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Survey lists human rights gains, se
Subject: Survey lists human rights gains, setbacks.
Survey lists human rights gains, setbacks
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly four of every 10 people in the
world live in
undemocratic countries, and the worst oppression occurs in
Iraq, North Korea,
Cuba and Sudan, a leading pro-democracy group says.
In its annual survey, the New-York based Freedom House said
number of free countries around the world grew in 1996 from
76 to 79, the
largest since the survey was begun in 1972.
The survey characterized 79 of the world's 191 countries as
free -- nearly 42
"The broadening of freedom around the world indicates that
the ideas of civil society are becoming a more permanent
feature of the
international landscape,'' Freedom House President Adrian
in an article accompanying the survey.
The survey said 2.26 billion people -- 39.2 percent of global
population -- live
in "not free'' societies.
It found that Iraq, North Korea, Cuba and Sudan were the most
17 countries which received Freedom House's lowest rating.
The others were Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, China,
Guinea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan,
Of this group, the only one with a close relationship with
the United States is
The survey listed the top five gains for freedom in 1996 as
--The awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to Bishop Carlos
Ximenes Belo and
Jose Ramos Horta for their defense of human rights in East
--The democratic presidential election in Taiwan, a
"milestone'' that proved
there is nothing in the Chinese tradition that is
incompatible with democratic
--The triumph of electoral politics in Central and Eastern
Europe. In most
cases, 1996 elections swept anti-communists and
non-communists into office.
--Nicaragua's rejection of Sandinista candidate Daniel Ortega
was an important
step towards stabilizing democracy in a country with a long
history of right-
and left-wing dictatorships.
--The U.S.-led effort to bring peace to Bosnia helped end the
established the basis for the re-emergence of electoral
The top five setbacks for freedom in 1996, according to the
--The violence in Central Africa, which recently spread from
Burundi to Zaire. Left unchecked, ethnic violence could
plunge a far wider part
of Africa into turmoil and instability.
--The Taliban's march to power in Afghanistan has introduced
reign of terror masquerading as justice.''
--China's growing aggressiveness, as reflected in continued
military threats to
neighbors and ideological intimidation aimed at foreign
--Iraq's invasion of Kurdish northern Iraq strengthened the
hand of Saddam
Hussein and set back hopes that Kurds may peacefully resolve
differences under self-rule.
--The re-emergence of tyranny in Belarus at the hands of
President Alexander Lukashenko.
[FOX, 18 December 1996].