Freedom House welcomes the announcement Wednesday, October 9th that the U.S. government is cutting off some aid to the Egyptian government, and urges the U.S. government not to resume this aid, and to consider limiting government-to-government assistance further, until the Egyptian military takes irreversible steps to return Egypt to a democratically-elected civilian government and address its intensifying human rights abuses.
Freedom House is seriously concerned by a September 23 Egyptian court ruling that banned activities of the Muslim Brotherhood. The ruling, which can be appealed and which the government has not yet implemented, ordered the seizure of the assets of the Brotherhood’s network of charitable activities and social services, which was registered as a non-governmental organization, effectively shutting it down.
The use of chemical weapons in Syria and brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives, are deeply disturbing events, yet they are just the most glaring examples of a widespread assault on freedom taking place in countries around the world. At times this assault grabs news headlines, as when Russia’s law against “homosexual propaganda” prompted international criticism or a prominent dissident is put on trial. More often, savvy autocrats misuse laws and administrative procedures to subtly restrict civil society groups and silence their critics. Click here to read Daniel Calingaert's op-ed for CNN.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The Egypt Democracy Compass is designed to provide a snapshot of the country’s trajectory, either toward or further away from a truly democratic system, on a monthly basis. The compass will assess progress in eight key components of democratic transition: the constitution, elections, political participation, civilian control and security-sector reform, media freedom and freedom of expression, religious freedom, peaceful assembly and civic activism, and judicial independence and rule of law.
This report evaluates the risks and vulnerabilities of mobile phone services and apps in 12 specified countries, analyzing multiple mobiel technologies to determine their capacity to protect security and privacy and to combat censorship and surveillance.
Download the full report here.
Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rightsexamines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship. In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.
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