Accessibility links

Breaking News

Burkina, Others Blasted for Restricting Freedoms: Report

FILE: NGO Freedom House graphic for its FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2023 report. Issued March 8, 2023
FILE: NGO Freedom House graphic for its FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2023 report. Issued March 8, 2023

WASHINGTON - Burkina Faso, along with Peru, led a global deterioration in freedom last year but a number of other nations made improvements, giving hope in the fight against authoritarianism, Freedom House said Thursday.

The 2022 report "documents a continuation of troubling trends, but it also gives some reason to hope that the freedom recession of the past 17 years may be turning a corner," Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz said in a statement.

In its 50th annual report, the U.S. democracy research NGO downgraded both Burkina Faso and Peru on its list of countries' freedom level and also assessed declines in Russia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Hungary, among others.

Burkina Faso, which endured two coups in 2022, went down to "not free" in the NGO's rankings.

But Colombia and Lesotho were both upgraded to free from partly free. Lesotho elected diamond tycoon Sam Matekane on a platform of transparency and economic reforms in the landlocked African nation.

Colombia saw the election of its first left-wing president, Gustavo Pedro, who has vowed to increase democratic inclusion,

Despite the net decline in freedom around the world, Freedom House also saw improvements in nations including Kenya, Zambia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Malaysia, and the Philippines

"One of the trends we found in the broader global research was that both coups and attempted coups can lead to long-term deterioration down the line," she said, pointing to after-effects of the 2014 military takeover in Thailand and the 2016 attempt to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

India, which boasts of being the world's largest democracy, was listed as partly free for the third straight year after being downgraded over curbs on civil liberties and freedom of expression under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Freedom House is primarily funded by the United States as well as other democratic governments but operates independently.