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Abstract: As this Arab Spring of revolution becomes a long summer of transitions, we take the opportunity to review some of the historic developments in the region over the last few months. In doing so we throw the spotlight on the drivers of these popular uprisings, and the difficulties they present for the rest of the world in dealing with this strategically crucial region.
Kicking us off, Gilles Kepel brings his considerable experience to bear in discussing the revolutions in macro-context, before in our feature article Luca Tardelli analyses the inherent difficulties in Western intervention that are now once again playing out in Libya, a point picked up by Felix Berenskoetter in his discussion of how Western division on Libya played out at the Security Council. Turning to Yemen, Tobias Thiel considers how the particular politics of coalition in that country may allow it to move beyond the surely-now-terminal Presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
International politics doesn’t stop when crises occur, and the world faces a great many challenges at this time. China’s rise seems perpetually on the agenda, and Marco Wyss provides a new take on the drivers of that power transition in his analysis of US arms sales to China. Meanwhile, as American hegemony in Latin America seems increasingly up for question, Carlos Solis-Tejada assesses the prospects for Cuba, that most dysfunctional of American relationships, in the wake of the sixth party congress.
Abstract: Freedom House has prepared this special
report entitled Worst of the Worst: The
World’s Most Repressive Societies, as a
companion to its annual survey on the state of
global political rights and civil liberties,
Freedom in the World. The special report
provides summary country reports, tables, and
graphical information on the countries that
receive the lowest combined ratings for
political rights and civil liberties in Freedom
in the World, and whose citizens endure
systematic and pervasive human rights
report serves a reminder that over 1.6 billion
people—more than 24 percent of the world’s
population—suffer every day from the basic
indignities of not being able to express their
thoughts and opinions, of not having a say in
who governs them and how the wealth of
their land and labor is spent, and of being
unable to obtain justice for crimes perpetrated
against them. Hundreds of thousands
of human beings in these countries languish
every day in prisons or labor camps—
generally in subhuman conditions and subject
to physical or mental abuse—purely for their
political or religious beliefs. This report seeks
to highlight their plight and serves as a call to
the world’s governments, policymakers,
human rights organizations, and democracy
advocates to speak out and use whatever
resources they can bring to bear to improve respect for the most basic human rights in
Abstract: Cuba Archive is developing a comprehensive registry of disappearances and fatalities of a political nature resulting from the Cuban Revolution. This information is gathered and disseminated for educational purposes and to advance human rights.
Abstract: The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression.
In reporting news from the world’s most troubled nations, journalists have made a seismic shift this year in their reliance on the Internet and other digital tools. Blogging, video sharing, text messaging, and live-streaming from cellphones brought images of popular unrest from the central square of Cairo and the main boulevard of Tunis to the rest of the world. Yet the technology used to report the news has been matched in many ways by the tools used to suppress information. Many of the oppressors’ tactics show an increasing sophistication, from the state-supported email in China designed to take over journalists’ personal computers, to the carefully timed cyber-attacks on news websites in Belarus. Still other tools in the oppressor’s kit are as old as the press itself, including imprisonment of online writers in Syria, and the use of violence against bloggers in Russia.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, the Committee to Protect Journalists is examining the 10 prevailing tactics of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. What is most surprising about these Online Oppressors is not who they are—they are all nations with long records of repression—but how swiftly they adapted old strategies to the online world.
In two nations we cite, Egypt and Tunisia, the regimes have changed, but their successors have not categorically broken with past repressive practices. The tactics of other nations—such as Iran, which employs sophisticated tools to destroy anti-censorship technology, and Ethiopia, which exerts monopolistic control over the Internet—are being watched, and emulated, by repressive regimes worldwide.
Here are the 10 prevalent tools for online oppression.
Abstract: This report explores the historic reform process currently underway in Cuba. It looks first at the
political context in which the VI Cuban Communist Party Congress took place, including the
Cuban government's decision to release a significant number of political prisoners as part of a new
dialogue with the Cuban Catholic Church. It then analyzes Cuba's nascent processes of economic
reform and political liberalization. To conclude, it discusses the challenges and opportunities these
processes pose for U.S policy toward Cuba.
Abstract: This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen. Casualty data of U.S. military forces are compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as tallied from the agency's press releases. Also included are statistics on those wounded but not killed.
Because the estimates of Afghan casualties contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using different methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact. This report will be updated as needed.
Abstract: The Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Director of the Central Intelligence
Agency and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, shall make publicly available an
unclassified summary of -
(1) intelligence relating to recidivism of detainees currently or formerly held at the Naval
Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense; and
(2) an assessment of the likelihood that such detainees will engage in terrorism or communicate
with persons in terrorist organizations.
Abstract: This is the 12th FCO Annual Report on Human
Rights. The report sets out the UK’s work and
policy on human rights in 2009, and explains the
importance of human rights across our foreign
policy goals. It highlights our main policies,
countries of concern and the challenges we
face. It demonstrates how we seek to address
these issues through diplomatic channels and
international bodies, as well as our programme
work across the globe. However, many of the issues covered in these pages
highlight the growing tendency to once again claim
human rights as a “Western” construct, unsuited to
particular cultures and countries. In the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, the government continues
to insist that national security and cultural differences
invalidate human rights obligations and justify
subjecting humanitarian workers to severe restrictions.
In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is incarcerated on
the basis of similar arguments that her battle for
Foreword by the Foreign Secretary
democracy undermines national security. Women are
still denied their human rights in many parts of the
world, on the basis that culture and religion render
those rights inapplicable. The increasing threat to
gay people’s rights in some African countries reminds
us that tolerance is a dream rather than a reality for
much of the world’s population.
But this report also shows how people around the
world are pushing back against the idea that human
rights are not universal – in 2009 demonstrators
in Guinea and Honduras demanded their rights to
democracy, human rights defenders from Belarus
to Syria continued to protest against injustice and
worldwide, individuals and groups continue to work
to realise the rights of all. We have a responsibility
to applaud these efforts, and to support them by
challenging the notion that human rights depend on
culture and circumstance.
Abstract: This report updates the topic of Iran’s Growing Relations with Latin America [page 5]. Over the past several years, U.S. officials and other observers have expressed concerns about
Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America, particularly under the government of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For example, in January 2009 congressional testimony, Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates maintained that he was concerned about the level of “subversive activity
that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America, particularly South
America and Central America.” There has been some contention, however, over the level and significance of Iran’s linkages with
the region. One view emphasizes that Iran’s relations with several Latin American leaders who
have employed strong anti-U.S. rhetoric and its past support for terrorist activities in the region
are reasons why its presence should be considered a potential destabilizing threat to the region.
Another school of thought emphasizes that Iran’s domestic politics and strategic orientation
toward the Middle East and Persian Gulf region will preclude the country from sustaining a focus
on Latin America. Adherents of this view assert that Iran’s promised aid and investment to Latin
America have not materialized. Some observers holding both of these views contend that while Iran’s activities in Latin America do not currently constitute a major threat to U.S. national
security, there is enough to be concerned about to keep a watchful eye on developments in case it
becomes a more serious threat. On October 27, 2009, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on
the Western Hemisphere held a hearing on “Iran in the Western Hemisphere” that reflected these
range of views.
Abstract: At least 71 journalists were killed across the globe in 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Tuesday, the largest annual toll in the 30 years the group has been keeping track.
Twenty-nine of those deaths came in a single, politically motivated massacre of reporters and others in the Philippines last November, the worst known episode for journalists, the committee said.
But there were other worrisome trends. The two nations with the highest number of journalists incarcerated — China had 24 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2009 and Iran had 23 — were particularly harsh in taking aim at bloggers and others using the Internet. The number jailed in Iran has since jumped to 47, the committee said. Of the 71 confirmed deaths, 51 were murders, the committee said. The report noted that 24 additional deaths of journalists remained under investigation to determine if they were related to the journalists’ work. Previously, the highest number of journalists killed in a single year was 67, in 2007, when violence in Iraq was raging.
Abstract: In July 2006, Fidel Castro handed control of the Cuban government over to his brother Raúl
Castro. As the new head of state, Raúl Castro inherited a system of abusive laws and
institutions, as well as responsibility for hundreds of political prisoners arrested during his
brother’s rule. Rather than dismantle this repressive machinery, Raúl Castro has kept it
firmly in place and fully active. Scores of political prisoners arrested under Fidel Castro
continue to languish in Cuba’s prisons. And Raúl Castro’s government has used draconian
laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their
Raúl Castro’s government has relied in particular on a provision of the Cuban Criminal Code
that allows the state to imprison individuals before they have committed a crime, on the
suspicion that they might commit an offense in the future. This “dangerousness” provision
is overtly political, defining as “dangerous” any behavior that contradicts socialist norms.
The most Orwellian of Cuba’s laws, it captures the essence of the Cuban government’s
repressive mindset, which views anyone who acts out of step with the government as a
potential threat and thus worthy of punishment.
Despite significant obstacles to research, Human Rights Watch documented more than 40
cases in which Cuba has imprisoned individuals for “dangerousness” under Raúl Castro
because they tried to exercise their fundamental rights. We believe there are many more. The
“dangerous” activities in these cases have included handing out copies of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, staging peaceful marches, writing news articles critical of the
government, and attempting to organize independent unions.
Abstract: Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. attention to
terrorism in Latin America has intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation.
In its April 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department maintained that terrorism in
the region was primarily perpetrated by terrorist organizations in Colombia and by the remnants
of radical leftist Andean groups. Overall, however, the report maintained that the threat of a
transnational terrorist attack remained low for most countries in the hemisphere. Cuba has
remained on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1982 pursuant to
Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, which triggers a number of economic sanctions.
Both Cuba and Venezuela are on the State Department’s annual list of countries determined to be
not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts pursuant to Section 40A of the Arms Export
Control Act. U.S. officials have expressed concerns over the past several years about Venezuela’s
lack of cooperation on antiterrorism efforts, its relations with Iran, and President Hugo Chávez’s
sympathetic statements for Colombian terrorist groups. The State Department terrorism report
noted, however, that President Chávez publicly changed course in June 2008 and called on the
FARC to unconditionally release all hostages, declaring that armed struggle is “out of place” in
modern Latin America.
In recent years, U.S. concerns have increased over activities of the radical Lebanon-based Islamic
group Hezbollah and the Sunni Muslim Palestinian group Hamas in the tri-border area of
Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The State Department terrorism report maintains that the United
States remains concerned that Hezbollah and Hamas sympathizers are raising funds among the
sizable Middle Eastern communities in the region, but stated that there was no corroborated
information that these or other Islamic extremist groups had an operational presence in the area.
Allegations have linked Hezbollah to two bombings in Argentina: the 1992 bombing of the Israeli
Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 30 people and the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli
Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. Concerns about Iran’s
increasing activities in Latin America center on the country’s ties to Hezbollah and the terrorist
attacks in Argentina.
Abstract: On May 12, 2009, the UN General Assembly will elect 18 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. However, each is not competing against all of the others, but rather only against the ones from the same UN regional group. In this year’s election, all but two regional groups have submitted the same amount of candidates as available seats. The Asian Group has 5 countries vying for 5 available seats, the Latin American and Caribbean Group (―GRULAC‖) has 3 countries vying for 3 available seats, and the Western European and Others Group (―WEOG‖) has 3 countries vying for 3 available seats. This does not mean that the candidate countries for these groups will automatically be elected; in order to become a Council member, a country must receive the votes of at least 97 of the 192 General Assembly member states (an absolute majority). Competition between the candidates exists only in the African Group, where 6 countries are vying for 5 available seats, and in the Eastern European Group, where 3 countries are vying for 2 available seats.
Abstract: In 1996 Congress amended the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) to
allow U.S. victims of terrorism to sue designated State sponsors of terrorism for their
terrorist acts. The courts have handed down large judgments against the terrorist
State defendants, generally in default, and successive Administrations have
intervened to block the judicial attachment of frozen assets to satisfy judgments.
After a court ruled that Congress never created a cause of action against terrorist
States themselves, but only against their officials, employees, and agents, plaintiffs
have based claims on state law. The limited availability of defendant States’ assets
for satisfaction of judgments has made collection difficult. Congress passed a rider
to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2008 (H.R. 4986), to provide a
federal cause of action against terrorist States and to facilitate enforcement of
judgments, authorizing the President to waive the provision with respect to Iraq.
Congress subsequently passed S. 3370 to exempt Libya from the FSIA provisions if
it agrees to compensate victims with pending lawsuits.
Section 1083 of P.L. 110-181 is the latest in a series of actions Congress has
taken over the last decade to assist plaintiffs in lawsuits against terrorist States. The
107th Congress enacted a measure in the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002
(“TRIA”) (P.L. 107-297) to allow the attachment of blocked assets of terrorist States
to pay compensatory damages to victims. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence
Protection Act of 2000 (“VTVPA”) (P.L. 106-386) liquidated some frozen assets to
pay claims and provided some U.S. funds to compensate those holding judgments
against Iran at the time. Section 1083 seeks to make more assets available to execute
terrorism judgments. It permits the attachment of assets belonging to separate
agencies and instrumentalities of defendant States, permits plaintiffs to file notices
of lis pendens with respect to property owned by defendant States or entities they
control, and permits some plaintiffs to refile claims.
The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the FSIA terrorism exception, but
in 2006 it remanded a decision based on the lower court’s assumption that Iran’s
Ministry of Defense (MOD) is an “agency or instrumentality” of Iran rather than part
of the government itself, and will decide in its upcoming term whether certain Iranian
assets are available under the TRIA to judgment holders. The Court may also be
asked to determine the effect of the waiver of § 1083 on pending cases against Iraq,
which the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has permitted to go forward.
This report provides background on the doctrine of State immunity and the
FSIA; details the evolution of the terrorist State exception and some of the resulting
judicial decisions; describes legislative efforts to help claimants satisfy their
judgments; summarizes the hostages’ suit against Iran and Congress’s efforts to
intervene; summarizes the status of lawsuits against Iraq and Libya; and provides an
overview of proposed legislation (S. 3370, H.R. 3346, S. 1944, H.R. 394, H.R. 5167,
and H.R. 2764). Appendix A provides a list of cases, including those covered by
TRIA § 2002 and the amount of compensation paid. Appendix B lists the assets of
each terrorist State currently blocked by the United States and the total amount owed
by each for terrorism judgments. The report will be updated as events warrant.
Abstract: Although all countries, in theory report their authorized transfers - and
such information may even be available in certain public databases - the
task of providing an overview of SALW transfers, their parts and
munitions, is an arduous one. Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, we
have some extremely positive initiatives on a global scale, such as for
example, the Small Arms Survey, recognized as an important source of
information, especially on SALW production and transfers, as well as the
Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) which has a
database containing transfer records going back to 1962.Despite these
important initiatives, themselves when researchers, activists and policy
makers try to understand a regional market, such as Latin America and
the Caribbean, they encounter a dearth of information. With the intent of addressing this shortcoming, En La Mira has, since 2007, dedicated an
issue to transfers of SALWs, parts and ammunition in this region. Further, according to statistics from the United Nations Commodity Trade
Statistics Database (UN-Comtrade or Comtrade), USD 6.7 billion were
exported between 2004 and 2006, while USD 6.5 billion were imported.
Despite the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean represent 6% and
3%, respectively, of total transfers worldwide during this period, 42% of
firearms related homicide is committed in the region. This discrepancy
between the international transfer volume share and the levels of armsrelated
violence in Latin America and the Caribbean calls attention to
itself, above all because of the tragic and startling number of homicides.
Obviously, far from wishing to increase arms transfers in order to be more
in sync with homicide rates, we decided, a year ago, to study this issue
and periodically monitor its development based on our interest in
understanding the primary legal entry and exit routes of firearms and
ammunition. The result is a report - based on customs information as
stated by Latin American and Caribbean countries and their respective
partners - whose objective is to describe the movement of the SALW
imports and exports, as well as ammunition and parts, during the present
decade. Based on this data, we answer the following questions: who
exported and who imported? From whom? What? And when?
It is worth restating that the intent of this report is not to explain the
cause of arms imports and exports by Latin American countries. Beyond
merely providing information, we do indeed wish to awaken, by means of
the information presented here, the curiosity of other researches, activists
and government staff members such that they may continue to perform research in their countries regarding the transparency of this information,
on who is using the transferred SALW, and how.
The data used for this report came from the NISAT database, which
contains more than 800,000 entries for SALW transfers worldwide since
1962. The NISAT database gets its information from different sources,
COMTRADE among them. In this study we decided to restrict ourselves
to data from this latter source because, in theory, all countries report
transfers to the UN. This data is declared in accordance with the
Harmonized System (SH) merchandise classification system. The HS has
existed since 1988and, in 2007, was revised for the fourth time; previous
revisions were in 1992, 1996 and in 2002. Regarding the period analyzed,
we are looking at data up until 2006, since at the time the study closed
this was the most recent year available on NISAT.
Abstract: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has announced its 2008 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on "countries of particular concern," or CPCs. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief. The Commission's recommendations for CPC designation for 2008 are Burma, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
In contrast to the State Department, which removed Vietnam from the CPC list in 2006, the Commission concluded that Vietnam still merits designation as a CPC. There has been notable progress, but it has occurred alongside persistent abuses, discrimination, and restrictions. The government continues to imprison and detain dozens of individuals who advocate for religious freedom reforms in Vietnam. Ethnic minority Buddhists and Protestants are often harassed, beaten, detained, arrested, and discriminated against, and they continue to face some efforts to coerce renunciations of faith.
The Commission has also established a Watch List of countries where conditions do not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation but which require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments. Countries on the Commission's Watch List for 2008 are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Abstract: La prévalence du VIH atteint voire dépasse 1% aux Bahamas, à la Barbade, au Belize, au Guyana, en Haïti, en Jamaïque, au Suriname et à la Trinité-et-
Tobago (ONUSIDA, 2006). La plupart des pays de la région montrent une baisse ou une stabilisation de la prévalence du VIH, particulièrement dans les zones
urbaines, tandis que les changements intervenus dans les zones semi-urbaines et rurales ont été modérés.
L’inadéquation des systèmes de surveillance du VIH
dans plusieurs pays rend néanmoins difficile l’analyse
des tendances récentes de ces épidémies.
Abstract: U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America intensified in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. In its April 2007 Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department highlighted threats in Colombia, Peru, and the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. There were no known operational cells of Islamic terrorists in the hemisphere, but pockets of ideological supporters in the region lent financial, logistical, and moral support to terrorist groups in the Middle East. Cuba has remained on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1982, which triggers a number of economic sanctions. In May 2007, for the second year in a row, the Department of State, pursuant to Arms Export Control Act, included Venezuela on the annual list of countries not cooperating on antiterrorism efforts. Congress fully funded the Administration’s FY2008 request for $8.1 million in Anti-Terrorism Assistance for Western Hemisphere countries in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2008 (P.L. 110-161). In the first session of the 110th Congress, the House approved H.Con.Res. 188, which condemned the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, and H.Res. 435, which expressed concern over the emerging national security implications of Iran’s efforts to expand its influence in Latin America, and
emphasized the importance of eliminating Hezbollah’s financial network in the triborder area. The Senate also approved S.Con.Res. 53, which condemned the hostagetaking of three U.S. citizens for over four years by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, while a similar resolution, H.Con.Res. 260, was introduced in the House.
Abstract: In the first Congressional hearing held on the controversial case of violent Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight invited National Security Archive Senior Analyst Peter Kornbluh to testify on formerly top secret CIA and FBI intelligence reports linking Posada to the October 6, 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner. In his testimony, Kornbluh argued that the declassified records demonstrated that Posada had concrete foreknowledge of the bombing; was in possession of a surveillance report on Cuban targets that included the doomed plane; received coded messages immediately after the plane went into the ocean from the men who placed the bombs; and was quickly identified by multiple FBI and CIA sources in Venezuela as one of two masterminds of the attack that claimed the lives of all 73 passengers and crew.
Abstract: This monograph conceptualizes a post-Castro future for the Cuban armed forces. The author projects required mission and structure changes, as the Cuban military will need to be integrated into the family of Western Hemisphere militaries, support democracy, be subordinate to elected civilian leaders, and respect human rights.
Abstract: This overview report is a companion to the annual
survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the
The reports are excerpted from Freedom in the World 2007, which surveys the
state of freedom in 193 countries and 15 select territories. The ratings and
accompanying essays are based on events from December 1, 2005 through
December 31, 2006. The 17 countries and 3 territories profiled in this report are
drawn from the total of 45 countries and 7 territories that are considered to be
Not Free and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights
Included in this report are eight countries judged to have the worst records:
Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan. Also included are two territories, Chechnya and Tibet, whose
inhabitants suffer intense repression. These states and regions received the
Freedom House survey's lowest rating: 7 for political rights and 7 for civil
liberties. Within these entities, state control over daily life is pervasive and
wide-ranging, independent organizations and political opposition are banned or
suppressed, and fear of retribution for independent thought and action is part of
daily life. In the case of Chechnya, the rating in large measure reflects the fallout
of a vicious conflict that in the last 12 years has disrupted normal life and
resulted in some 200,000 deaths.
The report also includes nine further countries near the bottom of Freedom
House's list of the most repressive: Belarus, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial
Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, 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 private
discussion while severely suppressing opposition political activity, impeding
independent organizing, and censoring or punishing criticism of the state.
Massive human rights violations take place in nearly every part of the world.
This year's roster of the "most repressive" includes countries from the Americas,
the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and East Asia; they represent a wide array
of cultures and levels of economic development. This report from Freedom
House to the United Nations focuses on states and regions that have seen some
of the world's most severe repression and most systematic and brutal violations
of human dignity. The report seeks to focus the attention of the United Nations
Human Rights Council on states and territories that deserve investigation and
condemnation for their widespread violations.
[Ed. note: Exact publishing date not given]
Abstract: Restrictions on travel to Cuba have been a key and often contentious component
in U.S. efforts to isolate the communist government of Fidel Castro for much of the
past 40 years. Over time, there have been numerous changes to the restrictions, and
for five years, from 1977 until 1982, there were no restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Under the Bush Administration, enforcement of U.S. restrictions on Cuba travel has
increased, and restrictions on travel and on private remittances to Cuba have been
tightened. In March 2003, the Administration eliminated travel for people-to-people
educational exchanges unrelated to academic coursework. In June 2004, the
Administration further restricted family and educational travel, eliminated the
category of fully-hosted travel, and restricted remittances so that they coul#d only be
sent to the remitter's immediate family. In 2005, the Administration further
restricted religious travel to Cuba by changing licensing guidelines for such travel.
Abstract: Since the early 1960s, U.S. policy toward Cuba under Fidel Castro has consisted
largely of isolating the communist nation through comprehensive economic
sanctions, which have been significantly tightened by the Bush Administration.
Another component of U.S. policy has consisted of support measures for the Cuban
people, including private humanitarian donations and U.S.-sponsored radio and
television broadcasting to Cuba. While there appears to be broad agreement on the
overall objective of U.S. policy toward Cuba xe2x80x94 to help bring democracy and respect
for human rights to the island xe2x80x94 there are several schools of thought on how to
achieve that objective: some advocate maximum pressure on Cuba until re#forms are
enacted; others argue for lifting some U.S. sanctions judged to be hurting the Cuban
people; and still others call for a swift normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations. Fidel
Castro's announcement in late July 2006 that he was temporarily ceding political
power to his brother Raxc3xbal in order to recover from surgery has prompted some
Members to call for re-examination of U.S. policy.
Abstract: The United States, particularly the Army, has a long history of involvement with Cuba. It has included, among others, the Spanish-American War of 1898, military interventions in 1906 and 1912, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, the 1962 Missile Crisis, counterinsurgency, and low intensity warfare in Latin America and Africa against Cuban supported guerrilla movements. After almost 5 decades of authoritarian one-man rule, Fidel Castro remains firmly in power. On July 31, his brother, Raul Castro, assumed provisional presidential power after an official announcement that Fidel was ill and would undergo surgery. What would be the strategic and political implications attendant to Castro's eventual demise or incapacitation? The author suggests some possible transition or succession scenarios and examines the consequences that might follow and the role that the United States might be called to play.
Abstract: Freedom House has prepared this overview report as a companion to our annual survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World. We are publishing this report to assist policymakers, human rights organizations, democracy advocates, and others who are working to advance freedom around the world. We also hope that the report will be useful to the work of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.
The reports are excerpted from Freedom in the World 2006, which surveys the state of freedom in 192 countries and 14 select territories. The ratings and accompanying essays are based on events from December 1, 2004 through November 30, 2005. The 17 countries and 3 territories profiled in this report are drawn from the total of 45 countries and 8 territories that are considered to be Not Free and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights violations.