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Democracy Digest is the official publication of the National Endowment for Democracy, and offers news and analysis of worldwide democratic assistance.
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    Last year, Burma experienced a backsliding of its human rights situation. As the country enters an election year, the situation on the ground has deteriorated, according to a leading human rights group. Attacks on civilians in Kachin and Shan States, sexual violence committed by security forces during armed conflict, the existence of political prisoners, the […]

    The post Human Rights Council must address Burma’s backsliding appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has been informed of ongoing judicial harassment against Azerbaijani civil society activist Rasul Jafarov (above). He actively participated in the “Sing for Democracy” and the “Art for Democracy” movement ahead of the Eurovision song contest in Baku in May 2012, and was planning a campaign called “Sports […]

    The post Groups protest Azerbaijan’s harassment of activist Rasul Jafarov appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The likely passage of the bipartisan Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act offers an opportunity to consider how best to integrate the U.S. promotion of human rights and democracy with other interests and equities, argues Jeffrey Gedmin, chairman, global politics and security, at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and senior advisor at Blue Star Strategies. […]

    The post A Global Magnitsky Act: getting human rights right appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    A court in Azerbaijan on April 22, 2015, sentenced Intigam Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s leading human rights lawyer, to seven years and six months in prison on bogus charges, Human Rights Watch said today: The authorities should immediately release Aliyev, 52, and vacate his politically motivated conviction. Aliyev’s conviction comes 51 days before Azerbaijan will host the […]

    The post Azerbaijan: rights defender Intigam Aliyev convicted appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Allies of slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov are asking the United States to impose sanctions on Russian television “propagandists” they accuse of leading a media vilification campaign that helped lead to his killing, RFE/RL’s Carl Schreck reports: Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., told RFE/RL that he and Mikhail Kasyanov will meet with senior U.S. lawmakers in Washington on […]

    The post Global Magnitsky 101: Nemtsov allies aim to punish Russian ‘propagandists’ appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Nearly two decades ago on May 12, 1997, Cameroonian security agents apprehended Michel Atangana (left) without a warrant and placed him in solitary confinement in a basement cell. During court proceedings that did not meet international standards for a fair trial, Mr. Atangana was ultimately sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the alleged embezzlement of […]

    The post Cameroon uses arbitrary detention to stifle activism: the case of Michel Atangana appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    America is safer when the world is safe, more prosperous when the world prospers, and more secure in our dignity and democracy when those values become universal, according to the U.S. Department of State’s second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, or QDDR, published last week. Promoting Open, Resilient, and Democratic Societies” is one of the four […]

    The post ‘D’ for democracy in QDDR appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The PEN American Center will present its prestigious 2015 Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award to jailed investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who has been in a prison in Baku since December 5 on charges which have “no basis in reality,” RFE/RL reports: RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service Director Kenan Aliyev met with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power on […]

    The post Jailed Azeri journalist receives PEN Freedom Award appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    A dispute over Hong Kong’s annual commemoration of the 1989 crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is highlighting shifting politics of identity and approaches to democratization, with some student groups saying Hong Kongers should focus on democratic rights in the territory rather than on the mainland, the Wall Street Journal reports: The University of Hong Kong’s […]

    The post Tiananmen vigil highlights HK democrats’ differences appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Call it “spreading democracy,” call it a liberation, call it a toppling of dictators, call it whatever the heck you want. America just saved football — which the whole world can now start calling “soccer,” thank you very much, notes one observer: Football fans around the world rejoiced on Wednesday after a US-led coalition, acting on intelligence provided […]

    The post FIFA corruption scandal: democracy the cause – and cure appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The political crackdown in Venezuela was notable for its absence during the public discussions and declarations of solidarity at a summit between European and Latin American leaders earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reports: But European Council President Donald Tusk broke that silence on Friday, making it clear that Venezuela had been a big topic behind closed doors […]

    The post EU President, Nobel laureate Tutu slam Venezuela on human rights appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The U.S. policy shift in Cuba and the decision to open embassies in Washington and Havana would assist U.S. efforts to press human rights concerns, says State Department spokesman John Kirby. But Berta Soler, leader of the dissident Ladies in White (left), believes that the opening of embassies will not help the Cuban people or civil society “at all,” […]

    The post Will U.S. Cuba policy shift aid or antagonize dissidents? appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Angola faces a choice between three likely scenarios, says Rafael Marques de Morais, a leading journalist and democracy advocate: a dysfunctional status quo, with the kleptocratic, nepotistic regime maintained by a rise in oil prices; a genuine dialog on democratic transition and institution building; or letting the current crisis play itself out until things fall […]

    The post Angola: a road to dialogue or things fall apart? appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    A crackdown on dissent by authoritarian governments last year contributed to a rising tide of human rights abuses that has allowed terrorist groups to flourish, according to the State Department’s annual human rights report released Wednesday. The 2015 edition of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices “points to a global governance crisis,” said Secretary of State John F. Kerry. “In every part […]

    The post State Dept. report highlights ‘global governance crisis’ appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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      The application of scientific methods, research, and evidence are contributing to the documentation efforts of human rights movements, according to a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The meeting, dedicated to “A Scientific Approach to Human Rights,” brought together Margaret Satterthwaite of the New York University School of Law, […]

    The post Evidence-based research boosts human rights work appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    The United States isn’t ready to fully shed sanctions in Myanmar, instead awaiting progress on issues including human rights as the government run by former opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi takes charge, the U.S. ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation indicated, The Wall Street Journal reports. A continuation of Myanmar’s democratic transition and improved […]

    The post U.S. poised to end ban on arms sales to Vietnam, keep sanctions on Myanmar appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    Democracy, human rights, and governance should be integrated into foreign assistance programs, according to a report by a bipartisan Task Force on Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance. A new Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance should be created at USAID that would encompass governance, anticorruption, and rule-of-law programs, says the report, an initiative of […]

    The post Reforming and Reorganizing U.S. Foreign Assistance: bolstering democratic governance essential appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    In many parts of the European Union, civil society is under threat, according to a new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Given the role civil society plays in upholding democratic processes and in promoting human rights, decision makers need to ensure the important work of civil society is not undermined […]

    The post European civil society facing fresh threats appeared first on Democracy Digest.


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    How do democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) fit in to the USAID’s new redesign? Brookings analyst George Ingram asks. The DRG center would be located in the new Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation (DDI), but DRG issues are core to fragility, so how will they plug into the work of the R3 [Relief, […]

    The post USAID’s redesign: how do democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) fit in? appeared first on Democracy Digest.