Freedom House says 2.6 billion people live without freedom

More than one third of world population, 2.6 billion people live under repression, corruption and human rights abuse, according to Freedom House

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

People carry posters of first democratically elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi and "Rabia Sign" during the protest against military regime on the 5th anniversary of Egyptian revolution in 2011, in Giza, Egypt on January 25, 2016.

Nearly 2.6 billion people live in nations and territories gripped by repression, corruption and human rights abuse, according to an annual report released by Washington-based Freedom House on Wednesday.

The year 2015 was marked as the 10th straight year of decline in global freedom. In 72 countries freedom decreased, the highest rate in the last decade.

Mass migrations, crackdowns on dissent, xenophobia and terror attacks were at highest levels and these factors affected the results of the report, Freedom House said.

"Democratic countries came under strain from terrorist attacks and unprecedented numbers of refugees - problems emanating from regional conflicts such as the Syrian civil war." the report stated.

According to the advocacy group, regarding political rights and civil liberties, 86 nations are considered free, 50 are not free, 59 are partly free.

The majority of un-free countries are in Middle East and North Africa, where 85 percent of the population is considered to live under repression. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 20 regimes are ranked "not free." In Eastern Europe and Caucasus, there are no countries listed "free", it said. 

Syria was marked with the lowest rate (7/7) in all three sections -freedom rating, civil liberties and political rights- due to the country’s civil war that started in 2011. The ever escalating conflict, the increasing terror of DAESH and the intervention of other countries such as Russia are among the reasons.

Freedom in the US is also decreasing. The report declared the United States as free, but added that freedom is in decline, citing "a disturbing increase in the role of private money in election campaigns" legislative gridlock, a lack of openness in government, racial discrimination and a dysfunctional criminal justice system.

Egypt was marked as "not free" with a downward freedom index. “State surveillance of electronic communications, the mass trials and unjustified imprisonment of members of the Muslim Brotherhood” were shown among the reasons.

The report criticises Egypt's President, Abdel Fattah al Sisi, defining his government as a "ruthless dictatorship." The report said that Sisi is enforcing “a level of repression not seen in Egypt in decades.”

Russia was also marked as "not free."

“Russia’s civil liberties rating declined from five to six due to expanded media controls, a dramatically increased level of propaganda on state-controlled television, and new restrictions on the ability of some citizens to travel abroad” the report said.

However, there was also some progress, as 43 countries improved their index. Upward trends are reported in Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria and Sri Lanka; which all held elections.

Tunisia moved into a "free" country category from "partly free," as the report described the country as “a bright spot in a troubled region.” 

Political rights rating improved from three to one. The adaptation of progressive constitution, the presence of free an fair parliamentary and presidential elections, and a high degree of transparancy are some of the reasons.

North Korea, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Sudan, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Saudi Arabia are listed as countries at the bottom of the list.

TRTWorld, Reuters