Democracy in the world suffers the worst crisis in decades, accentuated by the “erosion” of its standards in the United States, according to the annual report of the independent organization Freedom House published today.
The year 2017 was the twelfth consecutive in which freedom fell globally and in 71 countries deteriorated political rights and civil liberties, which only improved in 35 nations.
“Democracy is under attack and in retreat around the world, a crisis that has intensified with the rapid erosion of American democratic standards,” concludes the report “Freedom in the World 2018”, which analyzes the situation of human rights. politicians and civil liberties in the world.
“Democracy faces its most serious crisis in decades,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, a leading organization specializing in freedom and democracy based in Washington.
The report considers that “once promising” countries such as “Turkey, Venezuela, Poland and Tunisia” are among those that saw their democratic standards fall in 2017.
In addition, he notes that “the recent democratic opening in Burma has been permanently damaged by a shocking ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya minority.”
Freedom House also stresses that China and Russia “have taken advantage of the withdrawal of the leading democracies both to increase internal repression and to export their malign influence to other countries.”
One of the most important changes in 2017, according to this report, is “the withdrawal of the United States as a defender and example of democracy.”
The organization had already detected a “slow decline in political rights and civil liberties in the United States in the last seven years,” but this trend “accelerated in 2017.”
Freedom House attributes it to the “growing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, the violations of basic ethical standards by the new Administration (of Donald Trump) and less governmental transparency.”
“Although institutions such as the press and justice have remained resilient in the face of President Trump’s unprecedented attacks, these attacks could weaken them with serious implications for the health of United States democracy and the United States’ place in the world.” , he says.
“Meanwhile, the abdication of the traditional role of the United States as the leading defender of democracy is cause for deep concern and has potential consequences in the ongoing struggle against the modern authoritarians and their pernicious ideas,” he adds.
In its previous report, published last January 31, with Trump recently installed in the White House, the organization already warned that the consolidated democracies of the world had suffered in 2016 a setback in freedom due to the rise of populism and nationalism.
In previous years, the decline in freedom was mainly concentrated in autocracies and dictatorships, which went from “bad to worse”, but in 2016 solid democracies registered the most significant losses.