Most and least free countries in the world: report

Report: World freedom going into reverse?
Report: World freedom going into reverse? (photo: Freedom House)

For the past decade, one country has been consistently ranked as one of the least free nations in the world in Freedom House’s ‘Freedom’ annual survey, and that country is Syria.

The Freedom House report, released last week by the independent watchdog organization, said Syria is in a super challenging position to regain peace and stability. The country has the worst ranking this year on both political rights and civil liberties.

Saudi Arabia, sitting not far south of Syria’s border, as Freedom House said it’s ‘one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.’

Overall, the Middle East also had the worst record of any region in the world. The overall rankings have been on the decline for 9 straight years.

The freest regions in the world remain the Americas and parts of Asia and Europe. Some countries were highlighted as the freest countries in the world included: the United States, India, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan.

But the Freedom report said the U.S. was affected by the cumulative impact over recent years of certain deficiencies in the electoral system, the influence of private money in election campaigns and the legislative process, legislative gridlock, the Obama administration’s failure to fulfill promises of enhanced government openness, and fresh evidence of instances of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

China was also heavily criticized in this annual report as the Chinese Communist Party has ‘intensified its persecution of human-rights lawyers, journalists and minority rights advocates in the wake of (its) stock-market crash and singled out new targets for abuse, including labor activists, public health advocates, and women’s rights defenders, more than offsetting the institution of a two-child policy and other modest reforms.’

This year’s report, dubbed “Anxious Dictators, Wavering Democracies,” said last year was the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, as it observed economic downturns and fear of social unrest leading Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent.

Overall, the report said that freedom for 72 countries saw a decline in their freedom ranking. Only 43 countries saw an improvement.