The civil rights movement: Research paper topic on Freedom House report showing overall decline worldwide

Protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, March 2011. (Credit: Darla Hueske)

Protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, March 2011. (Credit: Darla Hueske)

While we celebrate the advances made by the civil rights movement in our country during Black History Month, worldwide civil liberties are on the decline. Independent watchdog group, Freedom House, stated in its Freedom in the World 2014 report that the state of freedom around the globe has declined for the eighth consecutive year. The erosion of civil liberties has been fueled by events that include the military coup in Egypt, the growth of authoritarianism in Venezuela and oppression in Russia.

The failed Arab Spring

The pro-democratic protests that began in Cairo, Egypt in 2011 gave the world hope that reform had finally come. Yet, as the months passed, a military coup followed in July 2013 that deposed democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood.

After his election in June 2012, Morsi’s approval ratings continued to decline due to dissatisfaction with his inability to revive Egypt’s economy. Chaos and disorder filled the streets driving away tourism and investment. The opposition was fueled by Morsi’s move to grant himself extra-judicial powers.

On Thursday, January 30, 2014, more than 60 people were killed in Egypt during clashes related to the third anniversary of the uprising that lead to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. While presidential elections are due to be held soon, the influence of the military is still strong. The increase in violence is being met with increased oppression, including the persecution and imprisonment of journalists.

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous explained the current situation.

“So, really, it’s a dark time, I think, for many of the young revolutionaries and activists, who had very high hopes three years ago and have continued in the struggle, and many of whom are in prison now. And it looks like the repressive security state is in ascendancy,” Kouddous said.

The challenge of diversity

Diversity that makes a country strong is also at the heart of what challenges the existence of a democracy. The success of the Arab Spring came from the rising of the masses as one people. But as time went on, the differences in religion and ideology began to tear at the fabric of what had been created with such hope.

In his book, “Sharing Democracy,” Michaele L. Ferguson explored the challenges of forging a democracy with citizens from diverse populations.

What typically happens is that one group begins to fear that another has gained too much power and that the result will be less freedom and privilege for the underrepresented.

Ferguson observed, “This fear of fragmentation is not unique to the Arab world. It shows up regularly in comparatively stable, established democracies in the West. Arthur Schlesinger Jr., for example, famously expressed the concern that identity politics in the United States risked tearing the country apart.”

For a democracy to succeed, its citizens must see themselves as having one commonality as a people. This sense of commonality must be stronger than their individual beliefs and subcultures.

“Finally, commonality must be able to confer legitimacy on democratic institutions and decisions. It must be able to make us more willing to accept rule by those who differ from or disagree with us, because we know that at the end of the day, we still share something important in common,” Ferguson added.

The best and worst of 2013

There wasn’t all bad news in 2013. In a gallery article for titled, “The Best and Worst Human Rights Developments of 2013,” Sarah Trister showcased human rights events from around the world. Her list included:

Worst human rights developments

  • Syria: increased number of refugees as the death toll exceeds 100,000 due to fighting between the government and splinter groups.
  • China: an expansion of the criminalization of online speech.
  • Russia: legislation made it illegal for anyone to advocate for the rights of LGBTI people.

Best human rights developments

  • Pakistan: The triumph of Malala Yousafzai, who became a symbol of female empowerment after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ right to an education.
  • Cuba: a lifting of restrictions on exit visas has allowed citizens to travel freely for the first time in 50 years.
  • U.S.: The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) giving same-sex couples the right to marry and receive the same benefits allowed to married couples under federal law.

Read about social issues like civil rights on Questia.

What do you think is the most important civil rights issue right now? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Posted in History, Humanities, Law, QTA Blog, Research Paper Help, Student resources | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to The civil rights movement: Research paper topic on Freedom House report showing overall decline worldwide

  1. ROLF LOTH says:

    You point the finger at Russia, China, Egypt, Syria, etc. for becoming more undemocratic, but you forgot to mention what is happening in the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Austria, Australia, NZ and England. The insidious erosion of human rights and the circumvention of the constitution by these governments in the end are just as devastating to ‘we the people’ as what is happening in the former countries and eventually will turn out worse. Freedom has to come through good people fighting evil, since evil will not volunteer freedom and justice. Most governments around the globe these days unfortunately can be classified as evil.

  2. Dr. J. Boost says:

    Three points seem needed here – to clarify a few more:
    I. Arab Spring:
    There is a lot said here about the ‘Arab Spring’ – but few understand that the possibility of that: an “Arab Progress” towards Independence was the real ‘Arab Spring’ which was so badly feared in Washington – and Tel Aviv!
    And that Ghadafi was, with his proven economic and social success, a potential leader of this new way in Africa and the Middle East. That is why he had to die:

    Libya enjoyed free education (and it was free) not paid for by income tax, free health care (not paid by income tax) Free water (not paid for by the tax payer or privately) interest free bank loans, free farming land and equipment for example free seed and tractors etc, help with buying their homes, half price 4×4′s, petrol almost cost nothing, free health care training for doctors at home or abroad if the training was not available in Libya itself.

    In fact just prior to our attack and bombing the barbarians into power in Libya Gaddafi was about to receive the UN’s award in recognition of the living standards he had created for his people that was second to none on that continent and even puts to shame our living standards here in the West.
    And he was trying to promote across the whole of Africa and a greater distribution of oil wealth to the people of Libya. That is what got his country invaded with paid for terrorists and eventually his murder. Now look at the country…just look at it. Everything he did for hiss people now in ruins and they cant even walk the slums we have created for them in safety anymore let alone get anything for free – and women are back in shariya!

    II. Malala:
    Her name should be mentioned here: She was praised – for what?
    Fighting for what USA and NATO took away from the women in Afghanistan (for: the Soviets had built schools for them and trained women in trade), in Iraq (for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was secular and liberal in this), and in LIbya (for Ghaddafi’s Libya was best in all Africa and Arabia in this!
    But Malala gets invited by the President whose predecessor had supplied the gun and bullet that hit her, and trained the Taliban terrorist who fired it!

    III. Homosexuality – USA and Russia:
    I was raped by a homosexual – not a priest, nor a “paedophile”: a fully grown ‘GAY’. I was 17 and on my first big journey, alone, but it seemed safe, in a youth hostel. But that man (of 23 or 25, much stronger than I) used my lack of defense when I was asleep – and pounced on me.
    And now, all these people shall, be allowed to do whatever they like?
    Putin is absolutely right: Children, juveniles, young people need protection!
    What is promoted here in our Western spheres is an ideology, grown from an utterly misguided “feminism” that sees all “sex as a construct”, “an invention for raping women” – and from that idiocy, they believe in luring men away from women, and young women into their own beds (see “Vagina Monologues” – uncut original). Their new God is “Gender”, a phantasy of behaviour without standards.
    This is no progress – but endangering the human species.

  3. Frank Montez says:

    I strongly disagree with you on homosexuality being a civil rights issue . In advocating for this you are imposing your beliefs on others such as those that hold that’s a serious immoral and deviant lifestyle a choice not something they’re born with. In Massachusetts there’s a Catholic school getting sued because they won’t hire a homosexual man for the simple reason that homosexual acts are against the catholic moral teachings. Homosexuals can’t be tolerant of anyone else beliefs and are trying to force their immoral beliefs on everyone else. Either violate your beliefs or you’re fired, fined, sued or run out of business. Even the Church of England is being sued for not marrying a same sex couple. I ask you : how’s that just and fair ?

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