CYPRUS is a “free” country according to Freedom House, which gave the Mediterranean country the highest possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties.
Cyprus was designated as a “free” country, and given the freedom rating of 1.0 where 1 is the best and 7 the worst. It also scored 1 on civil liberties and political rights.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organisation, founded in 1941 and dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world.
Marked by intensified repression in Eurasia and the Middle East, the state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House’s flagship annual report on global political rights and civil liberties.
According to the report, 88 countries, counting for 45 per cent of countries and territories included in the report are designated ‘free’. Fifty-nine (30 per cent) are rated ‘partly free’ while 48 countries (25 per cent) are deemed ‘not free’.
The number of people living under ‘not free’ conditions stood at 35 per cent of the global population, though China accounts for more than half this figure.
“The events of 2013 were shaped in part by authoritarian powers’ active resistance to democratic change and a crisis of confidence among leading democracies, particularly the United States,” said the report.
It particularly noted developments in Egypt, which endured across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions following a military coup and referred also to “serious setbacks” to democratic rights in other large, politically influential countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia.
“Some leaders effectively relied on ‘modern authoritarianism’, crippling their political opposition without annihilating it, and flouting the rule of law while maintaining a veneer of order, legitimacy, and prosperity,” said the Freedom in the World report.
According to the report, civil liberties improved in Tunisia, described as “the most promising of the Arab Spring countries”; Pakistan showed gains due to successful elections and an orderly rotation of power, while in Africa, gains occurred in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo, and Zimbabwe.
The addition of Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Pakistan raised the number of electoral democracies to 122.
Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were given the lowest possible rating of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties.
In Europe most countries showed respect for democratic standards and civil liberties, even as many faced growing nationalist sentiment in response to an influx of immigrants, said Freedom in the World.
It added however that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan displayed “increasingly authoritarian tendencies, including a crackdown on protesters in Istanbul and a campaign against critical voices in the media”.