By opening almost any news section these days, it is clear that there are so many current human rights violations in the world, however, do we know which are the worst countries violating human rights in 2017?
According to Global Conflict Tracker, there are 28 conflicts currently in the world. If we look at them by the region, the results are following. South America has one conflict, which is criminal violence based in Mexico. In Europe, there is an open conflict in Ukraine, and the problem with Islamic militancy in Russia. Moreover, the whole Europe is under tension because of the refugee crisis which further provoked the rise of populism and far-right parties. If we look at Asia and Pacific area, there is North Korea crisis under the leadership of Kim Jong-Un which further influence the tensions in the region, mostly with South Korea, and additionally with the USA. Moreover, there are constant tensions in the East and West China Sea with Japan and Philippines. Next is sectarian violence in Myanmar which rose as a cause of tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in this country. Finally, there were several attacks in India, near Pakistan border, and violence in Kashmir which can be a basis for a serious military confrontation between India and Pakistan. If you want to know more about this part of the world, take a look at 11 Worst Asian Countries For Human Rights Violations.
Nevertheless, most dangerous conflicts are situated in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Not to mention each of them, we would just highlight the most intensive ones. There are three civil wars: Libya, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. Moreover, there is Islamist militancy in Egypt and on the territory of Iraq, while Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group, is still present in Nigeria. Furthermore, never-ending conflict between Israel and Palestine has its ups and downs. Significant violence is also present in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, as a cause of the political crisis. Most of these conflicts caused human right violations and urgency to talk about human right issues on the global level.
Many organizations on the international and global level are dealing with human rights issues today. However, one of the most important ones is Human Rights Watch which writes a report on the annual level that is open and accessible for public. In those reports, analysts write in detail about conflicts, its influence on people and atrocities that cause human rights violations. Besides HR Watch, we should also mention Amnesty International, The Carter Center, Freedom House and of course, many UN agencies that are dealing with this issues.
To create our list of worst countries violating human rights in 2017, we first took suggestions from previously mentioned Global Conflict Tracker. Then we compared it with Human Rights Watch World Report 2017. The results are ranked according to latest data obtained from the Freedom House. The freer is the country; the higher is on our list. Ater all, freedom is the main prerequisite for any of the human rights. Also, for each country, it is explained which violations of the rights have happened. If you are interested in the previous year, check out Human Rights Watch World Report on violations of human rights from 2016. For the year 2015, see our piece on countries with the worst human rights violations in the world for that year. Now let’s see our list.
We are starting our list of the worst countries violating human rights in 2017 with Mexico. Security forces of this country during the mandate of President Enrique Peña Nieto have been involved in gross violations of human rights which included “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture” and all that while they were trying to combat organized crime.
On the 17th place on the list of worst countries violating human rights in 2017 is Ukraine. Civilians were subjected to serious abuses, and the government response to the attack on journalists by nationalist groups wasn’t adequate. In Crimea, Crimean Tatars also face human rights abuse even though they peacefully oppose the Russian occupation in Ukraine.
By reading the news about Nigeria, the most often we can hear about terrorist group Boko Haram which kidnapped many girls and attacks many regions of the country. In a lack of inadequate response of the international community, around 2.5 million people are internally displaced and lack basic rights such as rights to food, shelter, education, healthcare, protection from harm, as well as the right to freedom of movement.
As a result of Al-Qaeda attacks on Malian security forces and international peacekeepers, there were major human rights violations in central and northern part of the country. Civilians suffered increasing incidents of criminality, violence, and threats from armed groups. Moreover, there was also a prohibition of taking part in elections on the local level.
The government of Lebanon failed to take steps to end discrimination against women and to provide essential services such as garbage removal. Moreover, the ones who opposed current administration were subject to criminal defamation laws. Detainees also suffered from ill-treatment and torture.
Even though the militant violence was less than in previous years, there are still significant violations of human rights in Pakistan Around 85 people were sentenced to death in 2016, which were operated by secret military courts. Women, religious minorities and transgender people faced violent attacks, while the government failed to provide protection.
12. Myanmar (Burma)
In Myanmar or ex Burma, there is an open conflict between the Burmese armed forces and ethnic armed groups in several regions of this country. As a result, there were many cases of abuse against civilians and massive displacement. The government troops have been responsible for “serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual violence and destruction of property,” according to Human Rights Watch Report 2017.
Conflict in Afghanistan is initiated between Taliban and government forces. As a result, thousands of civilians were killed and injured, either in insurgent suicide or attacks mostly claimed as responsible by the Taliban. Moreover, many violations of human rights happened in deadly attacks in Kabul by ISIS. Nevertheless, both of the groups used schools for military purposes, they have deprived many children, particularly girls, of access to education. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are internally displaced as well.
10. Democratic Republic of Congo
In 2016 political violence and government repression intensified in this country. In Eastern Congo, armed groups and government security forces attacked civilians. Moreover, Government banned opposition demonstrations, fired teargas and live bullets at peaceful protesters. They also silenced the media. Opposition leaders have been arrested as well.
Halfway through our list of worst countries violating human rights in 2017, we have Burundi and conflict in that country that caused severe political and human rights crisis that started in 2016. Security forces and intelligence services were responsible for numerous ”killings, disappearances, abductions, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrests.”
China has severe problems with working policies that are not adequate from the point of human rights. Moreover, freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religion are fragile topics in this society. Over 16 human rights lawyers and activists were the victims of the authorities who held them in secret and didn’t allow them to communicate with their families or lawyers.
The war in Yemen caused over 3 million displaced people, 17 million who are food insecure and more than 10,000 that are killed. Human Rights Watch has documented 58 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes which have killed “nearly 800 civilians and hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, private businesses, and mosques.” Moreover, some of the munitions used were internationally banned.
At number six on our list of worst countries violating human rights in 2017, we have Libya and the civil war in that country that caused a humanitarian crisis with around million internally displaced people. Civilians couldn’t fulfill basic human services such as healthcare, fuel, and electricity. Militias and armed forces made tortures, unlawful killings, indiscriminate attacks, abductions, and disappearances. Criminal gangs and militias also abducted politicians, journalists, and civilians to achieve political and monetary goals.
5. Central African Republic
In this country, sectarian violence and attacks on civilians are mostly recorded in central and western regions. Moreover, armed groups raped and sexually assaulted women and girls. Around 384,300 are displaced.
As a result of long-running country’s conflict, civilians in Somalia are enduring abuses and are in severely bad humanitarian conditions. There were many targeted attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly by the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab. Over 1 million Somalis remain internally displaced, and with insufficient access to basic services.
3. South Sudan
Third spot on our list of worst countries violating human rights in 2017 is South Sudan and civil war that started in 2013 and continued in 2016 with abuses against civilians both by government forces and opposition fighters. Moreover, according to Human Rights Watch Report government soldiers “killed, raped, and tortured civilians as well as destroying and pillaging private property during counterinsurgency operations in the southern and western parts of the country.” Around 2.4 million people are displaced.
2. North Korea
North Korea is considered to be one of the most repressive authoritarian regimes. The government led by Kim Jong-Un curtails almost every human right including freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and freedom to practice religion. Moreover, it prohibits organization of political opposition, independent media, free trade unions, and independent civil society organizations.
On the first place on our list of the worst countries violating human rights in 2017 is Syria. The long-lasting war in this country caused many atrocities. According to the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the death toll in 2016 was 470,000. This conflict led to a humanitarian crisis with 6.1 million internally displaced people and 4.8 million seeking refuge abroad. According to HR Watch Report, more than 117,000 have been detained or disappeared since 2011. This is all followed by targeting civilians with artillery, kidnappings, executions, and use of chemical weapons.