Lebanon still ranks high in corruption

BEIRUT: Lebanon ranked 87th among 113 countries in terms corruption and rule of law while scoring 6 out of 7 countries in the MENA region, and 31 out of 36 among upper-middle-income countries, according to Washington-based NGO, World Justice Project’s yearly Rule of Law Index.

The index, which is based on more than 110,000 household and 3,000 expert surveys, measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived in practical everyday situations by the general public in 113 countries.

The index rates countries’ rule of law performance based on eight factors: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.

A higher ranks signals lower adherence to the rule of law.

Lebanon ranked 72 out of 113 countries in terms of constraints on government powers, 87 in terms of the absence of justice, 89 in terms of open government, 81 in terms of fundamental rights, 82 in terms of order and security, 86 in terms of regulatory enforcement, 79 in terms of civil justice and 86 in terms of criminal justice.

Lebanon rose two positions from last year’s Index, previously ranked at 89.

Denmark leads the WJP’s Index, coming in at number one, followed directly by Norway in second place, with Finland coming in third. On the other side of the spectrum, the bottom three countries were Afghanistan, who came in at 111, Cambodia at 112, and Venezuela trailed last.

“Globally, a majority of countries worldwide saw their scores decline since the publication of the last index in 2016, most notably in the areas of human rights, checks on government powers, and civil and criminal justice,” the index reported.

The MENA’s top performer among the 7 indexed countries was the United Arab Emirates, ranking at 32nd overall. Iran went six positions up to 80th, while Morocco fell seven positions to 67th worldwide.

Regionally, Lebanon scored 5 out of 7 on constraints of government powers; on open government, Lebanon ranked fourth; and for fundamental rights, third.

Order and security, regulatory enforcement, and civil justice were tied at a low rank of 6 out of 7, while the criminal justice and the absence of corruption rankings were both at the bottom position at 7 out of 7.

Both Morocco and the UAE showed statistically significant decreases in scores for absence of corruption. Countries measured in the MENA regional included Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and the UAE.

“Effective rule of law is the foundation for communities of equity, opportunity, and peace,” William Neukom, WJP founder, and CEO, said.

The survey for Lebanon was done by local research and consulting house, Reach, conducting over 1,000 interviews and surveys of national households which were represented.

The greatest decline was seen in fundamental rights (71 countries dropped out of 113), which measures absence of discrimination, right to life and security, due process, freedom of expression and religion, right to privacy, freedom of association, and labor rights.

The second greatest decline was seen in constraints on government powers (64 countries dropped out of 113), which measures the extent to which those who govern are bound by law.

More countries’ overall rule of law scores declined to 34 percent in comparison to the 29 percent of 2016 Index scores, labeled as a “troubling trend” by the report.

“We are witnessing a global deterioration in fundamental aspects of the rule of law,” Neukom added, highlighting that “reduced adherence to the rule of law anywhere threatens development everywhere.”

An Nahar