The new Freedom House report 2012 (see below) places Armenia once again on the list of countries which are “partially free”.
“Partially free” effectively means non-democratic. The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is even worse. Its status has changed from “partially free” to “non-free” territory.
The Freedom House report analyzes the changing trends in all world regions. Referring to Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia region (where Armenia is classified) the report's author Arch Puddington says: “The authoritarian temptation poses a threat even in countries with recent histories of freewheeling democracy. Thus Ukraine suffered a major decline due to President Viktor Yanukovych?s moves to crush the political opposition through a variety of antidemocratic tactics… In Georgia, President Mikheil Saakashvili continued to face criticism for his apparent efforts to marginalize potential opposition figures. Meanwhile, in several cases, the region?s most repressive regimes declined still further. In Azerbaijan, the government of President Ilham Aliyev used force to break up demonstrations, jailed opposition activists, tried to neutralize the international press, and misused state power to evict citizens from their homes as part of grandiose building schemes.
“In a nutshell, there is not a single truly free place in the Caucasus and vicinity”, says Eurasianet.org.
There are 48 authoritarian countries in the world, forming 24% of the countries and 35% of the world population.
The methodology used by Freedom House depends on evaluating each country based on two broader criteria: Respect for political rights (PR) and civil liberties (CL). Countries are ranked on a scale of 1-7, with 1 representing the highest level of freedom and 7 representing the lowest level of freedom. Armenia has scored 6 for political rights and 4 for civil liberties.
The measurement is based on examining certain domains such as: electoral process, civil society, independent media, national democratic governance, local democratic governance, judicial framework and independence & corruption.
According to the report “registration requirements for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Armenia are cumbersome and time-consuming. The judiciary is subject to political pressure from the executive branch and suffers from considerable corruption. Police make arbitrary arrests without warrants, beat detainees during arrest and interrogation, and use torture to extract confessions. Prison conditions in Armenia are poor, and threats to prisoner health are significant… Key industries remain in the hands of so-called oligarchs and influential cliques who received preferential treatment in the early stages of privatization”.
These are some of the many irregularities recorded in Armenia.
About Freedom House
Freedom House is a international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on its conceptions of democracy, political freedom and human rights. It publishes an annual report assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each country, which is used in political science research. The organization was founded by Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, and describes itself as “a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world.”
GENERAL REPORT (PDF FORMAT, 3.6MB)