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The latest from Freedom House:

The current situation in Russia has reignited the debate over whether it is acceptable for repressive, nondemocratic countries to host international sporting events. After all, many of these events, such as the Olympics and soccer’s European Cup, cite respect for human rights and the rejection of any form of discrimination as part of their mission statements and governing statutes. But if current trends are any guide, dictatorships will remain free to disregard those values and still host international events.

The consequences of bad decisions in Egypt have left the country in a trap between the authoritarian leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, observed Nancy Okail on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show.

Freedom House is deeply disturbed by reports that photographer Ahmed al-Fardan, the 2013 winner of Freedom House’s “Images of Repression and Freedom” photo contest, was detained and beaten by police in Bahrain on August 8, in an attempt to prevent him from covering recent protests.  Freedom House calls on the Bahraini government to respect the rights to freedom of assembly and to a free press, and to reverse recently adopted regulations banning public assembly and limiting free speech.

Freedom House is deeply disturbed by the violence in Egypt, with at least 700 reported dead and thousands injured as a result of a crackdown by Egyptian security forces against supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

Despite the mistakes committed by former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over the past year in Egypt, and despite the incitement and violence demonstrated by some Brotherhood supporters yesterday, the killing of hundreds of protesters carried out by the Egyptian military government was unnecessary, unjustified, and in contravention of international human rights standards. These events demand a shift in U.S. policy that is urgent and long overdue.

The June protests have opened a long overdue debate on how the government can adequately address issues like healthcare, education, and social services in a way that meets popular expectations.  The magnitude of the protests and the widespread demands they summoned forth suggest that Brazilian institutions have serious flaws and serious change will be required to bring them in line with the country’s new social and economic realities.

The arrests this week of Naw Ohn Hla and Rohingya activist Than Shwe are a continuation of a disturbing trend of the government using the peaceful assembly law to stymie the work of human rights defenders.  Freedom House condemns the arrests and calls for the activists’ immediate release.

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