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The latest from Freedom House:

Washington Post
by David J. Kramer
In her March 10 op-ed, “Why Egypt moved on the NGOs,” Fayza Aboulnaga, Egypt’s minister for planning and international cooperation, left out key facts and generally misrepresented the campaign she has been leading against civil society in that country. It is important to set the record straight.
Read the rest of the article here.

Freedom House remains strongly opposed to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s bid to reconsider the life sciences prize associated with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, because of his government’s human rights abuses, and calls on the UNESCO Executive Board to permanently remove the prize from consideration.

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Several youth activists from Russia were part of a delegation brought by Freedom House to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 19th session in Geneva, Switzerland.  In light of recent Russian elections resulting in Vladimir Putin’s return to power, Freedom House spoke with two of the activists about their reaction to the recent election and what the outcome means for civil society.

Freedom House is very concerned that an article published on March 4, 2012 in El Ciudadano misrepresented Freedom House’s position on freedom of expression in Ecuador. The article included inaccurate facts about a meeting between representatives of the Ecuadorean government and Freedom House; Freedom House welcomes the Ecuadorean government’s move to retract the article.

Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai’s decision to endorse a document enforcing a “code of conduct” that limits women’s freedoms is a grave setback for women in Afghanistan. This decision, which comes a day before International Women’s Day on March 8, represents a serious threat to the advancements women have achieved in the country since the fall of the Taliban.

By: Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Guest Blogger

At a meeting of cultural workers on February 26, following his landslide reelection victory on February 12, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov announced that the Era of Might and Happiness has officially begun in Turkmenistan. Thus ends the Era of Great Renewal, as the Turkmen leader dubbed the first five years of his reign. That in turn was preceded by the Golden Age of the late president for life, Saparmurat Niyazov. Evidently, no more reform is needed, and the people are supposed to be happy with what they have.

Freedom House mourns the loss of U.S. Representative Donald Payne, who died today at the age of 77. He was the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights and previously served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.