US behind Mongolia and Argentina in Freedom House ranking of world’s democracies

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The United States has dropped below Mongolia and Argentina in a new rankings of freedom around the world with Finland, Sweden and Norway at the top of the list.

America has plunged down the rankings after a long string of political woes that culminated in a crowd of Donald Trump fanatics raging through Congress in a doomed attempt to reverse an election result.

The Freedom House study also gives the US low numbers for racial inequality and increasing restrictions on voting – with the overall ‘freedom score’ dropping to 83 out of 100, compared to 94 a decade ago.

In contrast, the three Nordic countries at the top of the table all scored the 100-point maximum with high praise for their civil liberties and political rights.

New Zealand, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Canada and Australia were also near the top of the rankings, while the UK score of 93 out of 100 placed it well above the US.

On the other side of the table, Syria and Tibet recorded a score of just one in 100, with North Korea just above them among the countries considered ‘not free’.

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Finland tops Freedom House's 'Freedom in the World', giving it full appreciation for both political rights and civil liberties

Finland tops Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World’, giving it full appreciation for both political rights and civil liberties

In last place is Tibet, which is 'not free' according to the Freedom in the World report, giving it a score of one in 100

In last place is Tibet, which is 'not free' according to the Freedom in the World report, giving it a score of one in 100

In last place is Tibet, which is ‘not free’ according to the Freedom in the World report, giving it a score of one in 100

Freedom House is special report said of America’s “battered democracy” that the political crises in the US “have a uniquely damaging effect on democracy in the rest of the world.”

The January riot caused widespread alarm among America’s allies and delight among its enemies who enjoyed the opportunity to question the health of American democracy.

“The power of American democracy matters to people everywhere, not just here at home,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

“Congress and the Biden administration must make it a priority to strengthen our institutions, restore civic standards and keep the promise of universal freedom on which our nation is founded,” he adds.

The report says efforts must be made to combat racial injustice and curb the excessive influence of money in politics and policy-making.

America’s score of 83 out of 100 keeps it on the list of ‘free countries’, but means the US is doing worse than Mongolia, Croatia, Argentina and Romania, among others.

In January, a separate study found that corruption levels in the US were the worst since 2012.

There are “alleged conflicts of interest and abuse of office at the highest level,” said Transparency International, a campaign group.

Weak oversight of the $ 1 trillion Covid-19 aid package and incorrect PPE contracts have made the US more corrupt, the study found.

Map showing the 'freedom status' of each country.  Green means the land is 'free', orange means it is 'partially free' and purple means it is 'not free'

Map showing the 'freedom status' of each country.  Green means the land is 'free', orange means it is 'partially free' and purple means it is 'not free'

Map showing the ‘freedom status’ of each country. Green means the land is ‘free’, orange means it is ‘partially free’ and purple means it is ‘not free’

A map showing the global trend in freedom, where those in yellow, orange or red have lost their freedom in the past year, while those in green have gained freedoms

A map showing the global trend in freedom, where those in yellow, orange or red have lost their freedom in the past year, while those in green have gained freedoms

A map showing the global trend in freedom, where those in yellow, orange or red have lost their freedom in the past year, while those in green have gained freedoms

Britain has seen a milder dip in the rankings, from 95 out of 100 four years ago to a score of 93 in the latest report.

“In recent years, there have been concerns about increased government surveillance of residents, as well as rising Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment,” it says.

The UK scores maximum points for holding fair elections and allowing opposition parties to operate freely with a realistic chance of defeating the government.

But concerns were raised about Covid-related procurement deals with politically affiliated companies, as well as ministers making “forays into the academic curriculum.”

The UK is behind Taiwan and Cyprus in the table, as are Germany, Austria and the Nordic countries, but ahead of France, Italy and Spain.

Countries with scores of 72 or higher were all considered ‘free’, with Brazil, Israel and Bulgaria scraping only narrowly to the top tier.

The next category – ‘partially free’ – included major global players such as India and Hong Kong, where China has imposed a large-scale security regime over the past year.

Hong Kong’s score has fallen nine points to 52 out of 100 in the past four years after Beijing responded vigorously to a wave of protests in the city.

Increased government oversight in the UK has limited freedom in the country, alongside growing Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment

Increased government oversight in the UK has limited freedom in the country, alongside growing Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment

Increased government oversight in the UK has limited freedom in the country, alongside growing Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment

The report says efforts must be made to combat racial injustice and curb the excessive influence of money in politics and policy-making.

The report says efforts must be made to combat racial injustice and curb the excessive influence of money in politics and policy-making.

The report says efforts must be made to combat racial injustice and curb the excessive influence of money in politics and policy-making.

Meanwhile, Russia fell into the lowest category, ‘not free’, with a score of only 20 out of 100 in what has been described as an ‘authoritarian political system’.

Freedom House authors last summer criticized Vladimir Putin’s “ highly orchestrated referendum ” that would allow him to remain in power until 2036.

They also highlighted the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who says he was targeted by a nerve agent by Kremlin agents.

Also at the bottom of the table is Saudi Arabia, which only scored seven out of 100, despite its efforts to profile itself as a modernizing country.

The Saudi monarchy “restricts nearly all political rights and civil liberties” and “relies on ubiquitous surveillance” and the “criminalization of dissent,” the report said.

North Korea scored three out of 100, while war-torn Syria was right at the bottom of the table with just one point – and a score of minus three out of 40 for political rights.

Source: Freedom House

Source: Freedom House

Source: Freedom House