The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights, Equality and Tolerance in the Middle East
A Very Unhappy Picture

http://www.humantruth.info/middle_east_human_rights_tolerance.html

By Vexen Crabtree 2022

#equality #human_rights #middle_east #morals #news #politics #prejudice #qatar #The_Middle_East #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)1,2
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank1,2
1Cyprus48.5
2Israel83.5
3Turkey86.2
4Lebanon102.8
5Jordan105.5
6Kuwait110.5
7Bahrain112.9
8Egypt116.4
9Saudi Arabia117.6
10UAE119.8
...
15Syria133.1
16Iran141.0
17Palestine163.0
The Middle East Avg114.3
World Avg89.0
q=17.

The best countries in The Middle East at protecting human rights, engendering tolerance and supporting equality, are Cyprus, Israel and Turkey but the bloc as a whole does poorly compared to the global average. The worst countries are Palestine, Iran and Syria. In short, The Middle East has severe problems with human rights, gender equality, misogyny, religious tolerance3 and LGBT equality. Acceptance of human-rights principles is largely impossible given the prominence of Islamic theocracy which is sternly opposed to human rights. This is the worst region in the world for religion-based persecution3.

The Arab World [is] a region where the mean and median levels of performance [at ensuring human rights and freedom] are probably most charitably labeled poor.

"Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice"
Jack Donnelly (2013)4


1. Results by Country

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)1,2
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank1,2
1Cyprus48.5
2Israel83.5
3Turkey86.2
4Lebanon102.8
5Jordan105.5
6Kuwait110.5
7Bahrain112.9
8Egypt116.4
9Saudi Arabia117.6
10UAE119.8
11Oman121.5
12Qatar122.3
13Yemen128.5
14Iraq129.8
15Syria133.1
16Iran141.0
17Palestine163.0
The Middle East Avg114.3
q=17.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Denmark and Norway1. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Palestine and Somalia1.

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 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 Europe1, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia1.

For more, see:

The table on the right shows the full results list for The Middle East.

Compare The Middle East to other regions of the world: Compare International Statistics by Region and Continent.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)5
Pos.Higher is better
Score5
1Cyprus5
2Turkey-2
3Qatar-3
4Kuwait-4
5Lebanon-5
6Bahrain-5
7Israel-5
8Oman-5
9Jordan-6
10Iraq-6
11UAE-6
12Yemen-7
13Egypt-7
14Iran-10
15Saudi Arabia-10
16Syria-10
The Middle East Avg-5.4
World Avg-1.9
q=16.

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.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)6
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties6
1Cyprus20
2Turkey17
3Yemen16
4Egypt16
5Syria14
6Jordan14
7Israel12
8Lebanon12
9Kuwait12
10Bahrain12
11Saudi Arabia10
12Qatar10
13Iran9
14Iraq9
15Oman9
16UAE7
The Middle East Avg12.4
World Avg15.1
q=16.

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.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)7
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty7
1Egypt4.52
2Cyprus5.81
3Syria7.02
4Iraq7.55
5Jordan7.75
6Yemen8.88
7Turkey9.48
8Lebanon10.14
9Kuwait10.36
10Iran10.81
11Israel10.97
12Qatar11.34
13Bahrain12.55
14Oman13.46
15Saudi Arabia13.73
16UAE14.81
17Palestine17.21
The Middle East Avg10.37
World Avg10.02
q=17.

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.

For more, see:

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)8
Pos.Lower is better
Rank8
1Cyprus33
2Israel52
3Turkey73
4Bahrain88
5Jordan91
6Lebanon108
7Kuwait111
8Qatar117
9UAE118
10Oman120
11Egypt144
12Saudi Arabia144
13Syria156
14Iran157
15Yemen158
The Middle East Avg111.3
World Avg79.7
q=15.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)9

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)10
Pos.Lower is better10
1Cyprus1383
2Kuwait2828
3Lebanon3015
4Qatar3286
5Israel3297
6UAE3349
7Jordan3847
8Oman4151
9Palestine4309
10Iraq4467
11Turkey4656
12Egypt4866
13Saudi Arabia5688
14Bahrain6275
15Yemen6922
16Iran7340
17Syria7853
The Middle East Avg4561
World Avg3249
q=17.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. 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".

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".

Qatar is host to the Arab region's unique news station, Al-Jazeera, counted by Julian McDougall11 as one of the five leading providers of global news, with 100 million viewers across the world12. It is surprisingly progressive for the region, but still outputs a lof of material that is prejudiced and problematic13,14.

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)15
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims15
1Qatar0.15
2Kuwait0.15
3Lebanon0.17
4UAE0.17
5Jordan0.18
6Bahrain0.19
7Saudi Arabia0.19
8Oman0.21
9Yemen0.31
10Israel0.39
11Cyprus0.42
12Iraq0.48
13Egypt0.55
14Turkey0.65
15Syria0.73
16Iran1.62
The Middle East Avg0.41
World Avg0.65
q=16.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory16. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends17. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life18. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves19.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery20. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity21. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.22. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi15, Eritrea15, Indonesia23) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery24.

For more, see:

See:

3. Gender Equality

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)25
Pos.Lower is better25
1Israel0.10
2Cyprus0.12
3UAE0.23
4Bahrain0.23
5Saudi Arabia0.26
6Oman0.28
7Turkey0.33
8Kuwait0.33
9Lebanon0.38
10Jordan0.48
11Iran0.51
12Iraq0.53
13Qatar0.54
14Syria0.55
15Egypt0.57
16Yemen0.77
The Middle East Avg0.39
World Avg0.36
q=16.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1Turkey1934
2Israel1948
3Lebanon1952
4Syria1953
5Egypt1956
6Cyprus1960
7Iran1963
8Yemen1970
9Bahrain1973
10Jordan1974
11Iraq1980
12Oman1994
13Qatar2003
14Kuwait2005
15Saudi Arabia0
The Middle East Avg1838
World Avg1930
q=15.

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.

4. Prejudice

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)26
Pos.Lower is better
%26
1Iran56
2Turkey69
3Saudi Arabia74
4Egypt75
5Oman76
6Lebanon78
7UAE80
8Qatar80
9Jordan81
10Bahrain81
11Kuwait82
12Yemen88
13Iraq92
The Middle East Avg77.8
World Avg36.8
q=13.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews27,28,29,30. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East31, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews32,33. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"34. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males35.

For more, see:

See:

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)36
Pos.Higher is better
Score36
1Israel48
2Cyprus40
3Turkey25
4Jordan12
5Bahrain-2
6Iran-19
7Oman-22
8Yemen-22
9Lebanon-24
10Egypt-27
11Iraq-29
12UAE-34
13Kuwait-37
14Qatar-54
15Saudi Arabia-72
16Syria-84
The Middle East Avg-18.8
World Avg12.6
q=16.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence37. 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 laws38. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries37. 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.

For more, see:

See:

4.3. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freedom_of_belief #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought (2021)39
Pos.Lower is better39
1Cyprus3.0
2Turkey3.5
3Israel3.8
4Palestine3.8
5Oman3.8
6Lebanon4.0
7Iraq4.3
8Syria4.5
9Egypt4.5
10Jordan4.5
11Kuwait4.5
12Bahrain4.5
13Qatar4.5
14Yemen4.8
15UAE4.8
16Iran4.8
17Saudi Arabia5.0
The Middle East Avg4.3
World Avg3.0
q=17.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights40. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish41. 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 era42 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted43. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief44. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands39,45 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia39,46.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed47. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief41, 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 religion48 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"49 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see:

See: