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Senior Program Associate, Africa Programs

The reemergence of unconditional solidarity among Africa’s incumbent leaders is threatening respect for human rights and good governance throughout the continent. 

Staff Editor

It was reported last week that Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current chair-in-office of the 53-nation Commonwealth, may not attend the annual Commonwealth Day celebrations in London on March 10. A recent UN human rights report and data from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World survey suggest that he has good reason to avoid the spotlight.

Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report paints a bleak picture of democracy and human rights in Africa overall, with 88 percent of the population living in countries designated either Not Free or Partly Free. Nevertheless, there were a number of small victories on the continent during 2013, even in countries where the prevailing trend remains negative.

For those aiming to promote democracy around the globe, Mandela’s life holds invaluable lessons for current and future struggles for freedom. He is renowned for his principled opposition to a racist and undemocratic regime in South Africa, but his cause was also the cause of all people who seek to uphold the universal principles of liberty and equality, anywhere in the world.




Senior Director for Program Strategy, Development and Learning and Director for Central, East and West Africa Programs

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