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Rights group releases inaugural rule of law report

The World Justice Project (WJP) [advocacy website] released its inaugural report [text, PDF] on Thursday, ranking countries by their adherence to the rule of law. The three-year study categorizes governments based on nine factors, including their level of corruption, rights, clarity of laws and access to judicial remedies. Of the nations with the highest income levels, Sweden ranked first in a majority of the indices, while most US rankings were consistently toward the bottom of both the country's economic and regional classes. The WJP found the rule of law lacking in poorer countries including Pakistan, Kenya and Liberia. The American Bar Association (ABA) [organization website], a co-sponsor of the WJP, emphasized that the report's significance derives in part from its analysis of individual categories [report] based on the real world experiences of those living in the country.

A survey released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation [advocacy website] earlier this month detailed a decline in the rule of law [JURIST report] and democratic rights amongst African nations. In November, Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, in Spanish] called for greater adherence to the rule of law, stressing [JURIST report] its importance for a flourishing economy and orderly social life. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile; JURIST news archive], in an October 2009 speech, reiterated [JURIST report] the need for authorities to abide by the rule of law when conducting investigations into potential terrorist activities as a means of "leading by example."

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