Freedom House condemns the prison sentences handed down to ten activists in Burma’s Rakhine state on September 26 for participating in a peaceful protest. The ten should be released immediately and the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, under which they were jailed, should be amended to comply with international human rights standards.
The arrests this week of Naw Ohn Hla and Rohingya activist Than Shwe are a continuation of a disturbing trend of the government using the peaceful assembly law to stymie the work of human rights defenders. Freedom House condemns the arrests and calls for the activists’ immediate release.
Twenty-six organizations submitted a detailed letter to President Obama expressing concern over U.S. companies avoiding making full disclosures on their investment activities in the reports submitted as a requirement for investors in Burma. The joint letter requested the U.S. Administration to take the necessary steps to establish a precedent of thorough and high-quality reporting by U.S. companies.
Lauren Galacia manages the Asia program. Prior to joining Freedom House, she oversaw the development and implementation of citizen engagement programs throughout Asia and Eurasia, with a focus on Thailand and Burma.
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.