The Political Terror Scale 2006 is generated by Mark Gibney Belk Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Asheville.
He takes at all available data from Amnesty International and US State Department country reports on human rights practice, and turns them into a 5-band scale. Low score means high Human Rights standards, so 2 is the best, and 10 is the worst. I am very grateful to him for being able to reproduce part of his work here.
I have added together the figures derived from the two sources, so a score of 2 indicates level 1, score 4 indicates level 2, and so on. Odd numbers mean that the country is on the border between two groups, which arises when there is divergence between the reports from Amnesty and the State Department.
Countries are arranged alphabetically, so position within each block is not significant, but a country's group level is significant.
Level 1 : Countries under a secure rule of law, people are not imprisoned for their view, and torture is rare or exceptional. Political murders are extremely rare.
Sao Tome and Principe
Level 2 : There is a limited amount of imprisonment for nonviolent political activity. However, few persons are affected, torture and beatings are exceptional. Political murder is rare.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
United Arab Emirates
Trinidad and Tobago
Level 3 : There is extensive political imprisonment, or a recent history of such imprisonment. Execution or other political murders and brutality may be common. Unlimited detention, with or without a trial, for political views is accepted.
Papua New Guinea
Level 4 : Civil and political rights violations have expanded to large numbers of the population. Murders, disappearances, and torture are a common part of life. In spite of its generality, on this level terror affects those who interest themselves in politics or ideas.
West Bank and Gaza
Central African Republic
Dem. Republic of the Congo
Level 5 : Terror has expanded to the whole population. The leaders of these societies place no limits on the means or thoroughness with which they pursue personal or ideological goals.
Countries for which there is no data:
"Germany, East" **
"Germany, West" **
"Yemen, North" **
"Yemen, South" **
The USA was not rated by the State Department, so I doubled the Amnesty score of 3, which is a median rating.
This is a prototype of the real Index of Human Rights which we would like to see established by the United Nations. The group system is clunky, and it would be better to give each country an individual score, so that the scale could be viewed as a spectrum. There is no reason that I can see that the reports should not be quantified in this way.
Of interest is the UK's poor showing with a score of 4, (Level 2), and that of the USA with a score of 6, Level 3. Israel is at Level 4, while there is no data for the Palestinian Authority.
It is enlightening to view an objective rating of all the countries of the world. To read the newspapers, one might be led to think that the UK and USA were paragons of democratic virtue.
Some of the results are startling. For instance, we share Level 2 with Azerbaijan, and the USA shares Level 3 with Saudi Arabia and - wait for it - Cuba. This is a result of the group system, since there will be wide variations within a group. If you have doubt about the accuracy of the scores, simply go back to the State Department website and read the country reports. I could not find the country reports on the AI website: I think you have to buy a copy written on pulped trees.
The Green Party is to launch a Report on the Index of Human Rights on December 8th.