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The world’s democracies have failed to confront authoritarian challenges from countries like China, Egypt, Belarus, Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, suggests a new report on global freedom.
The report, published by Freedom House, also warns that a five-year trend of freedom “backsliding” represents the most significant decline since data was first published in 1972.
“According to Freedom in the World 2011, the latest edition of Freedom House’s annual survey of global political right and civil liberties, conditions worsened for the fifth consecutive year in 2010.”
Freedom House, founded in 1941, is an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world.
Highlights from the report include:
Free:The number of countries designated by Freedom in the World as Free in 2010 stands at 87, two fewer than the previous year, and representing 45 percent of the world’s 194 countries and 43 percent of the world’s population.
Partly Free:The number of Partly Free countries increased to 60, or 31 percent of all countries assessed by the survey, comprising 22 percent of the world’s total population.
Not Free:The number of countries deemed to be Not Free remained at 47, or 24 percent of the total number of countries. Nearly 2.5 billion people live in societies where fundamental political rights and civil liberties are not respected. China accounts for more than half of this number.
Electoral Democracies:The number of electoral democracies dropped from 116 to 115, the lowest number since 1995. Three countries—the Philippines, Tanzania, and Tonga—achieved electoral democracy status after conducting elections that were regarded as improvements over earlier polls. Declines in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, and Sri Lanka triggered their removal from the list of electoral democracies.
Worst of the Worst:Of the 47 countries ranked Not Free, nine countries and one territory received the survey’s lowest possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Tibet, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
One disturbing set of data points to the trend of violence and organized crime labels as “enemies of democracy.” The violence in Mexico and other parts of the region were singled out.
“Mexico’s decline from Free to Partly Free was a result of the uncontrolled wave of organized criminal activity that has afflicted several states,” the report noted.
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Rusty Ray started an online freelance news project with live coverage of the 2008 Democratic & Republican Presidential primaries. On May 4, 2009, Rusty Ray founded Big 3 News. Over the past decade, Rusty Ray has participated in or provided news coverage of numerous political events, and has interviewed & featured an impressive roster of people, groups and causes. Rusty Ray