Back to Index
House releases report on repressive countries, urges Congress and
UN Human Rights Council to take note
September 06, 2006
today released The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive
Societies 2006, its annual compilation of the most dictatorial regimes
in the world, as the organization's executive director testified
before Congress and called on the UN Human Rights Council to address
abuses in these countries.
The report, which
is intended to assist the new Human Rights Council, as well as members
of Congress, journalists and other policymakers, includes detailed
descriptions of the dire human rights situations in eight countries
judged to have the worst records in the past year. These countries
are Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan,
and Uzbekistan. Also included are two territories, Chechnya and
Tibet, whose inhabitants suffer intense repression.
In addition, The
Worst of the Worst includes nine other countries near the bottom
of Freedom House's list of the most repressive: Belarus, China,
Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Haiti, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Somalia,
and Zimbabwe. The
territory of Western Sahara is also included in this group. While
these states scored slightly better than the "worst of the worst,"
they offer very limited scope for political discussion and activity.
"This report should
be viewed as the minimal 'to do' list to be addressed by members
of the UN Human Rights Council and those governments that profess
to care about human rights," Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director
of Freedom House, told members of the House International Relations
Committee's Subcommittee on Africa, Human Rights and Global Operations.
"The Council urgently needs to prove that it can and will act in
a constructive manner in furtherance of its mandate, and will be
judged on its willingness and ability to take action to address
country and situation-specific human rights violations," she added.
The Council includes
among its 47 members three countries profiled in The Worst of the
Worst: China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.
The UN Human Rights
Council was established this year as a replacement for the much-criticized
UN Commission on Human Rights, and met for the first time in June.
A number of decisions, including the establishment of a working
group to determine guidelines for a new Universal Periodic Review,
were taken at the meeting. However, despite the human rights crises
that exist in places like North Korea, Darfur, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere,
the Council has only exercised its authority for country specific
action in two special sessions focusing on situations in Gaza and
Lebanon, and then passed resolutions widely seen in the human rights
community as unbalanced condemnations of Israel without reference
to human rights violations by Hamas or Hizbollah or the states that
The Council will
meet again in Geneva for three weeks later this month.
"While we continue
to have serious concerns, Freedom House believes that the potential
for the Council's success is not yet lost," Ms. Windsor told the
Subcommittee. "We believe that the U.S. government and other democratic
countries should make every effort to strengthen, not weaken, their
engagement with the Council and to work together more effectively
to ensure that the United Nations regains its leadership in advancing
human rights and freedom so that human rights crises like those
in today's report are directly addressed."
The Worst of the
Worst country reports are excerpted from Freedom House's forthcoming
annual global survey, Freedom in the World 2006. The countries deemed
the most repressive earn some of the worst numerical ratings according
to the survey's methodology, which measures the state of political
rights and civil liberties worldwide and classifies countries as
Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion
of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and civil
liberties in every country of the world since 1972 for its flagship
publication, Freedom in the World.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.