Freedom House: Ukraine’s free status could be in jeopardy


On 3 June Freedom House released Worst of the Worst 2010: The World’s Most Repressive Societies, its annual report identifying the world’s most flagrant human rights abusers. This year’s report identifies 17 countries and 3 territories whose citizens live in extremely oppressive environments, with minimal basic rights and persistent human rights violations.

 “In this report we identify countries where individuals have almost no opportunity to enjoy the most fundamental rights—regimes whose people experience heavy penalties for independent thought or action and where little or no oppositional activity is permitted to exist,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House. “By highlighting these countries, we hope to give human rights advocates a tool they can use to shine a light on these abuses at the world’s only global human rights body.”

Nine countries and one territory are judged to have the worst human rights conditions, receiving the lowest possible score of 7 (based on a 1 to 7 scale, with 1 representing the most free and 7 representing the least free) on both political rights and civil liberties: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tibet.

An additional 8 countries and 2 territories score only slightly better, with a score of 7 in political rights and a score of 6 in the civil liberties category: Belarus, Chad, China, Cuba, Guinea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

See for more details about the report.

Radio Svoboda spoke with Freedom House researcher Ann Paddington about Ukraine. She said that events this year with numerous complaints regarding threats to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly after a new regime came to power had not been reflected in the report. However if the trends continue, Ukraine could lose its free country status.

“We are disturbed by the development of events in Ukraine. Ukraine is in the category of free countries, but free countries with some problems. Therefore if even a small deterioration is observed, Ukraine will fall into the category of “partly free” countries.”

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