Repression

The Egyptian public and the international community were shocked last week by televised images of civilian Hamada Saber being dragged, stripped, and brutally beaten by police officers amid ongoing clashes between police and protesters in Cairo.

This Thursday, former senator Chuck Hagel will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee to seek confirmation as secretary of defense. While he will not have primary responsibility for U.S. foreign relations in that post, he will have substantial influence over U.S. policy toward regimes that are hostile to both American interests and democracy. Senator Hagel’s record on these issues raises critical questions that should be addressed during the hearing, which are included in the following blog post.

Driven by a growing fear of its own people and their demands for better governance, the Sudanese regime is intensifying its assault on humanitarian organizations and human rights activists, both at home and abroad.

 

As 2012 winds down, it is time again to reflect on the year’s human rights developments. Unfortunately, the bad seemed to outweigh the good this year, as many authoritarians held on to power and continued upheaval in the Middle East threatened to derail any democratic progress.

By: Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Guest Blogger

Last month, North Korea claimed preposterously to have discovered a “unicorn lair” in an ancient burial site. This month, there are deadly-serious reports of a successful missile launch. And so the world lurches again from laughing at North Korea’s curious totalitarian theme park and wacky dictator, to wondering with concern whether this leader, like the capricious child with superhuman powers in the science-fiction story “It’s a Good Life,” will destroy the world.

Before autocratic regimes fully grasped the democratic nature of the internet, netizens basked in the sunshine of global intercommunication. But in a backlash against digitally driven uprisings, such as those of the Arab Spring, tyrants are now maneuvering to bring users’ online and mobile activities under the shadow of outdated and arbitrary legal restrictions. One sign of this crackdown is the alarming number of digital activists behind bars around the world.

As China's Communist Party leaders prepare meet in Beijing for the monumental 18th Party Congress, the regime's army of domestic security forces has been busy trying to silence dissidents and preempt protests, online and offline.
 

The spirited exchange at last Thursday's vice presidential debate elevated attention to foreign policy, which will be a dominant theme of the next two debates. President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney have begun to flesh out their views on the challenges America faces abroad, but they have said little about a range of pressing international issues and skirted critical aspects of stories that currently grab the news headlines. In an effort to stimulate deeper debate on U.S. foreign policy, particularly on the future of democracy and human rights around the world, Freedom House has submitted a series of questions to the presidential candidates.

Photo Credit | Al Jazeera English

Freedom House’s recently released Freedom on the Net report found that more countries have suffered declines in internet freedom than improvements since the last edition, providing a powerful reminder of the challenges for international policies to promote freedom online. These policies are struggling to keep up with rapid changes in information and communication technologies, and with the increasingly sophisticated restrictions on internet freedom around the world.

The final results of the London Olympics are in, and those who root for democracy in other contexts can take pride in the outcome. Nearly two-thirds of the total medals—and of gold medals—were won by countries that are designated as Free in Freedom in the World. Countries designated as Not Free grabbed slightly more than a quarter of all medals and around 30 percent of gold medals.

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