, detention without trial, freedom of the media, the right to protest, equal rights for women and minorities and so on.

This simple, accessible index would enable objective comparisons between the human rights records of different countries, and permit the identification of whether each individual country's human rights record was, year-on-year, improving or deteriorating.

Published annually, GloHRI would document where each state upholds or violates human rights; providing an incentive for all nations to improve their human rights record and ranking.

It would help identify the most serious human rights offenders meriting the most urgent prosecution, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The Green Party offers this proposal for wider consultation, with a view to its future submission to the UN.

Present Threats to World Stability

The world faces several interlinked challenges at present including:
· economic recession
· climate change
· food shortages
· fuel shortages
· water shortages
· mass migration
· militarism, including weapons of mass destruction

There is a tendency for governments to respond to perceived threats by moving towards a position of tighter control by taking away or restricting human rights. This affects even established democracies. The authoritarian tendency appears in the United States with measures such as Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and tolerance of torture by using "extraordinary rendition". In the UK it is reflected in the persistent attempts to undermine Habeas Corpus by seeking extraordinarily long periods of detention without charge, indefinite house arrest (control orders) without trial, restrictions on the right to protest and many other erosions of civil liberties.

The extreme response to riots and disorder is for governments to declare military rule. Military rule tends to be authoritarian, and to degenerate into outright dictatorship, as seen in Burma.

If the world is to avoid a slide towards increasing authoritarianism, as well as continuing to act against abuses and abusers when they are found, we must create international and national government institutions that make human rights abuse less likely.

Responding to Human Rights Abuses

Although humans have an (often under-reported) capacity to behave towards each other with kindness and altruism, regrettably we also have a capacity to behave towards others with appalling injustice and cruelty, especially in war and when obeying authority .

There are still far too many governments who commit acts which are contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

There are eight common methods that the political world uses to deal with HR abuses.

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights This is the bench-mark of internationally-agreed human rights norms, from which all subsequent human rights agreements and conventions have flowed. It is a remarkable document that has set a standard for all governments to aspire to. It wears its 60 years well, sounding remarkably modern and relevant. A shortened version is printed in the Appendix to this report. The Declaration of Human Rights puts the struggle against HR abuse at the heart of the UN mission, and the UN has a good record of work in this field, given that its work is always the end result of an interaction between UN ideals and the demands of realpolitik.

2. Reportage. Human rights abuses in countries giving rise to concern are recorded by UN "special rapporteurs". The US State Department , Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also publish annual reports of all states' Human Rights (HR) performance. Some specific abuses come to public attention, and of these, some attract reaction of various kinds, but as is the nature of these things, the bulk of these reports are filed in specialist libraries where they are accessed only by specialists and PhD students.

There is a service available that is entitled "The Universal Human Rights Index" which exists to provide "instant access for all countries to human rights information from the United Nations system. The index is based on the observations and recommendations of the following international expert bodies: the seven Treaty Bodies monitoring the implementation of the core international human rights treaties (since 2000)[and] the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council (since 2006)"
This is welcome, but the reports that it provides are still long narratives, and are by their nature not easily accessible to the average concerned citizen.

Inaccessibility detracts from the usefulness of these reports, and it is this deficiency that is addressed by the Index of Human Rights in the UN, since citizens will be able to view the status of any country at a glance in their newspapers or by looking on the Web.

3. Diplomacy is ever present as an instrument for good (or in some cases, ill) in international politics, but is necessarily isolated from the voice of the people.

4. Individual and NGO Campaigning is exemplified by the work of Amnesty International, which is well known for its letter-writing campaigns on individual cases. The high regard in which Amnesty is held gives it an authority in its dealings at governmental level, but its position is fundamentally reactive to existent abuses against individuals or communities, rather than taking action to prevent development of abusive situations by addressing the aberrations in governance that cause the individual cases. The UK branch of Amnesty International has considered the Index proposal, but has simply responded that this is not the way AIUK has operated in the past.

5. Political pressure. Governments sometimes bring political pressure on governments that commit HR abuses. Here however, these reactions are ad hoc and, worse, often subject to political caprice. For instance, the West was content to make only muted criticism of Saddam Hussein's use of gas against Iranian troops and the villagers of Halabja, because he was seen at that time as a bulwark to hold back fundamentalist Iran. It was only later, when Saddam was seen as a threat to the security of Western oil supplies, and Western governments switched to demonising him as the Hitler of our times.

6. Juridical action can be taken in the national courts of countries that have incorporated international human rights legalisation into their domestic law and in UN Special Tribunals, such the ones established to deal with human rights abuses in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. There is also the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The power of the ICC is weakened by the decision of the USA to be exempt itself from its scope, which gives a sorry example for dictators to follow. The threat of ICC action could also have unintended consequences, since it may make dictators even more determined to cling to power. It would be politic for agents of the ICC in the course of preparing their case against any dictator currently in power always to offer clemency or amnesty if the accused leaves office voluntarily before he is arraigned.

7. The Responsibility to Protect. In New York, September 2005, the UN adopted the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), an historic step which overthrew the absolute sovereignty of governments to do whatever they pleased within their own borders. "We ... intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to help states build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assist those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out...we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case by case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate ...

This is excellent as far as it goes, but the mechanisms available to help problem states to "build capacity to protect their populations" is not well developed. The Index of Human Rights will fill this deficiency.

The weakness of R2P is the military threat implicit in the reference to Chapter VII of the charter. Article 42 states "Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations".

This implies military action, and is in itself a deterrent for the UN Security Council or any thinking government to go down that path.

8. Military action has been shown by Iraq to be so highly problematic that it is rather unlikely that it will ever be used again in the foreseeable future to topple an unsavoury regime. Removing dictators is like taking the weight off a hot pressure cooker - the results can be extremely messy. Even when the people themselves bring about the fall of a dictatorial regime, as happened in Portugal and the Soviet bloc, there often follows a period of near anarchy when the moral authority of the state and its agents is understandably rejected.

The Index of Human Rights is proposed as an effective complement to the above measures, with the prospect that it can act as an incentive to encourage many (perhaps not all) states to improve their human rights record.

The Global Human Rights Index

It is proposed that in order for the UN to move from a reactive to a proactive stance in human rights, authoritative and objective reports of countries' HR records should be analysed and codified into numerical data so that they can be published as a ranked table on an annual basis.

The effect will be that all interested citizens and governments can tell at a glance the relative standing of a country in which they are interested.

Purpose of the Index

Since most countries are conscious of their international image, and do not wish to be seen as human rights abusers and international pariahs, the expected effects of the Index are as follows:
1. Immediate release of some prisoners: Some governments will appeal against their ratings. In response, the UN could send in inspectors to review the conditions in the country. Faced with an inspection, it is likely that some regimes will release some political prisoners and improve the conditions of others. In this way the Index will have a tangible, immediate benefit for a number of individual cases.
2. General improvement in HR. There will be a general tendency towards improved human rights performance. Governments, even tyrannical ones, are sensitive to public opinion, as shown by the success of Amnesty International's letter writing campaigns for the release of political prisoners. There will be a natural desire by governments to want to rate more highly on the Index.
3. Transparency: The human rights trend of individual countries will be demonstrable and transparent, which will give an important early warning signal about which states are increasing their human rights violations and are therefore likely to be of concern in the future.
4. Consistency: The measurement and raking of human rights abuses will give clarity to all citizens and governments. At present, tyrants are dealt with in an arbitrary and ad hoc way by politicians, often through media manipulation. The unfair demonisation of a particular country will be less easy to accomplish if the Index can show that it far from being the worst offending state.
5. Assistance: Some governments may accept advice and assistance in improving their human rights performance, and hence their position on the Index.
6. Enforcement: Finally, when the Index is established, it could be used to bring specific legal action and targeted sanctions to bear on the very worst offenders. Once this has happened consistently and without bias or exception on a few occasions, regimes near the bottom of the Index, knowing that they might be next in line for prosecution, and may decide to improve their human right record and seek international support to this effect.
It is not claimed that the Index will once and for all abolish all HR abuses, but it will apply a useful and significant upward pressure on a universal and continuous basis.
Since the Index is designed to work continuously and systemically, the question arises as to how the international community should address the immediate political challenges specifically thrown up by oppressive dictators in specific unfolding events. An approach to this problem is outlined in Appendix 3.

Legal action
Any regime occupying the lowest position on the Index should expect a case to be prepared against it with a view to being brought to the International Criminal Court (following amendments to widen the remit of the ICC) or to other international legal bodies. If governments or individuals refused to attend, they could be tried in absentia. Throughout this process, punishment-and-reward leverage can be applied, perhaps with the message that if human rights abusers leave office voluntarily before coming to court, they can retire to exile in a comfortable place, and perhaps with the threat that if they are overthrown and arrested, they will be tried in person and may spend a long period in prison. DELETE this - This condition will have to be written into the indictment specifications.
There are a number of sanctions that can be taken against abusive regimes who refuse to co-operate, targeted specifically on the regime and its supporters, so that the sanctions will not harm the population at large (see Appendix 2).

Measuring Performance of States

An established principle of management lore is, "If you want to manage it, you must measure it." This holds equally well for state governance.

There are many indices in existence designed to measure various aspects of state governance.

In her report "Good Governance Rankings", Marie Besançon puts the case for measurement: "In this era, nation states are responsible for the task of governing and providing goods to those who reside within their borders. Many of these nation-states have corrupt leaders who drain the country's treasures and provide little or no security, education, infrastructure, or any other public good to their constituents. Measurements of governance could set standards for improvement and achievement as well as indicate where funds could best be of use and where policy might prove most effective." Besancon identifies no less than 47 different instruments for measuring governance of states, which is in itself an indication that there is something worth doing here.

World Bank

Support for this notion comes from an unexpected quarter: the World Bank. Each year it publishes its "Worldwide Governance Indicators", which capture six key dimensions of governance :
Voice and accountability: the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression,
freedom of association, and a free media

Political stability and absence of violence: perceptions of the likelihood
that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including domestic violence and terrorism .

Government effectiveness: the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government's commitment to such policies.

Regulatory quality: the ability of the government to formulate and implement
sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development.

Rule of law: the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.

Control of corruption: the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as "capture" of the state.

Some readers may be surprised by the inclusion of the World Bank to support a humanitarian project, and clearly there are questions to be raised at the importance of regulatory quality to promote private sector development, but the point is that the World Bank report considers indicators to be an important measure, and concludes that:

Good governance pays a very large development dividend. An improvement in governance of one standard deviation can triple a nation's per capita income in the long run. Higher income also correlates with better governance, but the causal relationship is mostly from governance to income.

In their introduction to their report for the World Bank , Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi write "We find that even after taking margins of error into account, the WGI permit meaningful cross-country comparisons as well as monitoring progress over time".

Although for its purposes, the World Bank considers aggregated indicators to be more useful, two of its indicators, Voice and Accountability, and Political Stability and the absence of Violence, have a bearing on human rights.

For its own purposes in defending human rights, the UN would be right in designing and using an Index that responds to human rights performance.

One important aspect to the World Bank's endorsement is that it meets objections that the Index might not be sufficiently accurate. Potential inaccuracy of the measurements is often brought up in discussions about the Index of Human Rights. Clearly, precise scientific measurement on a par with physics is not possible, since at least part of the basic data is anecdotal, and the interpretation of the data involves exercise of judgement. The same characteristic of the data applies to investigations in soft sciences such as social and psychiatric research, but the research continues successfully nonetheless. Margins of error apply in all sciences, and are wider in the human sciences than in physics, but the meaningful measurements can yet be made.

The presentation of the Index in a ranked table format also helps to overcome this weakness to a great extent, since all states' assessment will be subject to the same margins of error. Appeals and any subsequent adjustments are likely to result in a revised ranking within a few places of the initial allocation. It is the position relative to similar states rather than an absolute value that is the effective result.

The parameters themselves are to be selected for measurability. Not all of the 29 Articles on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights lend themselves to measurement.

Various indices already exist, elements of which may be useful to consider in relation to the Index we propose.

Observer Index of Human Rights

This was published in the mid 1990s. It only appeared for a couple of years, but it is remarkable how many people recall its existence. It used the following indicators:
1. the use of torture
2. scale of disappearances
3. use of the death penalty
4. denial of free speech
5. political rights
6. abuse of political prisoners
7. denial of free movement
8. child rights
9. religious freedom
10. fair trial
11. minority rights
12. women's rights.

The total for each country was then multiplied by its score on the Human Development Index (HDI), as defined by the United Nations, to avoid unfairly penalising less-developed countries. This application of the HDI seems reasonable and politic, since the Index will otherwise face accusations that it is another Western plot to victimise and hold back the development of less developed countries. This accusation is empty in any case, since the World Bank workers quoted above show that better governance relates well with swifter economic development.

Political Terror Scale

The PTS was developed in 1983 by Michael Stohl at Purdue University, and is currently maintained by Mark Gibney, Belk Distinguished Professor and Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina Asheville. It is a graded scale for measuring human rights violation and was adapted from work originally published by Raymond Gastil of Freedom House in 1979. The raw information for the scale comes from the United States Department of State and Amnesty International Annual reports on countries' Human Rights practices. The data is graded into categories of 1 to 5, with best human rights practices ranked as 1 and the worst at 5. There is no adjustment applied in the PTS for stage of development.

The PTS has been rendered into a 5-rank prototype Index here:

Gibney's method is to judge the reports in terms of categorical parameters, thus:

Level 1:
Countries under a secure rule of law, people are not imprisoned for their view, and torture is rare or exceptional. Political murders are extremely rare.
Level 2:
There is a limited amount of imprisonment for non-violent political activity. However, few persons are affected, torture and beatings are exceptional. Political murder is rare.
Level 3:
There is extensive political imprisonment, or a recent history of such imprisonment. Execution or other political murders and brutality may be common. Unlimited detention, with or without a trial, for political views is accepted.
Level 4:
The practices of level 3 are expanded to larger numbers. Murders, disappearances, and torture are a common part of life. In spite of its generality, on this level terror affects those who interest themselves in politics or ideas.
Level 5:
The terrors of level 4 have been expanded to the whole population. The leaders of these societies place no limits on the means or thoroughness with which they pursue personal or ideological goals.

Of interest is the fact that the UK is in level 2, along with Cuba, and the USA in level three, which also contains Libya.

This seems a fair and robust method of obtaining a quantitative figure from a qualitative report.

Ibrahim Index for African Governance

This was launched in August 2008, awarding a cash prize to one leader in sub-Saharan Africa.
"The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is a comprehensive ranking of sub-Saharan African nations according to governance quality. The Ibrahim Index assesses national governance against 57 criteria. The criteria capture the quality of services provided to citizens by governments. The focus is on the results that the people of a country experience.
The criteria are divided into five over-arching categories which together make up the cornerstones of a government's obligations to its citizens:
Safety and Security
Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption
Participation and Human Rights
Sustainable Economic Opportunity
Human Development
The Ibrahim Index is a progressive and responsive tool that will evolve to accommodate feedback and critiques from stakeholders, as well as changes in the governance context in sub-Saharan Africa. It was created in recognition of the need for a comprehensive and quantifiable method of measuring governance quality in sub-Saharan Africa, and has been designed to:
Provide a tool for civil society and citizens to hold governments to account
Stimulate debate on governance, in particular by providing information about leadership performance
Provide a diagnostic framework to assess governance in sub-Saharan Africa"
The prize was awarded to President Joaquin Chissano of Mozambique in 2007, and to ex-president Festus Gontebanye Mogae, of Botswanaland in 2008.

Political Feasibility

The most common objection advanced against the Index proposal is this:
"The US (or China, or any human rights abusing nation of your choice) would never agree to it"
The fact (or possibility) that bad people will obstruct good initiatives is not a valid reason to give up on good initiatives. In late 2008, the US elected a new President and Congress, and the pressures for democratic change in China and other controlling regimes will increase, inspired by President Obama's victory.

More importantly, the UN has often put good measures in place in the teeth of opposition from self-interested politicians and governments. The success of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) proposal (see above) in 2005 is a case in point. Exactly the same arguments were made about the unfeasibility of R2P, yet it was eventually agreed by the UN.

Therefore, the Index is an important complement to R2P.

It will take a long time to win international agreement on the Index, but the alternative is to continue responding to cases of human rights abuses as and when they occur, which is a more discouraging prospect than the long and arduous negotiations that will be doubtless required to secure the establishment of the Index by the UN.

At present, the concept is, to use a word coined by Richard Dawkins, at the "meme" stage, (a unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another). It has already gained endorsement from the following organisations:
· Movement for the Abolition of War
· Green Party of England and Wales
· European Green Party
· Congress of Global Green Parties (Sao Paolo, 2008)
· World Concern
· Global Action Plan to Prevent War
· World Disarmament Campaign
· Arms Reduction Coalition
· Culture Change
· United Nations Association - UK
Suggestion - put the above list in alphabetic order
It is hoped that the publication of this Report will assist in the gradual familiarisation and acceptance of the Index concept.
Both the UN and NGOs have an excellent record of reacting to HR abuses worldwide, but there is an inexhaustible supply of such abuses to which they have to react. There is a need for an instrument that will exert a continuous, systemic and world-wide pressure for governments to improve their human rights performance. The Global Human Rights Index (GloHRI) fits the criteria for such an instrument, and we hope that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will also mark the beginning of this pro-active approach.


Appendix 1 - Draft Global Human Rights Index Proposal

There are many different human rights that could form the basis of the Global Human Rights Index (GloHRI). At this stage, we do not intend to finalise which ones should be included. The list of rights and freedoms below is offered as a guide to the potential basis on which the GloHRI would be calculated. It is drawn from the values, principles and articles of the UDHR and other national and international human rights laws. This draft list is open to amendments and additions.

The GloHRI would function to award the most points to countries with the best human rights record and the least points to countries with the worst human rights record. The idea is to reward with high scores the nations that most closely conform to good human rights practice.

To allow for the fact that human rights observance often involves degrees of compliance or non-compliance, we propose a points system, where varying points are awarded according to a nation's degree of adherence to the human right in question.

One option, for example, might be a five point system for each of the human rights in the Index, such as the Right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
- 4 points for no human rights violation, 3 points for rare violation, 2 points for moderate violation, 1 point for serious violation and 0 points for total violation.

While the awarding of points under this system may involve an element of subjective interpretation, overall any subjectivity is unlikely to affect a country's general ranking in the Index. Moreover, every country would have a right to appeal against its ranking.

The above proposed points system is not set in stone. We would welcome suggested alternative methods for calculating the GloHRI.

The list of human rights below is not exhaustive, but a guide to the rights that could be potentially included in the Index.

We are conscious that it does not include the human rights specified in Articles 22 to 28 of the UDHR - economic, social and cultural rights.

This omission is for two reasons: some of these rights are difficult to measure and some depend on the wealth and development of a country. To include them would unfairly weight the Index against poorer developing countries that do not have the same financial resources as richer developed nations. The inclusion of the right to education would, for example, compare education provision in wealthy Sweden with impoverished Mozambique. This would be an unfair comparison because the low standard of literacy in Mozambique is not based on a wilful denial of the right to education but on the poverty of the country.

We are, of course, open to proposals as to how economic, social and cultural rights might be incorporated into the Index in a way that is not biased against poorer nations.

Draft suggestions - Human rights for inclusion in GloHRI

Right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
Right to free association and freedom of assembly
Right to freedom of speech - to hold an opinion and express it
Right of people detained or penalised to know the reasons
Right to be tried before a free and independent judiciary
Right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
Right to a fair and open trial, including independent legal representation
Right of independent appeal against any state decision or sentence by a court
Right to peaceful protest
Right to establish political parties and for these parties to participate in elections
Right to vote in regular multi-party elections with universal suffrage and a secret ballot
Right to stand for election, without discrimination
Right to form civic, self-help, campaign and voluntary organisations
Right to choice of employment - no slavery, bonded or child labour
Right to equal pay for work of equal value
Right to form and belong to an independent trade union
Right to strike and to take other industrial action
Right to own property and to not be arbitrarily deprived of it
Right to asylum for people fleeing persecution
Right to inter-racial, inter-religious, same-sex and civil marriage
Right to same-sex relations between consenting adults (Delete - in private)
Right to contraception and contraceptive advice

Freedom from the death penalty or extra-judicial killing
Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
Freedom from arrest without charge and detention without trial
Freedom from the deprivation of nationality and freedom to change nationality
Freedom of travel within one's country,
Freedom to travel abroad and to return to one's country
Freedom from state surveillance of law-abiding citizens
Freedom from political censorship
Freedom for independent media and publishing houses
Freedom of access to government information
Freedom from forced marriage
Freedom from female genital mutilation
Freedom from required membership of a political party, to secure jobs, housing etc.
Freedom to educate and publish in minority languages
Freedom to monitor, document and campaign against human rights abuses

No death penalty or extra-judicial killing
No legal discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity or nationality
No legal discrimination on the grounds of language
No legal discrimination on the grounds of gender
No legal discrimination on the grounds of birth in or out of wedlock
No legal discrimination on the grounds of marital status
No legal discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief
No legal discrimination on the grounds of age
No legal discrimination on the grounds of disability
No legal discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity
No legal discrimination on the grounds of social or cultural origin
No legal discrimination between men and women in marriage or divorce
No legal discrimination in the provision of housing, employment, health care, education and social security

Protection in law against discrimination on the grounds of race, language, national or social origin, gender, marital status, birth in or out of wedlock, age, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Appendix 2 - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This version of the declaration has been abridged by excision of a few explanatory and expansive paragraphs, where indicated by (…).

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind…
Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…
Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law…
Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence…
Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation…
Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; …
Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression…
Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. …
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others …
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Appendix 3 - Targeted Sanctions

The use of sanctions was successful in the cases of South Africa and Libya, but the effects of sanctions against Saddam Hussein caused severe suffering to the Iraqi people. In order to avoid this, sanctions in future should be designed specifically to affect the ruling elite of the country and not the general public. Smart Sanctions have been examined extensively in the late 1990s, and there is a great deal of confidence that they can be employed to curb the regime without hurting the common people. They are primarily financial measures. The following measures were put forward by Switzerland, Germany and Sweden:
· Financial sanctions (freezing of funds and other financial assets, ban on transactions, investment restrictions)
· Trade restrictions on particular goods (e.g. arms, diamonds, oil, lumber) or services
· Travel restrictions
· Diplomatic constraints
· Cultural and sports restrictions
· Air traffic restrictions

Other possible measures include:
· Assistance given to democratic opposition groups who support principles of good governance.
· Tightened border controls, in readiness for sanctions on arms related materials.
· Restrictions on visa issues to members of the Government.
· Prohibition of specified financial transactions
· Freezing of accounts of government officials
· Ban on imports of all lethal goods
· ban on imports of dual purpose technology
· ban on imports of chemical weapon precursors
· ban on imports of biotechnology
· ban on imports of nuclear technology
· ban on imports of wines and spirits
· ban on imports of tobacco, cars, oil & oil products, and luxury items. (These are often used by oppressive regimes to buy loyalty)
The sanctions should be delivered in a progressive way, and promptly reduced in response to any improvement. This approach is in accordance with well-established principles of behavioural psychology, which shows that behaviour can successfully be modified in a consistent and impartial framework of punishments and rewards.
For those with worse records, or in the case of governments who fail to reform despite being under milder sanctions, opposition groups will be supported with progressively increasing financial and logistical help, provided that they support the principles of good governance.
Finally, if the regime still refuses to improve, or if it is engaging in ethnic cleansing or genocide, these opposition parties could be entrusted and empowered with responsibility for imports of, and fair distribution of, necessities like food and medicines. This would give them practice in the arts of co-operation (with each other) and administration, enabling them to prepare for government.
If necessary, the distribution efforts will be protected by UN forces.

Appendix 4 - Dealing effectively with dictators

[Note: this section has not yet been adopted by the Conference of the Green Party in England and Wales]

The Index of Human Rights in the UN will provide an annual review of governments' progress or regress, but what of specific events that challenge the conscience of the international community? How can these be addressed?

The actions of dictators repeatedly come into the media spotlight, with reports of their abuses of the human rights and welfare of their citizens. Burma, Zimbabwe, and China, Uzbekistan and Sudan have all given cause for concern recently in this role.

The world's media respond with harrowing news stories and pictures of human suffering caused by the regime's unwillingness to protect the rights and welfare of their people. The world's leaders respond with speeches condemning the actions of the dictators, and the case may be referred to the UNSC. There the case is discussed, and effective, timely action is usually delayed or blocked because one or other of the permanent members on the Security Council regards the dictator in question as a useful ally or trading partner.

Even if there is agreement that some action must be taken, it takes a great deal of time to get a sanctions programme in place.

The problem lies in the fact that each case of abuse is addressed on an ad hoc basis, and action in the UN takes place at the end of a long and uncertain political process.

We need therefore to move to a framework of international rules of governance that will help all dictators, indeed all rulers, to learn that certain courses of actions will certainly lead to unwanted effects on their own freedom to act for their own personal advancement. Specified forms of misconduct will be matched with a tariff of penalties which are applied in a measured, stepwise and consistent basis, in order to avoid the protection that they often obtain from allies in the UNSC.

There are a number of identifiable steps on the road to dictatorship. For example:
1. Banning critical newspapers and media
2. Banning opposition parties
3. Ignoring the result of a democratic election (e.g. Burma and Zimbabwe)
4. Intimidation at the polling booths
5. Lavish expenditure on palaces for the dictator
6. Disproportionate spending on arms

Each of these steps, and others not mentioned here, can be legally defined, and each could have a sanction attached to it. Of instance,
· Banning critical newspapers and media could be countered by sanctions on the import of the materials the Government itself needs to print its newspapers.
· Banning opposition parties could lead to financial support to opposition parties whose aims are judged to be helpful to the welfare of the people of the country.
· Ignoring the result of a democratic election could result in a ban in foreign travel for members of the regime.
· Intimidation at the polling booths could result in the regime being denied eligibility to serve on appropriate UN councils, for example, the Human Rights Council .
· Lavish expenditure on palaces for the dictator could result in freezing of appropriate assets of the regime.

If the regime takes action to retrace its steps, the sanctions will be promptly withdrawn.

This is based on sound psychology. It is well established that the best way to modify unwanted behaviour is to set a consistent and fair framework of punishments for unwanted behaviour and rewards for appropriate behaviour.

Appendix 5 - Supporting Organisations

The following list is of NGOs and prominent individuals who have made statements of general support for the Index.

The following organisations have indicated that they agree with the aim of the Campaign for an Index of Human Rights in the UN:
Green Party of England and Wales
European Green Party
Congress of the Global Green Parties
Movement for the Abolition of War
World Concern
Global Action Plan to Prevent War
World Disarmament Campaign
Arms Reduction Coalition
Culture Change
UK branch of the United Nations Association (UNA-UK)

Individuals who have expressed support:
Bruce Kent
Fr. Paul Lansu, Senior Policy Advisor Pax Christi International Secretariat.
Dr Jack Piachaud, Psychiatrist and peace campaigner

About this Report
Prepared for the Campaigns Committee of the Green Party of England and Wales by Dr Richard Lawson, with help and support from Peter Tatchell, Richard Scrase, and Jonathan Essex.

Tuesday, 02 December 2008

© 2001 R. Lawson