Represión – Cuba – Repression

Freedom House unveils human rights study

Posted on Thu, May. 10, 2007

Freedom House unveils human rights study
AP Diplomatic Writer

In a worldwide survey of repressive regimes, 17 countries including
Libya and North Korea are singled out by a human rights group as "the
worst of the worst" for maltreatment of their citizens last year.

Most of the cited countries are repeat-offenders, and 45 countries were
rated not free to some degree.

The eight countries judged to have the worst records on political rights
and civil liberties were Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Somalia,
Sudan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Similarly branded for particularly
repressive behavior were two territories, Chechnya and Tibet.

Within these countries and territories "state control over daily life is
pervasive and wide-ranging," said the report by Freedom House, a New
York-based private democracy watchdog organization.

Also, it said, "independent organizations and political opposition are
banned or suppressed and fear of retribution for independent thought and
action is part of daily life."

Ranked slightly above the group were Belarus, China, Cote d'Ivoire,
which is new to the list, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi
Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe. The contested African territory of Western
Sahara was in this grouping, as well.

Massive human rights violations were found in nearly every part of the

"We offer this report in the hope that it will assist the democratic
world in pressing the case for freedom at the United Nations and in
other forums," Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House,
said in a statement.

Oil-rich Libya, which has been trying to burnish its image and develop
better relations with the and the European Union, released
some political prisoners but remained a country where its citizens have
few civil rights or political liberties, the report said.

North Korea, whose nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs are
considered by the United States and its neighbors as a potential threat,
tightly controls every aspect of social, political and economic life,
the report said. Many thousands of political prisoners are held in
brutal conditions, it said.

Saudi Arabia, which the United States looks to as a pivotal promoter of
peace between Israel and Arab neighbors, was credited with another year
of "incremental reforms," including establishment of a supreme court in
Riyadh, and setting up security, family, traffic and commercial courts.

But religious freedom does not exist and the government tightly controls
domestic media, the report said. Academic freedom is restricted and
informers monitor classrooms.

And Syria, with which the Bush administration has very tentative and
reluctant relations despite calls from critics for more involvement,
continued its of political and civil rights last year and
renewed its crackdown on dissidents, the report said.

There were small improvements, meanwhile, in such areas as ,
residence an employment, the report said.

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