New Internationalist

The Facts

Issue 179

new internationalist
issue 179 - January 1988

Human Rights - The Facts

Photo: Peter Stalker Global statistics on food, health, education and freedom form repression tend to favour Western countries simply because of their wealth. This is why the NI Olympics awards its medals and votes of censure according to changes in the last five years: because it gives poorer countries a fairer chance. But before the competition begins it is as well to bear in mind the absolute standards or 'world records' in each field.
RANKING REPRESSION

The World Human Rights Guide awarded governments a percentage rating based on their freedom from state violence and their tolerance of dissent at the end of 19861

TOP

%

BOTTOM

%

1.

Aotearoa (NZ)

98

1.

Ethiopia

13

Denmark

98

2.

North Korea

17

Finland

98

3.

Iraq

19

Holland

98

4.

Romania

20

Sweden

98

USSR

20

6.

Norway

97

6.

South Africa

22

West Germany

97

7.

Bulgaria

23

8.

Austria

96

China

23

Belgium

96

Libya

23

Canada

96


The following countries did not supply enough data to gain a percentage rating but were classed as 'poor': Afghanistan, Albania, Central African Republic, Iran, Kampuchea, Laos, North Yemen, South Yemen.


HEALTH FOR WEALTH LEAGUE

There is a huge divide between the health of the rich and poor countries, as the top and bottom of the life expectancy shows.

Life expectancy at birth, 19852

TOP

BOTTOM

1.

Iceland

77

1.

Sierra Leone

35

Japan

77

2.

Gambia

36

3.

Canada

76

3.

Afghanistan

38

Holland

76

4.

Ethiopia

41

Hong Kong

76

Guinea

41

Norway

76

Somalia

41

Sweden

76

7.

Mali

43


The cause of Japanese long life is not their enlightened government - it is partly their healthy traditional diet but mainly their county's wealth. One way to measure the progress in health of individual countries more fairly is to compare them against countries within the same income bracket.

The Health for Wealth League divides the world into seven divisions according to their wealth - their GNP per capita in 1984. It then compares their wealth ranking with their performance in reducing child deaths their under-five mortality rate in 19852. So a nation which came second in it's division for health but ninth in wealth would score +7. While a nation which came tenth in health but first in wealth would score -9.

DIVISION ONE

Countries with GNP per capita of over $5,000 a year (see explanation bottom left)

Rank

Country

Score

HEALTH
Child deaths
per thousand (rank)

WEALTH
GNP per capita
in US$ (rank)

1.

Hong Kong

+12

11

(10)

6,440

(22)

2.

Finland

+10

8

(1)

10,770

(11)

3.

Iceland

+9

8

(1)

11,020

(10)

4.

Holland

+8

10

(6)

9,520

(14)

Japan

+8

9

(4)

10,630

(12)

6.

Singapore

+5

12

(14)

7,260

(19)

Sweden

+5

8

(1)

11,860

(6)

8.

Italy

+4

13

(17)

6,420

(21)

9.

France

+3

11

(10)

9,760

(13)

United Kingdom

+3

12

(14)

8,570

(17)

11.

Denmark

+2

10

(6)

11,170

(8)

12.

Israel

+2

16

(22)

5,060

(23)

13.

Belgium

-1

13

(17)

8,610

(16)

14.

Austria

-2

13

(17)

9,140

(15)

Canada

-2

10

(6)

13,280

(4)

16.

Aotearoa (NZ)

-3

14

(21)

7,730

(18)

Australia

-3

11

(10)

11,740

(7)

Norway

-3

10

(6)

13,940

(3)

Switzerland

-3

9

(4)

16,330

(1)

Trinidad & Tobago

-3

26

(23)

7,150

(20)

21.

Luxembourg

-5

11

(10)

13,610

(5)

West Germany

-5

12

(14)

11,130

(9)

23.

United States

-15

13

(17)

15,390

(2)

 

DIVISION SEVEN

Countries with GNP per capita of less than $300 a year.

Rank

Country

Score

HEALTH
Child deaths per
thousand (rank)

WEALTH
GNP per capita
in US$ (rank)

1.

Burma

+13

91

(1)

180

(14)

Zaire

+13

170

(5)

140

(18)

3.

Bangladesh

+11

198

(9)

130

(20)

4.

Nepal

+5

206

(11)

160

(16)

5.

Ethiopia

+4

257

(17)

110

(21)

Tanzania

+4

183

(7)

210

(11)

Togo

+4

160

(4)

250

(8)

8.

Uganda

+3

178

(6)

230

(9)

9.

Madagascar

+1

97

(2)

260

(3)

10.

Burkina Faso

0

245

(16)

160

(16)

Burundi

0

200

(10)

220

(10)

India

0

158

(3)

260

(3)

13.

Guinea-Bissau

-1

232

(13)

190

(12)

14.

Mali

-3

302

(21)

140

(18)

Niger

-3

237

(15)

190

(12)

16.

Malawi

-5

275

(19)

180

(14)

17.

Benin

-6

193

(8)

270

(2)

18.

Cent Afr Rep

-10

232

(13)

260

(3)

19.

Rwanda

-11

214

(12)

280

(1)

20.

Somalia

-14

257

(17)

260

(3)

21.

Gambia

-17

292

(20)

260

(3)

TEACHING TABLES

Primary school enrolment, 1982-19842
[image, unknown]
Photo: Roy Lewis / Camera Press

Countries exceed 100 per cent where students out side the primary age group are also attending primary school. This explains the absence of Western countries, in which secondary education is widely available for older children.

TOP

Female

Male

BOTTOM

Female

Male

1.

Zimbabwe

137

136

1.

Afghanistan

9

19

2.

Angola

121

146

2.

Somalia

15

28

3.

Portugal

123

122

3.

Mali

18

30

4.

Gabon

117

127

4.

Bhutan

17

32

5.

Colombia

122

119

5.

Niger

19

34

6.

Suriname

115

124

6.

Burkina Faso

20

34

7.

Mexico

117

120

7.

Guinea

23

49

8.

North Korea

114

118

8.

Mauritania

29

45

9.

Peru

112

120

9.

Chad

21

55

10.

Nicaragua

118

113

10.

Sierra Leone

32

46


CONTRASTING CALORIES

In 1983 there were 23 countries where there was enough food available to supply less than 90 per cent of each person's daily caloric needs.and there were 24 countries in which there was enough food to supply every person with 28 per cent or more above their needs. All these percentages assume that food is distributed equally - which is, of course, never the case.

[image, unknown]


1
. Charles Humana, World Human Rights Guide, Pan 1987.
2. UNICEF State of the World's Children 1987

last page choose another issue go to the contents page [image, unknown] next page


This first appeared in our award-winning magazine - to read more, subscribe from just £7

Comments on The Facts

Leave your comment