Freedom House strongly opposes the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s decision to award a controversial prize financed by one of the world’s longest-ruling dictators, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
Senior Director for Program Strategy, Development and Learning
June 13, 2012
This week, U.S. officials will once again welcome one of the world’s most kleptocratic living autocrats: president of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. What possible reason, you might ask, does the administration have for meeting with a man who has amassed an enormous personal fortune by siphoning the lion’s share of his country’s wealth for himself and his cronies while his citizens are literally starving? We are wondering the same thing.
Until recently, it could at least be said that countries with objectionable political systems played host to major global sports competitions only occasionally. Forty-four years elapsed between the Berlin and Moscow Olympics, and it was another 28 years before the games were held in Beijing. Second-tier events in dictatorial states tended to be limited to low-profile sports like weightlifting and wrestling. But all that is changing fast. Some of the most prestigious international athletic competitions have recently been held, or are now set to be held, in countries that regularly make world headlines with their rigged elections, state-dominated media, repression of minorities, or full-bore retreat from democracy to authoritarianism.
Freedom House remains strongly opposed to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s bid to reconsider the life sciences prize associated with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, because of his government’s human rights abuses, and calls on the UNESCO Executive Board to permanently remove the prize from consideration.
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.
Sudan, North Korea and Uzbekistan are prominent among the most repressive regimes in the world, according to a report released by Freedom House. The study, “The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies 2007,” named seventeen countries with the worst records for political rights and civil liberties, and pointed to thirteen countries which have been on the list for five years or more.
Freedom House released an analysis of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa showing that the region has experienced notable increases in freedom over the past generation, although more setbacks than gains were seen in 2006.
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