The respected U.S. democracy watchdog Freedom House classifies Ukraine at the end of 2021 as only “partly free”.
It received a Global Freedom Score of 60%, an Internet Freedom Score of 62% and a Democracy Score of 39%. The country comparison and rankings list also deems Ukraine to be a transitional or hybrid regime.
Key concerns about Ukraine
U.S. based Freedom House lists its presents concerns about Ukraine as the endemic problem of corruption and an eroding willingness to tackle it; violence and disruption of women’s and LGBT+ meetings; a threat to democracy through financial payments and lobbying to appoint loyalists into key power positions; and stalled or short falling reform of “the country’s corrupt and politicized courts”.
What is Freedom House?
Freedom House was established in New York in 1941 to support U.S. forces in the fight against fascism. It has garnered support from U.S. Democrats and Republicans, plus other influential leaders in industry and around the world.
According to its website, “Freedom House believed that American leadership was crucial if the post-war world were to evolve into a place where democracy was the normal state of affairs, and not an exception.”
After World War II, Freedom House “supported the creation of the institutions that were critical to the promotion of peace, human rights, and cooperation between nations”. It also supported the Atlantic Alliance, The Marshal Plan and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Approach to determining the rankings
In 1973, Freedom House began using social science techniques to assess freedom levels in countries around the world. They assigned a numerical score to each country, ranking it as “Free”, “Partly Free”, or “Not Free”. This report in now known as the “Freedom of the World” report and encompasses some 210 countries and territories.
Also factored into the rankings are people’s access to political rights and civil liberties. Individual freedoms such as the right to vote, freedom of expression and equality before the law “can be affected by state or non-state actors” says Freedom House.
How does Ukraine compare with other nations?
Top scorers in the Global Freedom rankings are Norway, Sweden and Finland at 100%. Most European countries are rated at 90% and above. The United States is somewhat lower at 83%.
Ukraine is ranked at 60% and referred to as a transitional or hybrid regime.
The Russian Federation scores 20%, Belarus 11%, Crimea 7% and Eastern Donbas 4%.
How are the ratings assessed?
Also factored in are people’s access to political rights and civil liberties. Individual freedoms, including the right to vote, freedom of expression and equality before the law “can be affected by state or non-state actors” according to Freedom House.
What are the Summits for Democracy?
“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it and renew it.” President Joe Biden.
Freedom House supported President Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’, held on Dec. 9-10.
The first of two planned events, the Summit brought together world leaders and other influencers to “set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic rule” and a unified approach towards dealing with the challenges that global democracies face today, according to the U.S. Summit for Democracy statement.
President Zelensky spoke at the Summit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a video speech to the Summit in which he expressed gratitude to the U.S. for initiating the dialogue on “combating corruption, protecting human rights and fighting authoritarianism”.
He added that Ukraine is “ready to overcome the challenges”, stressing that freedom, independence and democracy are “part of the DNA of Ukrainians,” according to a statement on the presidential website on Dec. 10.
Freedom House in Ukraine
Freedom House in Kyiv, Ukraine is part of the U.S. plan to bring democracy to Ukraine and to the world, and continues to promote freedom, support Ukrainians to promote democracy and reduce corruption.
According to its website, “Freedom House is founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people.”
The organisation works with many partners in Ukraine to “protect activists and journalists from persecution and violence,” to “conduct public oversight over the law-enforcement and security sector,” to “advocate in support of human rights and good governance,” and to mobilise efforts “to resist censorship”.
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