Ukraine gets better rating of civic freedoms

The rating of civic freedoms got better due to increasing the peoples activity, growing independence of the courts and getting more freedom of speech after presidential election – states the American organization Freedom House. At the same time organization lowered the Russian status to “not free” first time since 1991.

“Russia’s step backwards into the Not Free category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country’s law-enforcement system,” said Freedom House Executive Director, Jennifer Windsor. “These moves mark a dangerous and disturbing drift toward authoritarianism in Russia, made more worrisome by President Putin’s recent heavy-handed meddling in political developments in neighboring countries such as Ukraine.”

Other former Soviet countries registered setbacks in 2004. In Belarus, which already ranked as the least free country in Europe, harassment of opposition political forces ensured the victory of President Aleksander Lukashenka in an election in which he ran virtually unopposed. In Armenia, the government’s violent suppression of peaceful civic protestors underscored its increasingly unresponsive and undemocratic rule.

The region was not devoid of positive developments, however. Ukraine’s civil liberties rating improved in the wake of pronounced civic activism, greater judicial independence, and the widespread expansion of media freedoms following a flawed presidential election. In Georgia, the January election of Mikhail Saakashvili as president, and a well administered parliamentary election in March, improved the country’s political rights score after international monitors deemed voting free and fair.

“The positive experiences in Georgia and Ukraine indicate that democratic ferment and non-violent civic protest are potent forces for political change,” said Ms. Windsor. “They also reinforce freedom’s gradual global advance.”

According to the survey, 89 countries are Free. Their 2.8 billion inhabitants (44 percent of the world’s population) enjoy a broad range of rights. Fifty-four countries representing 1.2 billion people (19 percent) are considered Partly Free. Political rights and civil liberties are more limited in these countries, in which corruption, dominant ruling parties, or, in some cases, ethnic or religious strife are often the norm. The survey finds that 49 countries are Not Free.The 2.4 billion inhabitants (37 percent) of these countries, three-fifths of whom live in China, are denied most basic political rights and civil liberties.

Of the 49 countries rated Not Free, 19 received the worst possible numerical rating (7) for political rights. The broadest restrictions on political activity take place in Belarus, Burma, Cuba, China, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Haiti, Iraq, Laos, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Four territories, Chechnya (Russia), Kashmir (Pakistan), Tibet (China), and Western Sahara (Morocco) also received the lowest political rights rating.

The broadest violations of civil liberties—including freedom of speech, rule of law, and personal autonomy—take place in 9 countries: Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan. Chechnya and Tibet are also included in this category.

A total of 8 countries—Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan—receive the lowest possible scores for both political rights and civil liberties, making them the most repressive regimes in the world. Chechnya and Tibet also fall into this category.


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