WORLD | The number of extreme risk countries have soared. Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Somalia were named the worst countries for human rights violations, according to the seventh annual Human Rights Risk Atlas produced by global analytics company, Maplecroft.
Following these countries were Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Yemen and Nigeria.
The seventh annual report, which ranked 197 countries based on 31 different types of human rights violations, found that 34 nations pose an “extreme risk” of human rights violations to their populations — a 70 percent increase over the past six years.
Maplecroft attributes the substantial increase to a rise in socio-economic protests, including a continued crackdown on political dissent by security forces. Technological communication has also contributed to the increase in the number of countries with an “extreme” risk since digital inclusion has helped stimulate and accelerate protest movements.
According to the report, businesses, investors and international organizations that operate across multiple borders should be concerned with the findings. Download the report by clicking here.
The most alarming conclusion of the 2014 Human Rights Risk Atlas is that there has been a 70 percent rise in the number of countries posing an “extreme risk”; the figure has leaped from 20 in 2008 to 34 this year.
Syria (ranked 1st globally in 2014), Egypt (16th), Libya (19th), Mali (22nd) and Guinea-Bissau (74th) show the worst deterioration. Regionally, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Africa account for the majority of this increase in human rights violations.
In the Middle East and North Africa, state repression of societal protests, particularly youth protests, reveals an increase in the number of “extreme risk” countries from two to seven. State repression of these protests also reveal an overall change in the regional average from 4.29/10 in 2008 to 2.75/10 in 2014 (where 0 represents the worst score). In addition to Syria (1st), Egypt (16th) and Libya (19th), other “extreme risk” countries in the MENA region include Iraq (7th), Yemen (9th), Iran (11th) and Saudi Arabia (31st).
In sub-Saharan Africa, ongoing ethnic and sectarian conflict has resulted in a worsening risk score. Sudan (2nd), DR Congo (3rd) and Somalia (5th) remain among the five most extreme risk countries in the world, with DR Congo still having among the worst records of all countries for violations of women’s and girl’s rights, particularly sexual violence.
In Asia, the highest risk countries include Pakistan (4th), Afghanistan (6th) and Myanmar (8th). In Bangladesh (17th) and India (18th). poor legal and regulatory frameworks contribute to a lack of access to remedy and pervasive labor rights violations, which account in turn for their poor risk rating.
Increases in human security risks and labor violations have been especially prevalent in many key growth markets. Maplecroft singles out Iraq (7th). Nigeria (10th), China (15th),Bangladesh (17th), India (18th), Colombia (26th) Philippines (27th), Ethiopia (28th), Indonesia (30th) and Saudi Arabia (31st) as considered key growth markets but they have also experienced the highest increase in human rights risks since 2008.
“Since 2008, global economic growth and investment has shifted to new markets prompting a demand for low-cost workers, water and land as well as other natural resources,” stated Lizabeth Campbell, Maplecroft’s Head of Societal Risk and Human Rights.
“In many of these markets,” Campbell continued, “human rights violations continue to get worse. Worker’s rights are seriously compromised, rural and indigenous communities face grave violations related to land grabs and forced displacement, particularly where their land ownership is not formally documented.
“Increasingly,” Campbell added, “repressive or corrupt governments clamp down on human rights, particularly freedom of expression, to maintain their grip on power and economic control. Companies cannot rely on robust governance and remedy structures in these markets … which means the onus is on them directly to implement appropriate levels of due diligence and mitigating action.”
The role of security forces in violent crackdowns within growth economies has also been a key driver in the rise of human security risks. This trend is particularly evident in growth economies, such as Colombia (26th),Peru (59th), Brazil (70th) and Turkey (78th), where violent repression is characterized by the suppression of protests, which include arbitrary arrest, detentions and extrajudicial killings.
Source: Human Rights Risk Atlas 2014.
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