Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Global freedom in retreat

World freedom decreased in 2007, according to an annual survey of political rights and civil liberties released by Freedom House today.

“This year’s results show a profoundly disturbing deterioration of freedom worldwide,” said Arch Puddington, director of research at Freedom House. “A number of countries that had previously shown progress toward democracy have regressed, while none of the most influential Not Free states showed signs of improvement. As the second consecutive year that the survey has registered a global decline in political rights and civil liberties, friends of freedom worldwide have real cause for concern.”

Though the report sees little change in the numbers of countries classified as Free, Partly Free or Not Free, there have been significant setbacks within these categories. According to the press release, “nearly four times as many countries showed declines during the year as registered improvement.”

The statement highlights the cases of Egypt and Pakistan, both already defined as Not Free, as examples of the decline in political rights and civil liberties over the past year through government suppression of democratic opposition, civil society and independent media.

“Right now, authoritarian regimes have been able to use their influence to slow freedom’s advance and, in some cases, reverse positive progress,” said Jennifer Windsor, the executive director of Freedom House. “Democratic governments have not worked together effectively to counter these trends.”

For the full statement, and to read the report, click here.


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