World News and Trends: Global declines in freedom

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Global declines in freedom

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The world became less free in 2009, according to Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that monitors the status of human freedom around the world.

"For the fourth consecutive year, global declines in freedom outweighed gains in 2009, as measured by Freedom House's annual survey of political rights and civil liberties. This represents the longest continuous period of decline for global freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report" (Freedom in the World 2010: Global Erosion of Freedom, Jan. 12, 2010,

They found declines in freedom in 40 countries, including authoritarian states that became more repressive and setbacks in countries that had been trending more positively in recent years. The Middle East remains the most repressive region overall, and Africa showed the greatest declines in freedom.

The worst of the worst, ranked "not free," include nine countries and one territory: Burma (Myanmar), Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Tibet (ruled by China), Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Freedom is a precious commodity. Currently, only 46 percent of the world's population lives in countries ranked as "free." The Bible prizes true freedom. Jesus said to His disciples, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). When Jesus Christ returns to the earth, all human beings at last will know and bask in true freedom (compare Hebrews 8:10-12; Isaiah 11:9). But for now, in a world devoid of true freedom, watch your back!