Principality of Liechtenstein
[Country Profile Page]
|Social and Moral Index||38th best|
|Life Expectancy||83.26yrs (2017)2|
Liechtenstein does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Liechtenstein comes in the best 20 in terms of supporting press freedom3. It does better than average for its nominal commitment to Human Rights4 (but bad for Europe), commentary in Human Rights Watch reports5 (but bad for Europe), freethought6 and in LGBT equality7 (but bad for Europe). But, things could still be better. Liechtenstein does worse than average when it comes to speed of uptake of HR treaties8 (one of the highest in Europe). Human Rights Watch has declared that Liechtenstein "has worked incredibly hard, beyond all expectations given its size and resources, to establish routes to combat mass genocide at the United Nations in circumstances where investigations are being blocked by countries such as Russia and China"9.
|Compared to Europe (2020)10|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)10|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark11. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu11.
The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe11, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia11.
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Liechtenstein has worked incredibly hard, beyond all expectations given its size and resources, to establish routes to combat mass genocide at the United Nations in circumstances where investigations are being blocked by countries such as Russia and China (i.e., blocking investigations into Syrian Government abuses). Liechtenstein rallied support and its evidence-gathering mechanism was passed 105 to 15 "possibly creating a special tribunal for Syria should Russia continue to block a path to justice at the ICC"9
|Human Rights Watch Comments|
Higher is better5
Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.
|Nominal Commitment to HR|
Higher is better4
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.
|HR Treaties Lag|
Lower is better8
Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
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Lower is better3
The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index12
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
|Year Women Can Vote|
Lower is better
|180||Central African Rep.||1986|
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
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Higher is better7
Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence13. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws14. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries13. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.
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|Freedom of Thought|
Lower is better6
Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights15. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish16. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era17 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted18. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief19. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands6,20 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia6,21.
Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed22. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief16, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion23 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"24 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.
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