'Freedom gained during Arab Spring uprising under threat'
Washington: Democratic governance declined throughout the world in 2011, showing that gains made in the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring are very fragile and in its aftermath leaders may slip back into authoritarian rule, a U.S. watchdog group said.
The Crossroads Report published by Freedom House found that gains made in the Middle East and North Africa after the uprising in Libya triggered a wave of protests across the region has notably declined.
According to the Daily Mail, only Tunisia has shown an improvement in its overall governance score among the Middle East-North African countries surveyed.
The organization judged levels of democracies by looking at government accountability and the rule of law in civil and criminal matters.
The deterioration raised an alarm for pro-democracy advocates who had hoped the overthrow of brutal authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt would lead to lasting democracy, the report said.
“It is unclear whether the popular dismissal of the old models of authoritarianism will translate into enduring public support for novice representative government and contentious institutional reforms,” Vanessa Tucker, project director, said.
The report found that levels of accountability and public voice rose in Egypt after Mubarak was ousted, but other areas did not show improvements.
Restrictions on the media, hostility to non-governmental organizations and efforts to restrain women’s political activity through ‘virginity checks’ by the military were cited as areas of concern, the report said.
In South America, increase in violence and organized crime have been continuously reported.
The trend included high rates of violence against journalists in Mexico and Honduras, and growing interference by organized crime in the electoral process in Guatemala and Mexico, the report said.
Freedom of expression was also constricted as the Indonesian and Cambodian governments and others cracked down on the media, it added.