Washington. - The world in 2015 was battered by crises that fuelled xenophobic sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and led authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. According to the new Freedom House report, these developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.
A country or territory’s political rights and civil liberties ratings determine whether it has an overall status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free. Ratings for the Middle East and North Africa region were the worst in the world in 2015, followed closely by Eurasia. Over the last decade, the most significant global reversals have been in freedom of expression and the rule of law.
Freedom House sees a light upward trend in freedom for Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, where elections were run successfully. On the other hand Burundi, Yemen and Tadjikistan declined the most in the freedom score. North Korea, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Sudan, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Saudi Arabia have the worst score, being described as not free. In Europe the migrant crisis threatens solidarity and democratic standards.
More than a third of the world's population, about 2.6 billion people, live in nations and territories dominated by repression, corruption and human rights abuses, with the worst being Syria, Tibet and Somalia, Freedom House declared. Worldwide, 86 nations and territories were designated free based on their political rights and civil liberties, 50 were deemed not free, and 59 were partly free, it said.
The methodology, which is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is applied to all countries and territories, irrespective of geographic location, ethnic or religious composition, or level of economic development. Freedom in the World assesses the real-world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government performance per se. Political rights and civil liberties can be affected by both state and non-state actors, including insurgents and other armed groups.