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Mary Mares and Lindsay Beck of Freedom House join MCHS students for a discussion of 1984 and human rights.

Mary Mares and Lindsay Beck of Freedom House join MCHS students for a discussion of 1984 and human rights.

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  • “ Political Rights” means more than just elections; although important, it includes other issues, such as what happens during the campaign prior to elections – was there intimidation of opposition opponents? Were there “problems” registering voters? And what happens after the new government is elected? Can the government actually function? Is it corrupt? Do the parties function together? Why do you think we would look at these things?
  • Are elections the only measure of democracy? Many people, and many governments, think so. But ask the students these questions and see what answers they give. Use the bullet questions, if necessary, to guide them.
  • CORRUPTION is a good topic to discuss with students – what do they think of corruption? Small corruption, such as cheating on test, equally valid as corruption.
  • #1 – students take for granted freedom of travel, choice of residence, so this is a good question for them to discuss #2 – the right to own property and establish private businesses is part of what draws people to this country #3 – ask the students about China’s One Child Policy – would they want to be told how many children they could have, or whom they could marry? Countries with strict religious laws restrict or deny interfaith marriages #4 – This includes trafficking of children and women, and child labor

Freedom House Presentation Freedom House Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • FREEDOM HOUSE: COUNTERING THE REPRESSIONS PREDICTED IN ORWELL’S 1984
    • Presented By:
    • Mary Mares, Board Liaison and Special Programs Manager
    • Lindsay Beck, Program Assistant, Internet Freedom
  • INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW OF FREEDOM HOUSE
  •  
  •  
  • WWW.DEMOCRACYWEB.ORG
  • INTERACTIVE MAP OF FREEDOM
  • POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES
    • Electoral Process
    • Political Pluralism and Participation
    • Functioning of Government
    • Freedom of Expression and Belief
    • Associational and Organizational Rights
    • Rule of Law
    • Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
    • Political Rights
    • Civil Liberties
    • Is the head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections?
    • Are the national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections?
    • Are the electoral laws and framework fair?
    Political Rights Electoral Process Checklist:
    • Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system open to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings?
    • Is there a significant opposition vote and a realistic possibility for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections?
    • Are the people’s political choices free from domination by the military, foreign powers, totalitarian parties, religious hierarchies, economic oligarchies, or any other powerful group?
    • Do cultural, ethnic, religious, or other minority groups have full political rights and electoral opportunities?
    Political Rights Political Pluralism and Participation Checklist: Photo: Lazar Simeonov
    • Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government?
    • Is the government free from pervasive corruption?
    • Is the government accountable to the electorate between elections, and does it operate with openness and transparency?
    Political Rights Functioning of Government Checklist: Doug Mills/ The New York Times
    • Are there free and independent media and other forms of cultural expression?
    • Are religious institutions and communities free to practice their faith and express themselves in public and private?
    • Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free of extensive political indoctrination?
    • Is there open and free private discussion?
    Civil Liberties Freedom of Expression and Belief Checklist: Credit: Photos8.com
    • Is there freedom of assembly, demonstration, and open public discussion?
    • Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations? (Note: this includes civic organizations, interest groups, foundations etc.)
    • Are there free trade unions and peasant organizations or equivalents, and is there effective collective bargaining? Are there free professional and other private organizations?
    Civil Liberties Associational and Organizational Rights Checklist: Source: http://www.ieee-virtual-museum.org/media/2g6uDmzgUa.jpg
    • Is there an independent judiciary?
    • Does the rule of law prevail in civil and criminal matters? Are police under direct civilian control?
    • Is there protection from political terror, unjustified imprisonment, exile, or torture, whether by groups that support or oppose the system? Is there freedom from war and insurgencies?
    • Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population?
    Civil Liberties Rule of Law Checklist: Source: http://www.nycourts.gov/judges/photo_judgewgavel.jpg
    • Do citizens enjoy freedom of travel or choice of residence, employment, or institution of higher education?
    • Do citizens have the right to own property and establish private businesses? Is private business activity unduly influenced by government officials, the security forces, political parties/organizations, or organized crime?
    • Are there personal social freedoms, including gender equality, choice of marriage partners, and size of family?
    • Is there equality of opportunity and the absence of economic exploitation?
    Civil Liberties Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights Checklist:
  • WHAT POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES ARE NON-EXISTENT IN 1984 ?
  • WHEN THESE RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES ARE NON-EXISTENT, HOW DO INDIVIDUALS SUFFER? HOW DO COMMUNITIES SUFFER?
  • WHAT ELEMENTS OF 1984 EXIST TODAY?
  • FREEDOM HOUSE’S “WORST OF THE WORST” COUNTRIES AND DISPUTED TERRITORIES
    • Belarus
    • Burma
    • Chad
    • China
    • Cuba
    • Equatorial Guinea
    • Eritrea
    • Guinea
    • Laos
    • Libya
    • North Korea
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Somalia
    • South Ossetia
    • Sudan
    • Syria
    • Tibet
    • Turkmenistan
    • Uzbekistan
    • Western Sahara
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • President Alyaksandr Lukashenka maintained a tight grip over Belarus’s political and economic systems.
    • Use of police violence and other forms of harassment continued against the political opposition,
    • Blocking independent media through systematic intimidation.
    • Increased incarceration of more activists.
    • No substantial progress in reforming its electoral code.
    • The military regime forged ahead in 2009 with its “roadmap to democracy,” a plan intended to legitimize its grip on power.
    • The process called for national elections that were expected to be held in 2010, and the junta continued to arrest and imprison political dissidents, ensuring their marginalization ahead of the voting.
    • Tensions between the military and armed ethnic groups increased, as the groups refused to incorporate themselves into the military’s Border Guard Force.
    • Belarus
    • Burma
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • After the governments of Chad and Sudan signed an accord on normalizing their relations, a new alliance of Chadian rebel groups launched an offensive from bases in Sudan’s Darfur region.
    • Chadian and Sudanese officials met again in October 2010 to reaffirm their commitment to peace. A UN peacekeeping mission replaced a European Union force in eastern Chad in March, but as of September 2010 the UN force still had less than half of the recommended personnel.
    • The Chinese government, aiming to suppress citizen activism and protests during politically sensitive anniversaries, resorted to lockdowns on major cities, new restrictions on the internet, and a renewed campaign against democracy activists, human rights lawyers, and religious minorities.
    • These measures were intensified in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, especially after ethnic violence erupted there in July 2009.
    • Chad
    • China
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • In March 2009, President Raul Castro fired several prominent cabinet ministers amid a worsening economic crisis.
    • In November, noted blogger Yoani Sanchez reported being intimidated and beaten by suspected government agents.
    • Cuban authorities in December arrested a U.S. contractor for distributing communications equipment to religious groups; he remained in detention without being formally charged.
    • Spanish authorities launched an investigation into alleged money laundering by Equatorial Guinea’s government in January 2009, and in February unidentified gunmen attacked the presidential palace, prompting the authorities to deny speculation that the incident was a coup attempt.
    • President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the longest-serving ruler in sub-Saharan Africa, easily won a new term in the November presidential election, which was widely regarded as rigged.
    • Cuba
    • Equatorial Guinea
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • Eritrea’s civil liberties rating declined due to the government’s persistent and intense repression of religious minorities, its dominance over the judiciary, and its harsh system of national service, which ties people to the state for much of their working lives.
    • Guinea’s civil liberties rating declined due to the military junta’s repressive measures, including the use of rape as a means of political intimidation and the massacre of more than 150 opposition protesters in September.
    • Eritrea
    • Guinea
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • The Laotian government continued to encourage large-scale foreign investment and development projects in 2009, often at the expense of small farmers and tribal communities.
    • Also during the year, Laos reached a deal with Britain to repatriate two British citizens facing life in prison for drug smuggling.
    • However, human rights advocates in December voiced concern over the fate of some 4,000 Hmong migrants to be deported by Thai authorities at the request of the Laotian government.
    • The Libyan government nationalized the country’s only quasi-independent media group in 2009, although online censorship and the hacking of dissident websites appeared to decline somewhat.
    • A prominent dissident died after years of illness in custody, and the authorities sentenced two Swiss businessmen to jail terms on immigration charges, apparently as part of a diplomatic row with Switzerland.
    • Laos
    • Libya
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • The North Korean government continued to tighten control over a burgeoning private market and its repression of citizens’ economic freedom.
    • The government announced in May 2009 that the next municipal council elections would be postponed by two years.
    • Sectarian tensions remained a serious concern during the year, particularly after religious police attacked Shiite pilgrims in Medina in February.
    • North Korea
    • Saudi Arabia
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • Radical Islamist opponents of newly elected President, moderate Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, fought among themselves and alienated most Somalis with their brutal interpretation of Islamic law.
    • A suicide bombing at a university graduation ceremony in December killed four cabinet ministers and several other officials, raising new doubts about the government’s ability to defend itself.
    • South Ossetia faced increased control by Russia over the economy and political system, and Russian aid that has fueled rampant corruption among local elites.
    • Somalia
    • South Ossetia
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir in March 2009, for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, but the government rejected the move.
    • Violence surged in Southern Sudan, where at least 2,500 people were killed in ethnic clashes.
    • al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the main Southern political force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) also haggled over how the 2011 referendum on Southern secession would be organized and who would get to vote.
    • Freedoms of expression, association, and assembly remained tightly restricted throughout 2009, especially with regard to certain groups, such as the Kurdish minority.
    • Syria’s opposition in exile split during the year, ending an uneasy alliance between Islamists and secularists.
    • Sudan
    • Syria
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • At least 715 political and religious prisoners reportedly remained in custody as of September.
    • In October, three Tibetans were executed, marking the first use of the death penalty in the territory since 2003.
    • Talks between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama did not resume in 2009.
    • Instead Chinese authorities continued ideological reeducation campaigns and dissemination of official rhetoric vilifying the Dalai Lama.
    • President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov appeared more interested in diversifying his country’s natural gas exports in 2009 than in political and economic reforms at home.
    • Progress away from the repressive legacy of former president Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006, remained slow, producing token improvements rather than systemic change.
    • Tibet
    • Turkmenistan
  • “ WORST OF THE WORST”
    • Uzbekistan continued to rebuild relations with the United States and the European Union in 2009 amid growing cooperation on logistical support for NATO operations in Afghanistan.
    • At the same time, the government of President Islam Karimov maintained repressive state controls at home, denying citizens their basic human rights.
    • Talks between the Moroccan government and the pro-independence Polisario Front continued in 2009, but the two sides remained at odds over whether to allow a referendum on independence.
    • Pro-independence activists continued to be detained and harassed, and the conditions on the ground for most Sahrawis remained poor.
    • Uzbekistan
    • Western Sahara
  • WHAT DO POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES MEAN TO YOU?
  • HOW HAVE PEOPLE BEEN SPEAKING OUT AND FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM TODAY ?
  • FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM
    • Burma: release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
    • Belarus: thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest another flawed presidential election, use of new media by website www.electby.org to independently monitor the election .
    • China: digital activists continue to find new ways to evade internet censorship and provide independent coverage of events in China.
    • Egypt: peaceful demonstrations by protesters forced Mubarak to step down and begin a transition to democratic rule.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE IN WINSTON’S SHOES?
    • For more information, please visit:
    • www.freedomhouse.org