Politics 19:54 27/01/2016 Region

Freedom House: Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Republic significantly outdo Azerbaijan with their freedom records

Freedom House, an international human rights organisation, presented its annual report Freedom in the World 2016 , assessing the level of political and civil freedoms in 195 countries on a scale describing them as ‘Free,’ ‘Partly Free’ and ‘Not Free.’

Armenia scored 46 points out of 100 and is shown among the ‘partly free’ countries. The political rights in Armenia are assessed 5 points out of 7 and the civil liberties – 4. The overall freedom rating of the country is 4.5.

In the report, 100 points stands for the best results and 0 for the worst ones. The level of the political rights and civil liberties is assessed on a 7-point scale (1 = most free and 7 = least free).
Nagorno Karabakh Republic is also ‘partly free’ with 33 points. Both the political rights and the civil liberties in the country are assessed 5 making the overall freedom score of the country 5.
Neighbouring Azerbaijan, marked as ‘not free,’ received only 16 points. The political rights in Azerbaijan are assessed 7 and the civil liberties 6. The overall freedom rating of the country stands at 6.5.

As explained in the report, Azerbaijan’s political rights rating declined from 6 to 7 due to an intensified crackdown on dissent, widespread irregularities surrounding the November parliamentary elections, and serious violations of the right to a fair trial in cases against journalists, opposition activists, and human rights defenders.

Wary of spending cuts, declining living standards and the social unrest they could cause, Azerbaijan cracked down on rights activists and other critics. The incumbents sought to fortify themselves against any remaining opposition or dissent through sham elections.

“Tightly controlled legislative elections in Azerbaijan, which followed another year of intense suppression of civil society, resulted in a hollow victory for the ruling party, with most opposition groups boycotting the vote. President Ilham Aliyev’s government used the polls to show its teeth to the democratic world, barring several foreign journalists from covering the process and imposing restrictions on international observer groups that led some to suspend their monitoring missions,” the authors of the report highlight.

In the South Caucasus, Georgia is recognised as ‘partly free’ scoring 64 points, the Republic of Abkhazia, also ‘partly free,’ received 42 points, while South Ossetia is ‘not free’ scoring only 11.
Turkey (53 points) is also mentioned among the ‘partly free’ countries. Iran (16) is ‘not free.’
The ‘not free’ countries in the CIS are Kazakhstan (24), Russia (22), Belarus (17), Turkmenistan (4) and Uzbekistan (3). Kyrgyzstan and Moldova are ‘partly free’ with 38 and 60 points, respectively. 
In the previous edition of the report, Freedom in the World 2015, Azerbaijan was again among the ‘not free’ countries, while Armenia was ‘partly free.’

Freedom in the World is produced each year by a team of in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank, and human rights communities. The 2016 edition involved more than 80 analysts and nearly 30 advisers. The analysts, who prepare the draft reports and scores, use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organisations, and individual professional contacts.



Source Panorama.am
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