We urge all sides in the Israel-Gaza fighting to avoid civilian harm. Every civilian death or injury, whether caused by artillery, ground forces, bombings or rockets, risks intensifying and prolonging a conflict that has already lasted generations. We urge all sides to respect civilians’ most basic and important human right, which is the right to life.
Civil Society, Democratic Governance, Human Rights Defense, Rule of Law
Program Officer, Freedom in the World & Freedom of the Press
May 2, 2014
Freedom House yesterday released its annual Freedom of the Press report. The findings paint a grim picture of the state of global media freedom, with just 14 percent of the world’s population enjoying a vibrant press with diverse views and minimal state intrusion.
Freedom House applauds the announcement of a ceasefire between the government of Israel and the Hamas authorities in Gaza and hopes this will mark the beginning of a determined international effort to permanently end the violence that has cost the lives of innocent civilians.
The world was outraged when a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan was shot in the head last week simply for being an ardent advocate for the right of girls to an education. Unfortunately, Malala's case is not an isolated one. In most parts of the world today, individuals and organizations working to advance social, political, and environmental justice face imminent danger as a result of their work. In the past two months alone, a 70-year-old activist in Cambodia was sentenced to 20 years in prison because he challenged the government's policy of confiscating local land for powerful corporate interests; in southern India, police used live ammunition on villagers protesting against a proposed nuclear power plant; a human rights lawyer opposing the creation of special economic development zones was shot dead in Honduras; and in the United Arab Emirates, an outspoken critic of inhumane treatment of political prisoners was assaulted in the street twice and faced government surveillance.