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The latest from Freedom House:

Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia’s national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today.

Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia’s national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today. Any revisions should involve meaningful consultation with civil society organizations and aim to support their activities instead of creating a legal framework allowing for arbitrary closure of organizations or the denial of registration.

International attention has turned to Eurasia in recent days, as Kazakhstan uses deadly violence and draconian information controls to crush widening labor unrest in its strategic oil region, and Russia faces the most serious popular challenge to its puppet-theater political system in many years. But long before the current shocks, when things were looking more placid in both countries, there was abundant evidence of trouble to come. Six months ago, Freedom House published a report that pointed to the glaring vulnerabilities of dead-end authoritarian regimes across the former Soviet Union. It noted that these entrenched authoritarian systems exhibited many of the same features that led to the collapse of their Middle Eastern counterparts in the Arab Spring.

Freedom House denounces the Kyrgyz Supreme Court’s decision on December 20, 2011, to uphold the life sentence for ethnic Uzbek human rights defender Azimjan Askarov and long-term sentences for seven other ethnic Uzbeks, all citizens of Kyrgyzstan. They were convicted in September 2010, of organizing ethnic clashes and involvement in the murder of a policeman.

On December 20, the Hungarian Media Council reassigned the frequencies of three radio stations, removing one of Hungary’s only remaining independent stations, KlubRadio, from the airways. The Media Council’s decision to essentially ban KlubRadio is a major blow to media freedom in Hungary.

Recent attacks, arrests of journalists and attempts to prohibit media coverage during deadly clashes between police and striking oil workers indicate a deteriorating climate for press freedom in Kazakhstan.

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