Freedom House mourns the loss of Laura Pollan, Cuban activist and founder of the group Ladies in White, who died on October 16 at the age of 63. Pollan made a lasting contribution to democracy and human rights in Cuba as one of the leading voices pressing for change.
About a year ago I attended a meeting whose purpose was to showcase newly elected Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych before an audience consisting mostly of representatives of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Yanukovych’s remarks were carefully crafted to appeal to these guests. But he devoted the bulk of his presentation to an explanation of his commitment to the strengthening of Ukrainian democracy. Ukraine, he declared, would be Western-oriented under his watch. He promised to protect freedom of the press, minority rights, and—here he was especially emphatic—the rule of law.
Freedom House joins Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in calling for the veto of the Ros-Lehtinen U.N. Reform Bill. If passed, the bill would threaten national security, foreign policy and efforts to monitor human rights situations worldwide.
Freedom House is deeply troubled by the recent outbreak of violence in Cairo that resulted in the deaths of more than two dozen Egyptians and condemns the manipulation of the media by the ruling authorities, which directly contributed to the violence.