Jan 12th 2010
Political rights and civil liberties around the world suffered for the fourth year on the trot in 2009, according to the latest report published by Freedom House, an American think-tank. This represents the longest continuous period of deterioration in the history of the report. The number of electoral democracies dropped from 119 to 116, the lowest figure since 1995. Six countries were downgraded: Lesotho to partly free and Bahrain, Gabon, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen dropped into the “not free” category. Around a third of the world’s population live in countries deemed not free, although over half of these live in China. In the Middle East and North Africa 70% of countries are not free. Still, freedom was on the march in 16 countries, notably in the Balkans, where Montenegro is now considered free, and Kosovo is partly free.
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