Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand received support from Freedom House, as they participated in civil society initiatives organized in light of ASEAN & East Asia Summits, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 18 to November 20. They joined a number of LGBT rights advocates from the region in working to ensure that the rights of LGBT persons are part of the ongoing regional human rights dialogue, and are fully guaranteed in the now-adopted ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Freedom House also co-hosted a symposium in Washington D.C. on November 28, which provided in-depth insights on ASEAN's Human Rights Declaration.
Update: Freedom House strongly condemns the Cambodian Court of Appeals’ decision to deny bail to independent radio station owner Mam Sonando while he awaits appeal. The 71-year-old radio station owner was convicted of sedition in October 2012 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, despite a clear lack of evidence. The charges against Sonando are unfounded and politically motivated, and stem from criticism of the Cambodian government that aired on his radio station in June 2012. Freedom House calls for his immediate release.
Nearly two years after a wave of popular uprisings began in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a lack of substantive institutional reform has left states struggling to maintain democratic achievements, according to a new Freedom House report. The findings illuminate reform failures that have contributed to recent violence across the MENA region.