Nearly three-quarters of world’s inhabitants lived in a rustic the place rights and freedoms declined final year, Freedom House says.
Nearly 75 p.c of the world’s inhabitants lived in a spot that noticed a decline in rights and freedoms in 2020, a United States-based suppose tank stated in a brand new report, detailing the 15th consecutive year of shrinking international liberties.
While 28 nations noticed an enchancment final year, declines in freedom had been recorded in 73 others, in response to Freedom House’s annual “Freedom in the World” report, launched on Wednesday.
The group, based mostly in Washington, DC, ranked 151 nations and 45 territories as both free, partly free or not free based mostly on standards that included electoral processes, political pluralism, authorities corruption, and freedom of expression and meeting, amongst others.
“In 2020 it was struggling democracies and authoritarian states that accounted for more of the global decline. The proportion of Not Free countries is now the highest it has been in the past 15 years,” the organisation stated.
“These withering blows marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom … The long democratic recession is deepening.”
India went from free to partially free in 2020, as Freedom House accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his occasion of cracking down on critics, scapegoating Muslims and “tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism”.
“With India’s decline to Partly Free, less than 20 percent of the world’s population now lives in a Free country, the smallest proportion since 1995,” the report reads.
Freedom House additionally stated governments have used the COVID-19 pandemic “to consolidate power and suppress dissent”.
It pointed to Algeria, the place it stated the state used coronavirus-related lockdown measures to suppress a protest motion, and to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who “exploited the pandemic to amass emergency powers and deter independent reporting and criticism”.
The US has additionally seen an 11-point decline in freedom since 2020, the report discovered, making it one of the 25 nations to undergo the steepest drops over the 10-year interval.
Freedom House stated a lethal revolt on the US Capitol on January 6, spurred by former President Donald Trump and carried out by a mob of his supporters, “threw the country into even greater crisis” after years of declining freedoms.
“The politically distorted health recommendations, partisan infighting, shockingly high and racially disparate coronavirus death rates, and police violence against protesters advocating for racial justice over the summer all underscored the United States’ systemic dysfunctions and made American democracy appear fundamentally unstable,” the report reads.
The group additionally criticised China for exerting “malign influence” in 2020, together with a crackdown on liberties in Hong Kong ensuing from a nationwide safety regulation.
Despite its typically grim findings, Freedom House stated democracy is resilient and nations can rebound.
It pointed to Malawi, the place democratic progress was made, and to Taiwan, which “largely respected civil liberties” in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, as nations that overcame challenges in 2020.