Freedom in decline worldwide: US report

 

Global freedom declined for a fifth straight year in 2010 as authoritarian regimes dug in worldwide and crime and unrest plagued democracies like Mexico, a US watchdog said Thursday.

In “Freedom in the World 2011” the Washington-based Freedom House said it had documented the longest continuous period of decline since it began compiling the annual index nearly 40 years ago.

“A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains,” the group said.

“Authoritarian regimes like those in China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela continued to step up repressive measures with little significant resistance from the democratic world,” it said.

The recent decline “threatens gains dating to the post-Cold War era in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the former Soviet bloc.”

The report classifies countries as free, partly free or not free based on individuals’ ability to exercise political and civil rights, taking into account political systems and other factors like war and crime.

Mexico, which along with Ukraine, Djibouti and Ethiopia saw its status decline, moved from free to partly free “as a result of the government’s inability to stem the tide of violence by drug-trafficking groups,” it said.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006, when the newly-elected President Felipe Calderon launched a massive crackdown on cartels.

Ukraine’s demotion, also from free to partly free, owed to “deteriorating levels of press freedom, instances of election fraud and growing politicization of the judiciary,” the Freedom House report said.

Freedom in decline worldwide: US report

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