Compared to the G8 meeting in June in Northern Ireland, when he seemed isolated on the issue of Syria, Vladimir Putin seemed to have lots of company in opposing any possible U.S. military action at last week’s G20 meeting in St. Petersburg. Reasonable people can have legitimate differences over what should be done in Syria after Assad’s use of chemical weapons, but before one aligns with Putin on this issue—or accepts at face value his latest proposal on international oversight of Syria’s chemical weapons—it is important to understand that the Russian leader doesn’t merely oppose use of force against his like-minded Syrian colleague.
On the 40th anniversary of the military-led coup d’état in Chile, Freedom House recognizes the victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the military regime and urges the government to fulfill its obligation to provide truth and justice to the victims and their families.
Human rights groups are routinely tarred in today’s Egyptian media—including social media—as either “traitors supporting terrorism” or “mercenaries selling their services to the highest bidder.” They are being denounced for treachery despite their utter dedication and consistency in standing by the principles of human rights and democracy through all the regime changes of the past three years. The general phenomenon is sadly familiar, but the current assault is especially severe, taking new forms and gaining wider public support.
While the mayoral election in Moscow on Sunday, September 8th represented an improvement in some respects over previously flawed elections in Russia, Freedom House urges authorities to hold off on declaring outright victory and scheduling the inauguration for Sergei Sobyanin until all outstanding issues are resolved.
Freedom House denounces the Venezuelan government’s decision to withdraw from the American Convention on Human Rights, which takes effect today, one year after late President Hugo Chavez announced his intention to pull Venezuela from the convention. Freedom House urges the Venezuelan government to reconsider and calls on Latin American democracies to encourage Venezuela to reverse its decision.
Freedom House is alarmed by the closure of 11 media outlets in Cameroon on September 6. To justify the closings, the National Communications Council accused seven newspapers, three radio stations, and one television station of disrespecting “ethics and professional norms.” The shutdown demonstrates Cameroon’s waning support for free and independent media sources, despite such guarantees laid out in its 1996 Constitution, and Freedom House condemns this clear violation of press freedom.