Report: Tibet ,Saudi Arabia, Syria ‘Worst Of The Worst’ For Rights, Freedoms
(RTTNews) – Freedom House, renowned think-tank and advocacy group for democracy and human rights around the world, has named nine countries and two disputed territories, including Saudi Arabia, Syria and Tibet, as the “least free” — on both the existence of political rights as well as civil liberties.
Its recently published “Worst of the Worst 2012: The World’s Most Repressive Societies” report analyzes those countries that received the lowest ratings regarding the existence of basic political rights and civil liberties. Each country was marked along a 7-point scale, with 1 representing the ‘most free’ and 7 the ‘least free.’
More than 1.6 billion people — 23 percent of the world’s population — have no say in how they are governed and face severe consequences if they try to exercise their most basic rights, such as expressing their views, assembling peacefully, and organizing independently of the state.
Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment, and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. In these countries, state control over public life is pervasive, and individuals have little if any recourse to justice for crimes the state commits against them.
In this year’s Worst of the Worst report, nine countries were identified by Freedom House as being the world’s worst human rights abusers in 2011: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Two disputed territories, Tibet and Western Sahara, were also in this category. All of these countries and territories received Freedom in the World’s lowest ratings. Within these entities, political opposition is banned, criticism of the government is met with retribution, and independent organizations are suppressed.
Seven other countries fall just short of the bottom of Freedom House’s ratings: Belarus, Burma, Chad, China, Cuba, Laos and Libya. The territory of South Ossetia also is part of this group. All eight, which received ratings of 7 for political rights and 6 for civil liberties, offer very limited scope for independent discussion. They severely suppress Opposition political activity, impede independent organizations, and censor or punish criticism of the state.
The report shed light on the Tibetans’ struggle for basic rights and democratic freedoms. It examined the Tibetans’ inability to “determine their political future or freely elect their leaders..” and cited “corruption” as an extensive problem within Tibet.
China’s strict control over the flow of information within Tibet is also examined; Freedom House notes that University professors are not permitted to lecture on certain topics, foreign journalists are only allowed limited access into Tibet, and Chinese censorship policies remain strict. According to the report, “…over 60 writers, intellectuals, and cultural figures have been arrested since 2008, with some sentenced to long prison terms. Human rights, civic groups, and independent trade unions are illegal, and even nonviolent protests are harshly punished.”