Freedom House Report 2021: Democracy under Siege

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As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny.

WRITTEN BYSarah RepucciAmy Slipowitz, Freedom House

As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world in 2020, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny. Incumbent leaders increasingly used force to crush opponents and settle scores, sometimes in the name of public health, while beleaguered activists—lacking effective international support—faced heavy jail sentences, torture, or murder in many settings.

These withering blows marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006. The long democratic recession is deepening.

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How can illegal timber trade in the Greater Mekong be stopped?

by Sheryl Lee Tian Tong on 30 December 2021

Mongabay.com

  • Over the past decade, the European Union has been entering into voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with tropical timber-producing countries to fight forest crime.
  • These bilateral trade agreements legally bind both sides to trade only in verified legal timber products.
  • There is evidence VPAs help countries decrease illegal logging rates, especially illegal industrial timber destined for export markets.
  • Within the Greater Mekong region, only Vietnam has signed a VPA.

Over the past decade, the European Union entered into collaborative agreements with tropical timber-producing countries to fight forest crime and verify the legality of wood imported into the EU.

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