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Freedom House report

The new Freedom House report is out and it paints a daunting picture of the state of liberal democracy worldwide. It’s not only the usual suspects in Africa and Asia that pull down the bar, even supposedly liberal democracies contribute to the erosion of democratic principles – including here at home, in Europe.

The report points to Russia’s and China’s role in promoting authoritarianism abroad. Is Europe still able to credibly do the opposite, promoting freedom and democracy abroad? The continent served as an inspiration for those fighting for freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. But over the past years, a series of outrageous, illegal and immoral acts to tackle the refugee crisis – or more precisely: the refugees – tarnishing Europe’s role as an inspiration for those fighting for democracy and human rights world wide. The same happens if ever more concessions are made to the allegedly legitimate concerns of the far.-right, hampering freedom of individuals and organisations. Who are freedom fighters worldwide supposed to look at, if Europe considers it more important to keep refugees out, than to uphold their basic human rights and dignity? 

 “Freedom for one, means freedom for all.” The opposite is also true: infringing certain people’s rights, ultimately risks everybody’s rights and everybody’s freedom. Standing up for the rights of the oppressed and standing firmly against far-right ideas and agenda-setting is more urgent than ever. Not only for us, but also for all of those who are looking at us from afar.