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Russia's war of aggression led to devastating human rights atrocities in Ukraine – Freedom House

09.03.2023, 13:22
Photo credit: Freedom House
Photo credit: Freedom House

Global freedom declined for the 17th consecutive year. Russia's war of aggression led to devastating human rights atrocities in Ukraine. International human rights organization Freedom House states this in their 2022 report, according to Radio Liberty.

"The most serious setbacks for freedom and democracy were the result of war, coups, and attacks on democratic institutions by illiberal incumbents. The authoritarian regime in Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in a bid to scuttle that country’s hard-won democratic progress," the report reads.

According to the human rights activists, "Whatever false justifications for this war of aggression have been promulgated by the Kremlin’s state-controlled media, its clear purpose is to remove the elected leadership in Kyiv and deprive Ukrainians of their fundamental right to free self-government."

The report calls Russia a "not free" country which scores 16 out of 100 in the freedom ranking.

"In his desire to destroy democracy in Ukraine and deny Ukrainians their political rights and civil liberties, Putin has caused the deaths and injuries of thousands of Ukrainian civilians as well as soldiers on both sides, the destruction of crucial infrastructure, the displacement of millions of people from their homes, a proliferation of torture and sexual violence, and the intensification of already harsh repression within Russia," the report says.

The decline of freedom in Russia has also affected its neighbors, according to the report.

Three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, "authoritarianism dominates Eurasia," the analysts say.

Overall, the number of countries scoring zero for freedom of expression has grown from 14 to 33 over the year, with media freedom under pressure in no fewer than 157 countries and territories.

The report found that the Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, and Finland – are the freest in the world, scoring 100, while Tibet, Syria, and South Sudan rank just 1 on the list. Turkmenistan has taken the penultimate place with two points.

Freedom House says that none of the former Soviet countries are marked as "free" except for the three Baltic states – Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia – which are members of the European Union and NATO.

"This lack of democratic governance has destabilized the region, as strongman rulers use military force to lash out at their neighbors and smother domestic dissent," the report says.

In terms of freedom, Belarus is now equal to Afghanistan, scoring 8.

Ukraine ranked between Guatemala and Niger on the list, with a total freedom score of 50, as a "partly free" country. Political rights were assessed at 22 points, the level of civil freedom at 28.

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