More and more countries are restricting basic rights such as freedom of expression and assembly, according to a recent study. According to the report, there are now only 43 so-called open countries. The study was commissioned by the aid organization Brot fur die Welt.
Only about 260 million people still live in 43 so-called open countries, including Germany, according to the "Atlas of Civil Society" published Wednesday by the Protestant aid agency Bread for the World. This corresponds to three percent of the world’s population.
A year earlier, there were 282 million people in 45 countries. Australia and Malta slipped out of the best category this year.
Rights are restricted in 153 states
The atlas draws primarily on data from the Civicus civic engagement network. 196 countries are classified into five categories – from "open" to "impaired," "restricted" and "repressed" to "closed".
In states the report rates as "open," demonstrations are allowed, media are free to report and authorities are open to criticism. These include many European countries as well as New Zealand, Uruguay, Costa Rica and numerous smaller island states.
Many more people live in one of the 153 states in which the rights of civil society are restricted or even suppressed. Basic rights such as freedom of expression are violated in 42 countries. The authors of the report include the EU countries France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta, as well as Argentina, Australia, Japan and the USA. Around 1.1 billion people lived in these countries.
Closed societies in 24 countries
For eight out of ten people in the world, freedom is now severely or very severely impaired. The fundamental rights of 1.2 billion people in 49 states are at least "restricted," according to the report.
Another three billion people would have to fear being monitored, intimidated, imprisoned, injured or even killed if they criticized those in power in their country. That’s just under 40 percent of the world’s population living in 38 countries where civil society is "suppressed," he said.
The atlas ames a completely "closed" society in 24 countries, in which around two billion people live. This category includes states such as Egypt, China, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Women disproportionately victims of violence
This year, the authors of the report placed a thematic focus on women’s rights. "Women are disproportionately often victims of digital, psychological and ultimately physical violence, up to and including politically motivated murder," said the president of Bread for the World, Cornelia Fullkrug-Weitzel.
"Discrimination continues when murders are then recorded and prosecuted as relationship crimes rather than politically motivated attacks against women," she criticized. Yet around the world, it is often women "who carry development and reconciliation processes and initiate positive change.".