News / Europe

Report: Freedoms in Libya, Egypt Improving, But Declining in Russia, Mali

The pro-democracy group Freedom House says in an annual report on global freedom that the number of countries ranked as free has risen to 90, but about 27 nations have suffered significant setbacks.

Wednesday's report titled "Freedom in the World 2013" notes that political and civil liberties improved in Libya and Egypt, but declined in Russia and Nigeria.

Striking Gains in Libya

The Freedom House assessment indicates Libya registered one of the most striking gains for freedom.  The report said that while under Moammar Gadhafi, Libya ranked among the world's worst tyrannies for decades, but recorded major gains last year, especially on political rights indicators.  It said, however, that Libya continues to suffer from insecurity and a lack of clear government control over many parts of its territory, a problem compounded by the actions of autonomous local militias and radical Islamists.

Larry Diamond, a professor and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, said during a discussion Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington that it is premature to call Libya a democracy.

"Political order is still so fragile there," he said.  "The command by the state over the means of violence is still so inadequate that I think state building remains a major challenge.  And until the militias can be reined in and the authority of the democratically elected state now, Freedom House judges, can be firmly established, there's still tremendous fragility and vulnerability in the unfolding story in Libya."

Modest Progress in Egypt

Freedom House said Egypt experienced relatively modest progress, holding a flawed but competitive presidential election.  Researchers also noted the end of direct military rule in the Middle Eastern country, but added the elected parliament was dissolved and that President Mohamed Morsi pushed through a new constitution under deeply problematic circumstances.

Freedom House said that since the reelection of President Vladimir Putin, Russia's government has moved to stifle free expression and public protest.  The pro-democracy group noted that since Mr. Putin returned to the presidency, he has enacted a series of laws meant to squelch a burgeoning societal opposition.  

'Freefall' of Rights in Russia

Arch Puddington, vice president for research at Freedom House, said during the Wednesday discussion that the Eurasia region has steadily declined over the past decade.  He said the region as a whole has been in what he called "freefall," led by Russia.

"Russia has set the tone for the other countries in the region, has acted as the model for those countries, has implemented laws that have then been copied by other countries, both in Eurasia and other parts of the world to restrict civil society, restrict the press," he said.

Regarding Africa, Freedom House said the continent's sub-Saharan area ranked as the world's most politically volatile region, noting significant declines in the situation in Mali.  The report said Mali was once seen as a model African democracy, but was battered by a reinvigorated Tuareg which triggered a coup against the elected government.

Elsewhere, Freedom House said Burma continued to move forward with a process of democratic reform launched in 2010, and that Burma recorded improvements in both its political rights and civil liberties ratings.  It said freedoms of expression and association have improved markedly in the past two years but depend more on current government policy than deep institutional changes.  Freedom House noted the conflicts in Burma involving the military and ethnic minority militias.

On Latin America, Freedom House's Puddington said a major story has been the coming of the post-Chavez era, referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is hospitalized in Cuba for cancer treatment.  Puddington said the end of the Chavez era may bring change for the better because it may have an impact "on the constellation of countries run by demagogic left-wing presidents who have followed in Chavez's footsteps."

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
January 16, 2013 10:42 PM
Putin’s spokesman immediately announced that the Kremlin wouldn’t recognize the Report as biased one. But with the palm of his hand Mr Peskov couldn’t cover “the sun” of counterarguments. Justice Minister of Russia and other top legal professionals see the adopted measures on restricting personal and civil liberties as contradicting to the international norms that Russia has signed and even to the Code of Russian laws, the Constitution. The stifled atmosphere created by the regime in 2012 has led to the unexpected and sharp economic stagnation in Russia in the second half of 2012 having been attributed to the worsened investment climate.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid