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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 
Tuesday the
            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 
democracy and
            the ideas of civil society are becoming a more permanent 
feature of the
            international landscape,'' Freedom House President Adrian 
Karatnycky wrote
            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 
repressive of
            17 countries which received Freedom House's lowest rating. 

            The others were Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, China, 
            Guinea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, 
Turkmenistan and

            Of this group, the only one with a close relationship with 
the United States is
            Saudi Arabia. 

            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 
bloodshed and
            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 
Rwanda and
            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 
a "primitive
            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].