Freedom at Issue:

Insights on the global struggle for democracy

Cathal Gilbert

For those aiming to promote democracy around the globe, Mandela’s life holds invaluable lessons for current and future struggles for freedom. He is renowned for his principled opposition to a racist and undemocratic regime in South Africa, but his cause was also the cause of all people who seek to uphold the universal principles of liberty and equality, anywhere in the world.

 


People all around the world are mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, but it is in South Africa—the country he helped to liberate from oppression—that the loss is most keenly felt. In this blog post, staff members from Freedom House’s Johannesburg office have shared what Mandela means to them and their reactions to his passing.

Liridona Malota

Long after the end of the Kosovo conflict, survivors of gender-based violence associated with the war continue to face political and social obstacles in their struggle for justice.

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Laurna Strikwerda

If U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel truly wants to support regional stability and U.S. interests at this week’s security summit in Bahrain, he would do well to push the Bahraini government to implement political reforms.

Arch Puddington
Zselyke Csaky

The six countries of the Eastern Partnership program lag far behind their closest neighbors in the EU. But this is a testament to the bloc’s past successes, and a sign that it must help these states build up their democratic institutions.

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Kimberly Brody

After several tumultuous weeks, the ICC’s future in Africa is quite uncertain. What is next for the ICC in Africa?

Kateryna Krylova


The European Union’s Eastern Partnership Summit—scheduled for November 28–29 in Vilnius, Lithuania—is rapidly approaching. But in recent days, the prospects that Ukraine would sign a much-anticipated Association Agreement and trade pact with the EU have collapsed. The parliament, dominated by the president’s allies, repeatedly refused to pass required legislation that would have allowed jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seek medical treatment in Germany, in effect releasing her from politically motivated incarceration. Finally, earlier today, the government  suspended preparations for signing the EU agreement.

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Lisa Davis

Large-scale corruption and economic crimes often go hand in hand with mass human rights abuses in authoritarian countries. The two are mutually reinforcing: Dictators gain and maintain power—and perpetuate impunity—through a combination of violent repression and the distribution of patronage and graft opportunities. The plunder of public wealth serves as both an incentive for retaining power by force, and a means of rewarding those who carry out or cover up regime crimes. Despite this connection, the mechanisms of transitional justice have not adequately dealt with the legacy of authoritarian corruption nor remedied its far-reaching socioeconomic effects.

Tyler Roylance

China’s ruling Communist Party boasts an increasingly intrepid army and navy, an expanding web of international energy pipelines and other trade links, and a suite of generously funded media companies with bureaus around the world. But unlike past empires, Beijing’s true strength does not derive from its ability to project force and soft-power influence overseas. Instead, particularly when dealing with developed nations and their citizens, the party has imposed its will by squatting at the gates of the massive Chinese economy and issuing demands as the price of admission.

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Kellen McClure

It has been less than four months since heavily manipulated elections gave Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party complete control over the executive and a supermajority in Parliament, and already the international community is signaling that it is ready to move on. Admittedly, other countries in Africa pose more urgent threats in terms of war, terrorism, and mass atrocities, but Mugabe’s return to unfettered power in Zimbabwe could erase the democratic and economic gains the country has achieved over the past five years.

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