The Atlas of Impunity in the world was presented: which is the worst rated country in the region

The Atlas of Impunity is a new global index that scores from 0 to 5: higher scores mean greater impunity

“The impunity it is the exercise of power without accountability, which becomes, in its crudest form, the commission of crimes without punishment… Impunity is the idea that ‘the law is for fools,’” he affirms in his harsh introduction the first World Impunity Atlaspresented days ago during the Munich Security Conference.

Made by him Eurasian Group and the Chicago Council on Global Affairsresearch is a index exhaustive that tracks abuse of powerr in five dimensions key social: governance without accountability, human rights abuse, conflict, economic exploitation and environmental degradation.

The Atlas defines impunity as “the exercise of power without checks and balances” and is based on 67 statistical indicators from 29 validated sources. In total, 197 countries and territories received a score of 0 to 5 in each of these five domains of impunity: higher scores mean greater impunity and lower scores mean greater accountability. Of those included, 163 countries have sufficient data to be compared and ranked, while the remaining 34 receive indicative scores based on the available data.

Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen top this year’s list with the highest impunity scoreswhile Finland, Denmark and Sweden with the lowest impunity scores. In the region, the worst placed is Venezuela, which ranks number 11 in the world.

“The Atlas of Impunity provides for the first time independent, credible and verifiable data on five dimensions of impunity. Democracy versus autocracy and other popular paradigms are not enough to explain the widespread abuse of power, even within powerful democracies,” he said. David Miliband, former UK Foreign Secretary and co-chair of the Atlas Advisory Council. And he added: “The prism of impunity and accountability captures the multidimensional nature of global challenges and the avoidance of public responsibility. Impunity thrives in the dark; this Atlas is a tool to shed light on the abuse of power and spark a debate about what to do about it.”

Venezuela, the worst in Latin America

Nicolas Maduro (Reuters)
Nicolás Maduro (Reuters) (LEONARDO FERNANDEZ VILORIA /)

The indicators of conflict and violence raise the levels of impunity in many countries of the region.

Venezuela -warns the Atlas- is a country especially affected by impunity. occupies the rank 11 in the Atlas, which reflects a level of impunity higher than that of Haiti (15th) and Nicaragua (38th)largely as a result of the authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro, who has intensified the repression even while taking a more pragmatic approach to economics.

The Maduro regime, in fact, is among the five countries with the worst results in the dimension of governance without accountability -behind only North Korea and ahead of Myanmar-, “something that is unlikely to change in the near future,” warns the Atlas. And he adds: “It is unlikely that Maduro will accept competitive presidential elections in 2024, given the very high personal exit costs associated with the loss of power. These include the prospect of international prosecution in response to the regime’s abuses.”

Central American countries also occupy the top positions in the Atlas, with the notable exceptions of Costa Rica and Panama, whose much lower levels of impunity place them in positions 131 and 114, respectively. The Northern Triangle countries are especially prone to presidential or elite influence over institutions, including the courts, while Costa Rican society is characterized as strongly democratic, although it tends to suffer from political stalemate. Furthermore, Costa Rica has not suffered violent conflict since the end of its civil war in 1948, after which it eliminated its armed forces and redirected defense spending toward education and social programs.

Meanwhile, Brazil -which has the largest population and economy in the region- ranks 70th in the Atlas, with a level of impunity slightly worse than average. “Brazil does fairly well on the economic exploitation and environmental degradation dimensions (104th and 128th, respectively), but the country’s overall ranking suffers due to two main issues. On the socioeconomic front, systematic corruption and white-collar crime are prevalent, while sharp inequality continues to hamper improvements in other arenas.

Regarding environmental policy, Brazil has tried to promote sustainable agricultural systems, but suffers from high levels of deforestation and has a consequent carbon footprint. However, given the outcome of the 2022 presidential elections, the country’s policies on deforestation may change substantially.

Brazil has a level of impunity lower than that of Colombia and Mexico, who occupy positions 53 and 45, respectively. However, all three score poorly on conflict and violence, mainly due to high crime rates and drug-related conflicts.

Mexico is the fifth country in the world with the highest rate of impunity in this dimension, while Brazil is ninth and Colombia is twelfth. Brazil, Mexico and Colombia also score poorly in the human rights abuse dimension, ranking 64th, 33rd and 52nd, respectively. “These negative results are due to the systemic lack of equal legal treatment and high levels of discrimination. Mexico and Colombia also score poorly on the politically motivated disappearances indicator.”

Chile and Argentina, for their part, occupy positions 124 and 120 of the Atlas. Argentina scores better on the environmental degradation dimension, but has a relatively high degree of security problems. For its part, Chile obtains good results in the dimensions of economic exploitation and governance without accountability, although its level of inequality is high.

Uruguay is a success story in terms of accountability for South American countries. Lying in position 136 of the Atlas, it is the best-performing country in Latin America and ranks better than several countries with higher GDP per capita, such as Italy, South Korea, Greece, Israel, and the United States. “This is mainly due to the country’s stable democratic regime, which has enacted a series of strong public policies and has institutions in place to safeguard human rights, economic justice, and accountability.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, February 23, 2023 (Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, February 23, 2023 (Reuters) (SPUTNIK /)

With an Atlas rating of 27, Russia has the highest level of impunity in its regionthe result of low scores for conflict and violence, abuse of human rights, and lack of accountability in governance.

Just over 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its successor states are at a tipping point. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, it plunged the region into a military, diplomatic and economic crisis and spurred many neighboring countries to reduce their economic or even security dependence on Russia. Over time, this shift will raise the profile of other geopolitical players in the region, especially China, which is unlikely to press its partners for domestic political or institutional reforms. Still, many of these states wonder whether stepping out of Russia’s shadow can bring improvements to the rule of law or other key Atlas parameters, such as environmental justice.

As detailed in the report, Russia has entered a dangerous and uncertain period. Vladimir putin he is trying to consolidate what he and much of Russian national security consider to be their rightful sphere of influence. However, the poor performance of the Russian military, combined with high Ukrainian morale and military support from Western governments, is plunging Russia into a long-term conflict. The effort is also dragging the Russian economy into recession. This is largely because the EU, the US and their allies have imposed on Russia the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a G20 economy, making their withdrawal conditional on a peace deal acceptable to Ukraine.

Under the current circumstances, Russian public opinion is faced with a political repression and at economic costs not seen since the Soviet collapse.

For much of Putin’s time in power, the government offered the promise of political and economic stability in exchange for acquiescence to authoritarian control of nominally democratic institutions. That stability has given way to stagnation, and the system has become dependent on one man at the top. Now the Russians face the prospect of a compulsory military service, the first wave of which lasted from September to October 2022, while online media outlets face the most severe censorship controls to date in modern Russia. This includes penalties of up to 15 years in prison for spreading what the authorities consider to be false information about the armed forces.

The investigation denounces that the space for protests is smaller than ever, and the opposition leader Alexei Navalny he remains in a maximum security prison, serving a nine-year sentence after being convicted on dubious charges in March 2022.

High energy prices are helping the Government to increase its budget and avoid the worst economic scenarios. But with little near-term prospects for sweeping economic sanctions to be lifted and for Russia’s main customers in Europe to reduce their reliance on nuclear power, there is little prospect for human-capital-intensive industries to grow and reduce reliance on nuclear power. country of oil, gas and minerals. And given Russia’s increased reliance on exports of raw materials, any previous plans to cut carbon emissions or strengthen environmental protections are unlikely to make any significant headway.


With its 48th position in the ranking, China it ranks in the upper-middle level of the global distribution of impunity scores. Among East Asian countries, it has the second highest impunity score after North Korea and the highest among ranked nations in the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, on October 23, 2022 (REUTERS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping, after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, on October 23, 2022 (REUTERS) (TINGSHU WANG /)

On all five dimensions, China ranks low for conflict and violence (112th) and close to half the pack for economic exploitation (72nd) and environmental degradation (70th). However, it scores poorly on irresponsible governance (48th) and human rights abuse (10th).

China has not fought a civil war or external conflict in more than forty years, which contributes to its low score for conflict and violence. “But if he decided to invade Taiwan in the future, his score would worsen significantly,” the study says.

The relatively low score on economic exploitation shows that China’s rapid economic growth between 1990 and 2010 has dramatically reduced poverty and hunger. But the country’s economy faces several challenges, which may raise the score if left unaddressed: “Growth is constrained by the aftermath of the now-defunct “zero COVID” policy, a struggling real estate sector, severe income inequality, excess capacity and declining productivity levels.”

China’s poor performance in the dimension of governance without accountability reflect an authoritarian political system and widespread corruption. “Xi has been consolidating power in his hands since 2012 and controls key elements in domestic and foreign policy decision-making. His anti-corruption campaigns have addressed some legitimate governance issues for the public, but at the same time sidelined his political rivals.” After the 20th Party Congress, Xi will continue to dominate the highest party organs. “Given these trends, China’s irresponsible governance score is likely to deteriorate further,” the specialists say.

The low score for environmental degradation reflects China’s status as the world’s largest carbon emitter and its continued reliance on coal and other conventional fuel sources. The country suffers from frequent natural disasters, such as floods and severe droughts, and suffers from severe air pollution. Amid the Ukraine war and China’s worsening relations with the West, Beijing is prioritizing short-term energy security over its long-term carbon neutrality goals, negatively affecting its score.

According to the measurements of the Atlas of Impunity, China ranks 10th worst in the world for human rights. “The Chinese state devotes immense resources to its internal security. It condones torture, capital punishment, arbitrary detention, censorship, mass surveillance, and offers scant protection to women, children, and minorities.”

In addition, he adds that it is likely that the current mass arrest of Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims in xinjiang lead to a further deterioration of the situation in China regarding human rights abuses. “The Chinese state is one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, but it is capable of hiding the full extent of its impunity from the world’s view,” says the Atlas.

Ethnic Uyghur protesters protest against China, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, November 30, 2022. (REUTERS)
Uighur ethnic protesters protest against China, in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, November 30, 2022. (REUTERS) (DILARA SENKAYA /)

The 10 countries with the most impunity and the 10 with the least

on top of Top 10 of the most unpunished in the world is Afghanistanthey follow Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, Central African Republic, Sudan, Iraq, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa and Chad.

In the 11th place with the highest impunity on the planet is Venezuela, the only one in the region so poorly qualified.

And the country with the least impunity in the world is Finland, ranked 163. They follow him, with very good grades, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

The Atlas of Impunity 2023, complete:

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(Text in English)

The Advisory Council of the Atlas of Impunity is co-chaired by David Milliband, leader of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and former UK Foreign Secretary; and Monica Pinto, Argentine Law Professor, former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of lawyers and judges. In addition they integrate it Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer and activist; awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003; Oby Ezekwesili, former Nigerian minister and co-founder of Transparency International; Maina Kiai, Kenyan lawyer, Director of Alliances and Partnerships at Human Rights Watch, former UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; deray mckessonAmerican activist and podcaster, co-founder of the Zero Campaign to end police brutality and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement; Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, former US Permanent Representative to NATO; and by two anonymous experts (for security reasons) in Asia and the Middle East.

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