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News: Ethiopia ranks 123 out of 140 in Rule of Law Index, a decline from last year

Addis Abeba – The 2022 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index, which was released on 25 October, revealed that Ethiopia’s overall rule of law score has decreased 3.6% in this year’s Index. Ethiopia ranks 123rd out of 140 countries worldwide, falling one position since last year.  

Significant trends for Ethiopia included “a deterioration in the factor measuring Order and Security,” WJP said.

Regionally, Ethiopia ranked 27th out of 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s top performer is Rwanda (ranked 42nd out of 140 globally), followed by Mauritius and Namibia. The three countries with the lowest scores in the region are Mauritania, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (137th globally).  

In the last year, 20 out of 34 countries declined in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of those 20 countries, 15 had also declined in the previous year.

Among low income countries, Ethiopia ranks 13th out of 17, which included Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

The World Justice Project’s original data, which evaluated 140 countries and jurisdictions around the world, shows that adherence to the rule of law fell in 61% of the countries surveyed for this year – including Ethiopia.

“Index data shows that authoritarian trends that predate the pandemic – such as weaker checks on executive power and increased attacks on the media – continue to erode the rule of law globally,” according to WJP, which defines the rule of law as a durable system of laws, institutions, norms, and community commitment that delivers: accountability, just laws, open government, and accessible justice.

However, declines are less widespread and extreme than last year, when Covid shutdowns dramatically disrupted justice systems, and governments exercised emergency powers that curtailed civic freedoms and bypassed transparency mechanisms.

“Some of the biggest global declines this year were in the Index factors associated with rising authoritarianism and the longer-term erosion of rule of law. This year, respect for fundamental rights declined in two-thirds of countries. Checks on government powers—such as oversight by the judiciary, legislature, and media- fell in 58% of countries this year,” WJP said, adding that globally, 4.4 billion people live in countries where rule of law has declined over the past year. 

“We are emerging from the pandemic, but the global rule of law recession continues,” said Elizabeth Andersen, executive director of the World Justice Project (WJP). “At its heart, rule of law is about fairness–that is, accountability, equal rights, and justice for all. And a less fair world is bound to be a more volatile one.” AS

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