Freedom House: Freedom in the world – declining for 17 years in a row

The organization Freedom House said on Thursday that freedom in the world marked a decline for the 17th year in a row. Moscow’s aggression led to devastating human rights violations in Ukraine. Coups and other attempted coups undermined representative governments and destabilized Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Peru and Brazil.

Previous coups and ongoing repression curtailed basic freedoms in Guinea and continue to restrict them in Turkey, Myanmar and Thailand.

Two countries, the report said, saw declines in their overall freedom status: Peru moved from free to partly free and Burkina Faso moved from partly free to not free.

The gap between the number of countries that recorded overall improvements in political rights and civil liberties and those that recorded overall declines in 2022 was the narrowest in 17 years of global deterioration in the degree of freedom, the 50th annual report said. Freedom House on freedoms in the world.

The dramatic decline in political rights and civil liberties during 2022 was caused by direct attacks on democratic institutions, whether by foreign military forces or local officials.

In February, Ukrainians thrust themselves violently into the heart of the global struggle to defend democracy against authoritarianism. Russian President Vladimir Putin, having presided over the illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory in Crimea and eastern Donbass since 2014, launched a full-scale aggression.

Whatever false justifications for this aggression have been promulgated by the Kremlin-controlled media, the report says, its clear aim is to remove the elected leadership in Kiev and deprive Ukrainians of their fundamental right to free self-government.

The war is, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says, a disaster with a high price. In his desire to destroy democracy in Ukraine and deny Ukrainians their political rights and civil liberties, Russian President Putin has caused the death and injury of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides, the destruction of essential infrastructure , the displacement of millions of people from their homes, a proliferation of torture and sexual violence, and the intensification of already harsh repression inside Russia, the report said.

The report states that 84 countries of the world are included in the category of free countries, while 57 are not free countries.

The organization listed the countries of the Western Balkans, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia, among the partially free countries. This category includes 54 of the 195 countries that the report talks about.

Amy Slipowitz, from the organization Freedom House, said in a conversation with Voice of America that Albania did not mark any change from the past. “On the positive side, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly are generally respected areas. There are areas that can be improved. Political parties are very polarized and corruption and organized crime still remain serious problems,” she said.

According to the report, Kosovo scored an improvement of four points in the ranking of Freedom House, which goes up to 100 points. Ms Slipowitz said this is one of the biggest improvements worldwide in 2022.

“Among the reasons for the improvement were political rights. Clientelist networks have less influence on the current government, and there has also been an increase in the representation of various groups such as women of Serbian nationality and members of the LGBT plus community, in government institutions, but also in political life in general. Then as far as civil rights are concerned, academic freedom has gained ground in Kosovo. There is less political influence in the appointments of university leaders,” she said.

The World Freedoms Report has been published since 1973, giving Freedom House the opportunity to track global trends for half a century.

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