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 Wednesday, March 3 2021 12:14
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Freedom House signals detrimental impact of conflict over Karabakh on  freedom in Armenia

Freedom House signals detrimental impact of conflict over Karabakh on  freedom in Armenia

ArmInfo.As a deadly pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict devastated the world in 2020, the defenders of democracy have suffered further heavy  toll in their struggle against authoritarian enemies, shifting the  international balance in favor of tyranny. This is stated in the  report "Freedom in the world - 2021: Democracy under siege" by the  international organization Freedom House.

For example, the report notes that incumbent state leaders  increasingly used force to crush opponents and settle scores,  sometimes in the name of public health, while besieged activists -  without effective international support - faced harsh prison  sentences, torture or murder in many situations. ...

"These crushing blows marked the 15th consecutive year of global  freedom declines. "- write the analyst of the organization, adding  that almost 75 percent of the world's population lived in countries  where recorded deterioration of freedom last year.

The organization's experts write that the expansion of authoritarian  rule, combined with the fading and inconsistent presence of major  democracies in the international arena, has had tangible consequences  for the lives and security of people, including the frequent use of  military force to resolve political disputes.  "The leaders of  Ethiopia and Azerbaijan last year unleashed wars in the regions of  Tigray and Nagorno- Karabakh, respectively, relying on the support of  authoritarian neighbors Eritrea and Turkey, thus destabilizing the  surrounding areas. The aftermath of hostilities shattered hopes for  pilot reforms in Armenia, which entered conflict with the Azerbaijani  regime because of Nagorno-Karabakh, "the Freedom House report says.

In the context of the changing international balance, the specialists  of the international organization again touched upon the events in  the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, noting that another  symptom of the global decline of democratic norms was the use of  military force by authoritarian states in Nagorno- Karabakh last  year.

The organization's experts recalled that new hostilities broke out in  September 2020, when the Azerbaijani regime, with the strong support  of Turkey, launched an offensive with the aim of settling the  territorial dispute, which has not been resolved through diplomatic  means with Armenia over the years.

"At least 6,500 military and hundreds of civilians were killed, and  tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. There  was no significant international participation and the war ended only  when Moscow imposed a peacekeeping plan on both sides, fixing the  territorial gains of the Azerbaijani armed forces. but leaving many  other questions unanswered, "- stated in Freedom House.

At the same time, analysts add that the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh  had an impact on democracy.  According to them, the conflict not only  strengthened the power of the authoritarian President of Azerbaijan  Ilham Aliyev, but also threatens to destabilize the power in Armenia.

Freedom House assures that improvements in freedom in Armenia began  to appear after the Velvet Revolution of 2018, when citizens also  voted for a government more reform-oriented.  "But Prime Minister  Nikol Pashinyan's surrender in the war sparked a violent reaction  among some of his opponents, who stormed parliament in November and  attacked the speaker of parliament. Such a mess threatens the  country's hard-won progress and could provoke a chain of events that  will bring Armenia closer to autocrats. the tendencies of its  neighbors, "the experts of the international human rights  organization are convinced.

Thus, according to the Freedom-2021 scale of the organization,  Armenia is on the 55th line, joining the partly free countries, and  located between Kosovo and Nepal.  Neighboring Azerbaijan and Iran,  ranked as non-free countries, ranked 10th and 16th, respectively.  Turkey is the 32nd line in the list of not free states. The best of  all is in Georgia, which is considered a free country.  It is located  at 60th position.

Armenia's partners in the EAEU are not optimistic. So, all of them  are ranked as non-free states with the following results: Belarus -  11th place, Kazakhstan - 23rd place, Kyrgyzstan -28, Russia - 20.

Freedom House, in its annual Freedom in the World report, assesses  people's access to political rights and civil liberties in 210  countries and territories. Individual freedoms - from the right to  vote to freedom of expression and equality before the law - can be  affected by state or non-state actors.


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