About Special Reports
More than 1.6 billion people—23 percent of the world’s population—have no say in how they are governed and face severe consequences if they try to exercise their most basic rights, such as expressing their views, assembling peacefully, and organizing independently of the state. Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment, and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. In these countries, state control over public life is pervasive, and individuals have little if any recourse to justice for crimes the state commits against them.
The report “A Chronicle of Violence: The events in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (Osh Region)” gives a detailed chronology of the events in the Osh Province from April 29 to June 115. Report prepared by Freedom House, the Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway).
Economic reforms are causing visible changes and raising expectations in Cuba, a Freedom House survey found. Self-employment is becoming more widespread, and more Cubans now prefer to work independently than for the government. Many Cubans welcome the opportunities that self-employment brings, but others are skeptical or even resentful about the changes taking place in Cuba.
Regulation has become one of the most common and pernicious tools used to restrict media freedom around the world, even as the broadcast sector has opened dramatically in recent years in a number of countries and regions. Striking the balance between the public’s right to freedom of expression and the state’s obligation to protect their citizens from violence continues to be a serious challenge amid the explosive growth of terrestrial, satellite and digital media. This report explores issues of government oversight, self-regulatory bodies, and licensing that continue to plague governments and free speech advocates whose interests often seem diametrically opposed. Through in-depth country studies and an examination of recent cases in a range of media environments where media regulation poses a threat to media diversity and freedom, this report offers several cautionary examples as well as recommendations for reform.
“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.
In September 2010, Cuban president Raul Castro announced the beginning of sweeping economic reforms, including the elimination of a million public sector jobs, the easing of restrictions on private enterprise, and the first Communist Party Congress since 1997. To explore what Cubans think about the announced reforms, Freedom House conducted in-depth interviews with 120 people in six provinces from December 2010 to January 2011. These interviews also assessed access to information and technology on the island, and explored Cubans’ values and beliefs, which Freedom House compared with the findings from other countries in the World Values Survey study.
Freedom House has prepared this special report entitled Worst of the Worst: The World’s Most Repressive Societies, as a companion to its annual survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World. The special report provides summary country reports, tables, and graphical information on the countries that receive the lowest combined ratings for political rights and civil liberties in Freedom in the World, and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights violations.
During difficult budget times, it is natural that foreign aid should come under the same scrutiny as other parts of the budget. Indeed, a recent public opinion poll on budget priorities found that most Americans estimate that foreign assistance comprises 21% of the annual budget, and favor reducing it to around 11% of the total budget.Given the reality—that U.S. foreign aid currently makes up only about 1% of the federal budget—further cuts to what is already a miniscule part of the budget are both unwarranted and would appear to have little popular support.
In February 2010, under the auspices of Freedom House, David J. Kramer and two independent analysts, Robert Nurick and Damon Wilson, traveled to Ukraine to assess the state of democracy and human rights one year after the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych as the country’s fourth president since independence. The team traveled to Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv to meet with a wide range of government officials, political opposition figures, civil society actors, journalists, and students.