Freedom House: Human rights watchdog defines Karabakh as not free, registering regress

The annual report of Freedom House, released on Thursday, again put Armenia on the list of ‘partly free’ countries, whereas Nagorno-Karabakh has registered regress, being defined as a ‘not free’ territory instead of the previous ‘partly free’.

Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy Report’s estimation given to Karabakh causes concerns, as Karabakh previously got a higher estimation than Azerbaijan, whereas now both are considered to be authoritarian.

Since 2002, Washington-based ‘Freedom House’ global human rights watchdog has considered Armenia to be a ‘partly free’ country along with its neighboring Georgia, whereas Azerbaijan was a ‘not free’ country during the recent years.

According to the methodology of the report, a ‘partly free’ country is one in which there is limited respect for political rights and civil liberties. Partly Free states frequently suffer from an environment of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic and religious strife, and a political landscape in which a single party enjoys dominance despite a certain degree of pluralism.

A ‘not free’ country is one where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.

(One point is the best index in this table, and seven points is the worst.)

This year’s report, as the previous one, gave six points to the expression of a political right and its defense, and four points went to the defense of civil freedom.

As compared to the previous five points Armenia has registered regress since 2009, after the controversial elections in 2008 and the post-election clashes.

According to the methodology of the report, six points goes to those countries where “systems are ruled by military juntas, one-party dictatorships, religious hierarchies, or autocrats. These regimes may allow only a minimal manifestation of political rights, such as some degree of representation or autonomy for minorities.”
The decline of Nagorno-Karabakh’s index in the report is explained by the absence of an opposition at the Parliamentary elections 2010.

Meanwhile, Karabakh and Armenia do not agree with such a definition.

According to Spokesperson of President of Nagorno-Karabakh Davit Babayan, “the report is imperfect, and not deeply studied.”

“It is necessary to hold a deep examination for making such a conclusion, something which has not been done in Karabakh; and I believe this estimation is given for some geopolitical purposes,” Babayan told ArmeniaNow.