Freedom House applauds international efforts to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity exemplified by global events on May 17 marking the International Day to End Homophobia (IDAHO). The coordination of events in more than 100 countries worldwide, including countries with poor human rights records like Burma, Algeria, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, is a positive step forward in the struggle for equal rights for LGBTI. Despite these positive events, a number of troubling attacks on the day’s supporters illustrates the continuing need for vigilance in acknowledging rights abuses and ending discrimination.
Lisa Davis, Freedom House's senior advisor for international legal affairs, submitted testimony for the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about strengthening US support for human rights defenders and civil society abroad on May 17, 2012.
Freedom House mourns the tragic death of journalist Angel Alfredo Villatoro, who was found dead last night in the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, and calls on Honduran authorities to follow through on their stated commitment to bring his killer to justice, and to do more ensure the protection of journalists.
Earlier this month, Chinese authorities were forced to temporarily suspend trading of shares in the online unit of the People’s Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party. The price had soared so rapidly since the website’s April debut on the Shanghai Stock Exchange—giving it a greater market value than the New York Times—that it triggered regulatory rules aimed at halting speculative manipulation. This development is just the sort of absurd extreme that comes shortly before an economic bubble bursts.
At a rally commemorating the ninth anniversary of the electoral victory of her late husband, former president Néstor Kirchner, President Fernández sang the praises of Argentina’s vibrant democracy and political progress. Under the slogan “United and Organized,” her fiery 45-minute speech was enthusiastically received by the estimated 100,000 supporters in attendance. However, most in the Argentine media would beg to differ with their president’s depiction of the current level of democracy in the country. Indeed, contrary to Fernández’s idealistic portrayal, freedom of speech in Argentina is in a dismal state, and is poised to worsen before it improves.