Freedom House welcomes the Government of Mexico’s latest step to protect journalists and human rights defenders. On November 12, the government appointed a board to oversee the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which will help ensure adequate protection against attacks to freedom of expression nationwide.
Freedom House urges President Obama to highlight ongoing human rights issues and to meet with civil society during his upcoming trip to Southeast Asia, which includes visits to Cambodia, Burma, and Thailand. These stops are scheduled during the President’s travel to the region November 17-20, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and meet with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh. It will be the first time a sitting United States President will visit Cambodia and Burma.
The reelection of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council was a positive development in a largely disappointing election by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday, in which seven countries with poor human rights records—Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela—were also elected.
November 10, 2012 – A project offering internet users in Syria a way to securely connect to the internet and another to establish a forum to monitor internet censorship in Myanmar were selected as the winners of Freedom House’s IGF Incubator Challenge, an international competition to fund Internet freedom initiatives. U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard L. Morningstar presented the winners - Anas Helali from Syria and Htaike Htaike Aung from Myanmar - at a ceremony held in the Old City of Baku on November 10.
Freedom House applauds the Obama Administration for authorizing new sanctions against nine individuals and organizations in Iran accused of human rights abuses, including censorship and blocking of citizen internet access. The sanctions, announced by the U.S. Treasury Department on November 8, are a positive step by the administration to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its abysmal human rights record.
On November 5, 2012, Freedom House will select the winners of its Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Incubator Project, a competition to fund Internet freedom initiatives around the world, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Seven presenters will pitch their innovative project ideas to a panel of judges at a public event, and on November 10, the judges will select at least two projects to receive $15,000 each in funding.
One-third of the candidates for the November 2012 UN Human Rights Council elections are unqualified for the job, according to a new Freedom House policy paper. These countries fail to meet the UN's criteria that council members must “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”