On October 11 and 12, the AU will meet in an extraordinary summit to discuss pulling out of the Rome Statute, the agreement that created the ICC. Such a decision would have major implications both for ICC itself and for accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses in Africa and around the world. The nearly three dozen African countries that are currently party to the Rome Statute must vote against this proposal and reaffirm their commitment to justice for victims, an end to impunity at the highest levels for the gravest crimes, and an international system that supports the rule of law.
Freedom House urges President Obama to address the democracy and human rights challenges confronting Africa in his upcoming visit to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3. President Obama must stress to African leaders that building durable democracies as well as vibrant economies is essential to sustained growth in the region.
The findings for Freedom in the World 2013, which were released this week, reflect a complex picture for the state of global freedom. On one hand, the number of countries ranked in the Free category increased to 90, an impressive share of the world’s 195 sovereign states. At the same time, more countries, 27, suffered significant setbacks in their freedom indicators than showed notable gains, 16, marking the seventh consecutive year in which declines outnumbered improvements.
Freedom House welcomes Abdoulaye Wade’s announcement that he will concede the presidency in Senegal after losing a run-off election to his competitor, Macky Sall. The reportedly free and fair elections should serve as an important example to neighboring countries in a region where electoral turnovers are often fraught with violence.
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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