The current situation in Russia has reignited the debate over whether it is acceptable for repressive, nondemocratic countries to host international sporting events. After all, many of these events, such as the Olympics and soccer’s European Cup, cite respect for human rights and the rejection of any form of discrimination as part of their mission statements and governing statutes. But if current trends are any guide, dictatorships will remain free to disregard those values and still host international events.
The June protests have opened a long overdue debate on how the government can adequately address issues like healthcare, education, and social services in a way that meets popular expectations. The magnitude of the protests and the widespread demands they summoned forth suggest that Brazilian institutions have serious flaws and serious change will be required to bring them in line with the country’s new social and economic realities.
The recommendations by Bahrain's National Assembly to quash the August 14th protests and expand the legal justification for further suppression of political dissent constitute a serious new threat to human rights in Bahrain, particularly freedom of expression and assembly, and are a troubling development in a legal system that already has a substantial record of rights violations.
Caption: Bayard Rustin and Dr. Eugene Reed at Freedom House Photo Credit: Library of Congress
All who love liberty and equal rights should raise a glass in celebration of Bayard Rustin’s designation as a Medal of Freedom recipient.
The fall of Hosni Mubarak raised hopes for a democratic transition in Egypt, but these hopes have been dashed by successive governments. Human rights abuses increased during the interim rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), persisted under the elected government of President Mohamed Morsi, and have continued since the military-backed government of Adly Mansour took power on July 3. In the past month, Egypt’s democratic institutions have suffered a significant decline, according to Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass.
What happens in the next few months may determine whether Tunisia becomes a functioning constitutional democracy or finds itself embroiled in escalating political confrontations driven by appeals to the street rather than the ballot box.
This week marks the second anniversary of the arrest of former Ukrainian prime minister Yuliya Tymoshenko. A polarizing personality, Tymoshenko was a key leader of the forces that took power after challenging the results of deeply flawed 2004 elections in what became known as the Orange Revolution. In the 2010 presidential election, she was narrowly defeated by Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the Party of Regions, whose earlier presidential bid had been thwarted by the Orange protests.
When a far-right political party with a nationalist, anti-immigration, and Euroskeptic agenda joined a coalition government after Austria’s 1999 parliamentary elections, the 14 other countries of the European Union (EU) balked. The inclusion of Jörg Haider’s Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) challenged an implicit agreement among EU members that extremist parties would be barred from central government positions.
Côte d’Ivoire has yet to reckon with the crimes committed during the conflict that followed the November 2010 presidential election, in which 3,000 people were killed and over 150 women were raped. Although the country has taken some steps to pursue justice, they have been slow and largely ineffective.The unresolved issues from the postelection period have contributed to countrywide political polarization and reduced faith in both the government and the electoral process. If these crimes are not addressed, the country’s prospects of becoming a successful democracy will be in jeopardy.