Freedom at Issue: Insights on the global struggle for democracy | Freedom House

Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

It has been less than four months since heavily manipulated elections gave Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party complete control over the executive and a supermajority in Parliament, and already the international community is signaling that it is ready to move on. Admittedly, other countries in Africa pose more urgent threats in terms of war, terrorism, and mass atrocities, but Mugabe’s return to unfettered power in Zimbabwe could erase the democratic and economic gains the country has achieved over the past five years.


Here are a few numbers that illustrate the state of Zimbabwe roughly 100 days after President Robert Mugabe’s landslide reelection.

More than 100 days after he stole his latest reelection, it is safe to say that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has gotten away with the crime. Other leaders in the region may be studying his methods, which makes it all the more important for democracy advocates to do the same.

Ecuador’s government is preparing to move forward with an oil-drilling project that will disrupt the life of indigenous tribes and damage the country’s—and the world’s—ecological patrimony. Although a significant number of Ecuadorians oppose the decision, the administration’s repressive policies toward the media and civil society are preventing an open debate.


Here are seven key countries (listed in alphabetical order) that have demonstrated little or no respect for human rights and should be opposed in their bids for seats on the Un Human Rights Council.

Five years ago, the Maldives elected a new leader, Mohamed Nasheed, in the first free and fair balloting in the country’s history. But Nasheed was forced from office in 2012, and with his political and institutional rivals now threatening to scuttle fresh elections this weekend, the democratic gains of recent years hang in the balance.

Last Monday, a jeep plowed through a group of pedestrians on Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square, killing at least five people and injuring dozens before going up in flames beneath a portrait of Mao Zedong. Chinese officials promptly took control of the narrative, claiming that the event was a premeditated attack by members of the Uighur ethnic group, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from China’s northwest. Lest anyone suggest otherwise, the authorities arrested foreign journalists covering the scene and promptly censored discussions on Chinese social networks.


Forbes
magazine this week ranked Vladimir Putin number one on its list of the world’s most powerful people. Here are a few of the many reasons why this designation is misplaced.

In the days since the United States announced a partial cutoff of military aid to Egypt based on human rights concerns, foreign policy experts and commentators have been asking what it all means. Is it a wrongheaded blunder? Too little, too late? Is the United States losing Egypt?

For some time now, democracy promotion has been under concentrated attack from authoritarian sources ranging from Robert Mugabe and Vladimir Putin to the leaders of Venezuela. More recently, criticism has spread to the democratic world, with the United States front and center.

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