Approaching Human Rights Day: Two Key Reports

A new CIVICUS Monitor Report highlights the fact that 6 in 10 countries now seriously repress civic freedoms.

CIVICUS, the global alliance of civil society organisations and activists has just released its People Power Under Attack 2018, showing that nearly six in ten countries are now seriously restricting 3 key fundamental freedoms – freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression. This represents a major and, in some ways a growing challenge to civil society organisations and activists right across the world.  Activism of many types is coming under attack through mechanisms such as censorship, attacks on journalists and harassment of human rights defenders.

The report shows that civil society is under serious attack in 111 out of 196 countries, an increase from 109 countries in March of 2018 when the last data was published.  Deeply disturbing is the Report’s finding that 4% of the world’s population live in countries where governments are fully respecting the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression.

Source: People Power Under Attack 2018 by CIVICUS

The report also highlights the fact that in the 7 countries which improved their rating as well as in other countries, there is clear evidence that peaceful activism can force repressive governments to take a different path. In Ethiopia, for instance, following years of popular unrest and the severe repression of all forms of dissent, 2018 has witnessed a remarkable about-turn. New Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has released political prisoners, eased restrictions on electronic communication and made important progress towards reforming some the country’s most repressive laws. Changes in political leadership in Gambia and Ecuador have similarly led to an improved environment for the exercise of fundamental freedoms.

Another important recent report in the lead up to Human Rights Day is the Freedom in the World Report published annually since 1973 by Freedom House the US organisation formed in 1941.  The report is chock-a-block full of immediately useable human rights education data and analysis, including the capacity to focus on individual countries including Ireland.

Source: Freedom in the World Report 2018 by Freedom House
Source: Freedom in the World Report 2018 by Freedom House

In the coming days, developmenteducation.ie will be publishing a range of ideas, materials, data and argument around the issue of human rights in addition to a range of educational activities in support of human rights education.