Freedom House condemns the decision by the Bahraini government to revoke the citizenship of 31 opposition activists, in violation of international human rights standards, and calls on it to reverse this decision immediately. The move is one of several in recent days that further highlights the government’s systematic crackdown on opposition activists and human rights defenders and is a clear sign of its failure to demonstrate a meaningful commitment to democratic reform.
Freedom House welcomes the Malawian government’s decision today to temporarily suspend its pernicious anti-homosexuality laws. This is a positive first step in ending the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons; however, Freedom House calls upon the parliament to repeal all legislation that criminalizes homosexuality and for the government to take steps to ensure the safety of all LGBT persons.
On October 25, the year-long process of reregistration of religious groups in Kazakhstan came to an end. In the fall of 2011, after a number of startling terrorist attacks rocked Kazakhstan’s carefully cultivated image of stability, the government passed a new law requiring all religious organizations in the country to submit new applications for official registration. Without registration, the activities of the groups would be illegal. Both “traditional” religions, like Russian Orthodoxy and Sunni Islam, and “minority” religions underwent the procedure, which included complex and ambiguous new membership requirements and “expert” vetting of religious texts. Under the new rules, the number of religious organizations in the country has dropped by over 30 percent, from 4,551 to 3,088. The number of confessions with at least one registered organization dropped even more dramatically, from 42 to 17.
The shocking attack against a radio host on Monday, October 29 illustrates the hostile climate for journalists in Bolivia and the dire need for journalist protections. Freedom House urges the Bolivian government to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the incident in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Ten years ago, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored an overwhelming victory in elections for the Turkish parliament. Its triumph represented much more than a normal rotation of power between one traditional party and another. As a party—or, perhaps more accurately, a movement—with roots in moderate Islamism, the AKP stood poles apart from the secularist parties that had dominated Turkish politics for much of the previous century.
As the internet becomes a battleground for human rights & democratic activism, Freedom House is headed to Azerbaijan for the Internet Governance Forum, the UN's flagship conference for discussing internet policy.
On November 5, 2012, Freedom House will select the winners of its Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Incubator Project, a competition to fund Internet freedom initiatives around the world, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Seven presenters will pitch their innovative project ideas to a panel of judges at a public event, and on November 10, the judges will select at least two projects to receive $15,000 each in funding.