Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports

January 1st, 2005

Index of International Commitment to Human Rights 2004

By Fernando J. Ruiz

Author: Mariel Julio
Editor: Fernando Javier Ruiz

Executive Summary

Chile ranks number one on the Index of International Commitment to Human Rights (IICHR) with 16 points. The next ten positions are held by the following European countries: Austria, Croatia, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy and France.

There is a tie among countries with least international commitment to human rights: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Cuba, they all have -9 points.

Europe ranks number one on the IICHR at a continental level with 11 points. Oceania ranks second with 8 points. America is in third place with 6.4 points.

The continents with least international commitment to human rights are Asia, with -1.1 points and Africa, with -6.7 points.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the case that arouses most international consensus on violations of human rights (40 points).

The most controversial draft resolutions on human rights violations were those of Chechnya (-40 points), China (-33 points), Cuba (-8 points) and Zimbabwe (-8 points), obtaining the greatest number of 'against' votes and abstentions.

Europe and Africa are the continents that have a common foreign policy regarding international commitment to human rights. Europe has a homogeneous foreign policy regarding commitment, whereas Africa presents a lack of commitment.

America is the continent that displays the most diverse results: it includes Chile that ranks number one with 16 points and Cuba, which is ranked among the countries with least international commitment to human rights with -9.

Regarding the composition of the Commission on Human Rights, there are a greater number of countries that violate human rights compared to last year. Freedom House publishes an annual assessment that classifies countries as being "free", "partly free" and "not free" and if we use this as a reference, the percentage of free countries represents less than half the member states. "Free" countries account for 43.4%, "partly free" countries 26.4% and the remaining 30.2% are "not free".

There is a correlation between the situation of human rights within national borders and the international commitment to human rights. The group of countries with the highest international commitment to human rights is almost completely comprised of countries that are classified as "free" by Freedom House. The only country that does not belong to this category is Guatemala ("partly free"). States that violate human rights ("not free" and "partly free") represent 92% of the group of countries with least international commitment to human rights. India and South Africa are the only countries in this group that are classified as "free".

Fernando J. Ruiz
Fernando J. Ruiz
Doctor en Comunicación Pública por la Universidad de Navarra y Licenciado en Ciencias Políticas, Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA). Profesor e investigador tiempo completo de Periodismo y Democracia e Historia de la Comunicación en la Facultad de Comunicación de la Universidad Austral (Argentina). Es autor de los libros “Las palabras son acciones: historia política y profesional del diario La Opinión de Jacobo Timerman, 1971-77”, “Otra grieta en la pared: informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana”, “El señor de los mercados. Ambito Financiero, la City y el poder del periodismo económico”. Es el presidente del Foro de Periodismo Argentino (Fopea).
Twitter: @fejaruiz