Summit for Democracy: New Scorecards Highlight State of Freedom in Participating Countries

Summit for Democracy: New Scorecards Highlight State of Freedom in Participating Countries

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: With one week to go until President Biden’s long-awaited Summit for Democracy, Freedom House published scorecards assessing the state of freedom in each of the 112 participating countries. Each scorecard features the country’s democracy score and status (Free, Partly Free, Not Free) according to Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report, released earlier this year, as well as its internet freedom score from the organization’s annual Freedom on the Net report, where applicable, and a brief description of key concerns related to political rights and civil liberties in the country. These scorecards can serve as a concise reference tool for summit participants, civil society organizations, the media, and the general public as attending governments make announcements or pledges in support of global democracy.

Freedom House offers these assessments in recognition of the fact that all democracies face the dual challenge of combating the spread of authoritarianism abroad and strengthening democratic practices at home. Neither effort can succeed on its own, and the summit is an opportunity to emphasize both responsibilities.

“We look forward to this first virtual summit and the year of action to follow, during which Freedom House will work with our global partners in civil society and independent media to make sure governments follow through on the commitments they make as part of this gathering,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.

“We hope that participating governments will ramp up support for embattled human rights defenders around the world and push back against the spread of autocracy,” Abramowitz added. “When authoritarians reach beyond their borders to silence dissent and launder their ill-gotten gains, they abuse the openness of democratic systems to undermine democracy itself. Democracies should work together to defend democratic norms, close domestic legal loopholes that are exploited by authoritarians, and raise the costs of repression through sanctions and conditions on financial assistance. The world’s democracies should coordinate multilateral action to convince authoritarians, as well as aspiring autocrats in democratically declining countries, that their abuses will have consequences.”


For 15 consecutive years, authoritarianism has been on the rise while democracy has declined. During this period, more than twice as many countries (119) have experienced declines in political rights and civil liberties as have earned improvements (55). Currently, less than 20 percent of the global population lives in what Freedom House considers a Free country, down from 39 percent the previous year. This is the lowest percentage since 1995.

The Biden administration has emphasized its expectation that countries participating in the Summit for Democracy will emerge from the conference with the intent to make bold commitments on strengthening democracy domestically and internationally. These commitments would be implemented during the following year of action, and the resulting progress is to be assessed at an in-person summit scheduled for December 2022.

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