Freedom ‘on the decline’ in The Gambia’

        Freedom House ranks country ‘Not Free”

By Sanna Camara

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The gambia has been listed among ‘five of the 10 countries’ that registered the most significant declines in the Freedom in the World 2012 report, with its rating going down by minus 24 points. The report covered over two-year period since 2010.

 According to its report released recently,  The Gambia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, and Djibouti over the five-year period from 2007 through 2011, has exhibited declines in each of the topical sub-categories measured by Freedom in the World.

 “Particularly substantial declines were recorded for rule of law and freedom of association,” the report stated, noting that The Gambia experienced the most notable decline among sub-Saharan countries over the past year.

A presidential election ‘neither free nor fair’

 “Its status moved from ‘Partly Free’ to ‘Not Free’ due to a presidential election that was judged neither free nor fair, and President Yahya Jammeh’s suppression of the political opposition, the media, and civil society in the run-up to the vote,” it added.

As a ‘Not Free’ country, the Gambia is a country “where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.”

Freedom House supports global freedom through comprehensive analysis, dedicated advocacy, and concrete assistance for democratic activists around the world. Founded in 1941, Freedom House has long been a vigorous proponent of the right of all individuals to be free.

Freedom according to political rights and civil liberties

 The Freedom in the World survey provides an annual evaluation of the progress and decline of freedom in 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories. The survey, which includes both analytical reports and numerical ratings, measures freedom according to political rights and civil liberties.

The report explained: “Political rights ratings are based on an evaluation of three subcategories: electoral process, political pluralism and participation, and functioning of government. Civil liberties ratings are based on an evaluation of four subcategories: freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights.”

Does not rate governments or government performance

 The survey does not rate governments or government performance per se, but rather the real world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals: “Freedoms can be affected by state actions as well as by non-state actors, including insurgents and other armed groups,” it noted.

 

The findings are reached after a multi-layered process of analysis and evaluation by a team of in house and consultant regional experts and scholars. The survey, which has been published since 1972, enables an examination of trends in freedom over time and on a comparative basis across regions with different political and economic systems. Freedom in the World’s ratings and narrative reports are used by policy makers, leading scholars, the media, and international organizations in monitoring the ebb and flow of freedom worldwide.

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