Whatever the outcome of this week’s vote in Congress on the Syria resolution, recent events in Syria heighten the need for the Obama Administration to present a serious, credible, and comprehensive strategy in concert with allies aimed at bringing to an end the Assad regime’s gross human rights abuses and mass slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria. Freedom House as an organization is not taking a position on the Congressional vote itself but believes that addressing the plight of the Syrian people is long overdue.
Freedom House issued a report today that showed an almost across-the-board retreat from democratic norms in Egypt since the July coup that removed President Mohamed Morsi from power. This latest edition of Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass, covering developments in the month of August, indicated an intensification of antidemocratic trends as the military leadership resorted to violent tactics to disperse supporters of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood–led government from their protest encampments in Cairo and other cities.
Since Putin’s return to the presidency, the Russian government has unleashed a crackdown on civil society, targeting in particular human rights defenders protecting the rights of minority groups. The ‘Keep Hope Alive’ campaign asks world leaders to speak up during the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg to challenge Russia to reverse this trend and to comply with its international human rights obligations.
As President Robert Mugabe is sworn in for his seventh term in office, Freedom House is dismayed by the statements and actions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the wake of Zimbabwe’s July 31st flawed elections. SADC’s assessment that the elections were free and fair despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, its call to repeal sanctions against Zimbabwe in the face of continuing democratic erosion, and the stunning election of Mugabe as the SADC’s next chairperson all call into question the organization’s judgment and legitimacy.
Freedom House is deeply disturbed by the escalating violence in Egypt, with at least 149 reported dead and hundreds injured as a result of a crackdown by Egyptian security forces against supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi. Reprisals against Egyptian Christians are on the rise, and the violence seems likely to escalate unless all parties exercise restraint.
Freedom House condemns the passage of the Public Order Management Bill by Uganda’s Parliament on August 7, 2013, which gives the government of President Yoweri Museveni broad powers to restrict free speech, curtail freedom of assembly, and stifle political dissent.