An international delegation of press freedom organisations, led by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, met today (3 April) with Serhii Liovochkin, Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, to discuss freedom of expression issues facing the country.
WAN-IFRA and representatives from Article 19, Freedom House, Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Ukraine Association of Press Publishers, met with Mr Liovochkin following two-days of meetings with newspapers, broadcasters and civil society organisations and conveyed their press freedom concerns.
Burma’s April 1 by-elections are a crucial step toward assuring the international community that the country is making meaningful progress toward democratic reform. Freedom House welcomes the decision to allow foreign observers to monitor the election as a positive step toward safeguarding the transparency and legitimacy of the election process. However, we remain concerned about reports of fraud and harassment in the lead up to elections, including the March 23 deportation of Somsri Hananuntasuk, executive director of the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), a regional network of civil society organizations promoting democratization.
The decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to waive the conditions mandated by Congress for releasing $1.3 billion of military aid to Egypt undermines efforts to support democracy in the country, according to Freedom House. Legislation signed by President Obama in December 2011 required the Secretary of State to certify that the Egyptian government is “supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections; implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law” before military aid could be released. At this time, these conditions have not been met, and a waiver should not have been granted.
Freedom House condemns the overthrow of Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure in an army-led coup that has dissolved the country’s democratically elected government and seized control of state media, and joins the African Union and others in calling for a restoration of civilian government under constitutional rule, so that elections, scheduled for next month, may proceed as planned.
Freedom House welcomes the passage of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which calls for further investigation into the human rights atrocities committed during and after the civil war in Sri Lanka and urges the government of Sri Lanka to comply with the recommendations put forth in the resolution to help bring justice and reconciliation to its people after decades of suffering.
Freedom House condemns the arrests over the weekend of an estimated 80 Cuban dissidents, including the leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and calls on the Cuban government to release those who remain in custody and to cease arbitrary detentions of nonviolent civic groups.
The arbitrary arrest of John Kapito, chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Commission, is yet another alarming example of the rapidly deteriorating environment for human rights defenders in Malawi, according to Freedom House.