Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

September 2016

By Rosiek.kub [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Polish authorities have become more vocal about the rights of Poles living overseas, but they remain reluctant to address attacks on migrants, ethnic minorities, and political opponents inside the country.

Tyler Roylance

Representatives of Russia, China, and the United States all called for peace and cooperation at the UN General Assembly last week, but their rhetoric revealed key differences on democracy and human rights.

Uzbekistan. Credit: Mariusz Kluzniak.

The recent death of Uzbekistan’s seemingly perpetual president has drawn fresh attention to the uncertainties of one-man rule in Eurasia. 

Credit: UN Watch. 

Online media host and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad discusses the cultural rift between Iran’s regime and its vibrant community of internet users.

Thandeka Kathi, Christian Caryl and Hala Aldosari.

From left to right: Thandeka Kathi, Christian Caryl and Hala Aldosari.

Social justice activist Thandeka Kathi discusses the challenge of securing both political rights and basic economic rights for informal communities in South Africa.

photo of Amman, capital of Jordan

Amman, Jordan. Credit: Theo Wilson. 

Dokhi Fassihian
Theo Wilson

Women’s rights have receded in Jordan, despite the monarchy’s progressive official stance and huge U.S. government investment in promoting democracy and human rights in the country.

Engin Önder

Engin Önder (pictured center). 

The cofounder of 140journos describes how his innovative media project is filling a news gap left by politically compromised mainstream outlets.

Display honoring the memory of Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. The respected religious leader died in Chinese custody in July 2015 when serving a life sentence on trumped up charges, one of numerous Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong practitioners, and Christians to have died due to official abuse over the past two years. Credit: France-Tibet.

Sarah Cook

The crackdown on rights defenders pales in comparison to long-term oppression of religious and ethnic minorities.

Girl picking cotton in pink in Uzbekistan

Collecting cotton during Uzbekistan’s harvest season. Photo Credit: The Guardian.

Longtime Uzbek president Islam Karimov is dead, but the autocratic regime he built lives on. The country’s vital cotton industry illustrates how the system operates, and why it is unlikely to change.

woman in blue burkini swim suit
Tyler Roylance

The debate over swimwear in France touches on broader questions of provocation and outrage that go to the heart of what it means to live in a democratic society.