The United States is a welcome addition to the United Nations Human Rights Council, but the country will face an uphill battle in restoring credibility to a body that also counts some of the world's most repressive regimes among its membership.
Freedom House condemns Pakistan's recent decision to violate international law by handing over a group of Uighur exiles to the Chinese authorities. The case is a disturbing sign of China's growing influence in the region and illustrates how vulnerable Uighurs, a Muslim minority group in Western China, are to persecution both inside and outside China.
Freedom House strongly supports the Global Online Freedom Act, a new bill to prevent U.S. technology companies from assisting repressive regimes in their efforts to identify, silence and punish democracy and human rights activists on the internet. The GOFA bill is critical to combating the growth of internet censorship and Congress should move it quickly through the committee stage and onto the floor of the House for a vote.
Freedom House urges the European Union to give civil society a meaningful role in developing the Eastern Partnership, a new initiative aimed at strengthening ties with six former Soviet Republics. The partnership is expected to be announced tomorrow in Prague at a summit of high-level representatives from Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Freedom House and UN Watch strongly urge United Nations members to block seven countries from obtaining seats on the Human Rights Council, including three countries that are among the world's most repressive regimes.
Journalists faced an increasingly grim working environment in 2008, with global press freedom declining for a seventh straight year and deterioration occurring for the first time in every region, according to Freedom House's annual media study. The rollback was not confined to traditionally authoritarian states; with Israel, Italy and Hong Kong slipping from the study's Free category to Partly Free status.