Rights and freedoms being lost for 1/5 of the world’s population

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Rights and freedoms being lost for 1/5 of the world’s population
Rights and freedoms being lost for 1/5 of the world’s population

Africa-Press – Eritrea. A fifth of the world’s population (52 countries) saw their political rights and civil liberties deteriorate last year, while just 21 countries reported improvements, according to the annual report released today by the Freedom House think tank.

The 51st edition of the “Freedom in the World” report, launched today by the Washington-based think tank, marks the decline in freedom globally for the 18th consecutive year.

At the basis of the decline are factors such as “electoral manipulation, war, attacks on pluralism”, according to Freedom House, which reports that almost 38% of the world’s population lives in countries classified as “not free”, while 42% is in “partially free” countries and only 20% in “free” countries.

In the annual assessment, the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh suffered the steepest decline, losing 40 points out of 100, after almost its entire population of 120,000 Armenians was forced to leave under pressure from the Azerbaijani military.

This was followed by Niger – which experienced a military coup that deposed the democratically elected government – Tunisia, Peru and Sudan, with Ecuador also mentioned, which went from being classified as “free” to “partially free” after criminal organizations killed several candidates politicians at election time.

The most significant improvement occurred in Fiji, followed by Thailand, Liberia and Nepal. Only Thailand improved its overall status, going from “not free” to “partially free”.

Examples of electoral interference, including violence and manipulation, include Cambodia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Poland, although in the latter two countries attempts to influence did not prevent government changes.

Among armed conflicts and threats of authoritarian aggression, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was highlighted, which recently completed two years and which “further degraded basic rights in the occupied areas and provoked more intense repression in Russia itself”, as well as the civil war in Myanmar.

“Repression in the disputed territories was largely perpetrated by autocratic regimes, but the democratically elected governments of Israel and India were complicit in the violation of basic rights in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Kashmir, respectively,” according to Freedom House .

The group further noted how “Beijing continued to repress the few freedoms available to residents of Hong Kong and Tibet, while the Russian regime advanced its efforts to repress vulnerable populations in Crimea and enlist residents in its war of aggression.”

The report also highlights that this year at least 40 countries (two-fifths of the world’s population) will go to the polls.

South Africa’s summer elections come amid rising violent crime, xenophobia, high youth unemployment and insufficient accountability for corruption, while in India the context includes more legal attacks on journalists and critical media outlets, disinformation and the use of sophisticated ‘ spyware’ against reporters, activists and opposition parties.

Harassment and intimidation of politicians, election administrators and judges are a “serious challenge” in the November presidential elections in the United States, where the shadow of violence also looms after the 2021 attack on the Capitol, according to the report, which also highlights the importance of European elections in June.

“All these votes will take place in a global context that has become increasingly hostile” regarding respect for diversity, according to the report, which in its recommendations added the need to respond to attempts to overthrow legitimately elected governments and protect human rights activists.

“Only by defending inclusive principles at home, supporting those on the front lines of the struggle abroad and building robust international partnerships based on shared values ​​will democracies be able to reverse the global decline of freedom”, he concluded.

Freedom House

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