During the years after World War II, a phenomenon emerged in several countries of communist Eastern Europe called “anti-Semitism without Jews.” Although the Holocaust had all but annihilated Jewish populations throughout the region, postwar communist regimes exploited lingering anti-Jewish sentiment to divert attention from their failures. Communist leaders would not, of course, refer directly to Jews when they denounced the enemies of socialism. They spoke instead of “cosmopolitan elements,” or used other stock phrases that evoked the notion of Jews as outsiders with suspect loyalties. The fact that few Jews—and no Jewish capitalists—remained in these countries was of little importance. When the leadership encountered difficulties, blaming the Jews remained a tried-and-true means of deflecting public frustrations over the lack of prosperity or freedom. Today, something similar is under way in Latin America, though Jews are not the chosen scapegoat. The pattern in this case could be described as “anti-imperialism without imperialists.”
The decision by the Bahraini government to ban all public rallies and demonstrations is a glaring example of its failure to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to implementing democratic reforms or end human rights abuses that have continued to escalate since February 2011. Freedom House condemns the move and calls on the government to reverse the ban immediately.
Freedom House congratulates Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, two brave Iranian nationals who have been awarded the European Parliament’s prestigious 2012 Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and Freedom of Thought.
1/2 Revolution," a new documentary that follows a group of friends in central Cairo as they document the early days of the Egyptian revolution, provides an extraordinary illustration of the chaos, fear and uncertainty Egyptians faced in the days before Mubarak's ouster.
The decision by Kuwait’s Interior Ministry to ban ‘unlicensed’ peaceful demonstrations is worrisome and is an indicator of the deteriorating conditions for free expression and assembly in Kuwait. Authorities must reverse the ban on ‘unlicensed’ demonstrations and implement policies that ensure free speech and assembly without fear of prosecution.
Freedom House is deeply concerned about the intimidation and violence aimed at journalists and human rights defenders in Papua, Indonesia, and calls on the Indonesian government to end the culture of impunity that has allowed the violence to escalate.
Freedom House today released a public letter urging Peruvian president, Ollanta Humala, not to grant a presidential pardon to ex-President Alberto Fujimori, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity.