Freedom House urges President Obama to address the democracy and human rights challenges confronting Africa in his upcoming visit to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3. President Obama must stress to African leaders that building durable democracies as well as vibrant economies is essential to sustained growth in the region.
Freedom House applauds the Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismiss the case on Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California. Both decisions represent major milestones for human rights and LGBTI equality in the United States.
The transition from the 20th to the 21st century marked a pivotal moment in the Western Balkans. By the end of 2000, the three leaders—Franjo Tuđman of Croatia, Alija Izetbegović of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Slobodan Milošević of Serbia—who had presided over the most destructive crisis in Europe since the end of the Second World War were no longer on the political scene. Moreover, the electoral success of democratic coalitions in Croatia and Serbia, the progress toward democratic standards recognized in Albanian local elections, and electoral reforms introduced in BiH all aroused a sense of optimism for democratization in the region. Thirteen years later, where do these countries stand on the path toward democracy? Has their performance fulfilled expectations?
On June 26, UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Freedom House stands in solidarity with victims of torture, and with the activists who work to rehabilitate victims and to eliminate torture around the world.
Freedom House today sends its best wishes to Mikhail Khodorkovsky on his 50th birthday. Khodorkovsky, currently serving sentences after convictions in two lengthy and politically motivated trials, has become known worldwide as an outspoken advocate for individual and economic freedoms after his arrest in 2003 and subsequent prosecutions designed to silence him and intimidate other potential dissenting voices.
Freedom House condemns a violent assault by Russian authorities on the staff of one of the country's most prominent NGOs, “For Human Rights,” including its chair, Lev Ponomaryov, and calls on the international community to register its strong opposition to such thuggish tactics.