Freedom House: No South Asian Country Fully Free

Representational Photo

New Delhi- A recent report by an independent freedom watchdog has ranked most countries in South Asia as “partly free.”

In its report, Democracy under Siege, US-based political freedom and human rights watchdog Freedom House ranked only Afghanistan as “not free” in South Asia with a score of 27.

India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives were ranked "partly free," but they all scored more than Bangladesh.

Mentioning India, Freedom House said the world’s largest democracy had dropped from “Free” to “Partly Free” status in its latest reports due to the decline in civil liberties after the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.

The report said since 2014, India had witnessed an increase in pressure on human rights organizations, intimidation of journalists and activists, and a spate of attacks, especially those against Muslims, which led to a deterioration of political and civil liberties in the country.

It said that the crackdown against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, a bill which offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries, had contributed to India's decline in the ratings.

India’s overall score dropped to 67 out of 100, compared to 71 in 2019. The report also ranked India 34 out of 40 for political rights and 33 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Meanwhile, Pakistan scored 37 out of 100, slipping just one step from last year. It scored 15 out of 40 for political rights and 22 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Bhutan scored better than last year, climbing to 61, up from 58. It scored 30 out of 40 for political rights and 31 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Sri Lanka scored 56 out of 100, same as last year. It scored 23 out of 40 for political rights and 33 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Nepal scored 56 out of 100, with no change from last year. However, it scored higher than Pakistan and Sri Lanka in political rights with 25 out of 40 and 31 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Maldives scored 40 out of 100, same as last year. However, it scored 19 out of 40 for political rights and 21 out of 60 for civil liberties.

Topping the list, Finland, Norway and Sweden scored a perfect 100 in the latest report.

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