Last in Civil Liberties in the Free World
According to Freedom House
December 30, 2001
Source: Greek Helsinki Monitor
Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) cites, once again, that Greece has been rated last in civil liberties among "free countries" in the just published Freedom House annual report, Freedom in the World 2002: The Democratic Deficit (available at: http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2002/essay2002.pdf). GHM urges all those accountable for these issues to ponder and make an effort to change the situation in 2002 - rather than rely on or, even worse, hypocritically maintain that "evaluations of this sort don't correspond to the reality of daily life," etc. This evaluation reflects the picture of Greece as described not only by authoritative Greek and international Non-Governmental Organizations but also by experts from intergovernmental organizations (UN and Council of Europe).
The survey rates 86 of the 192 countries in the world as free - meaning those that "recognize the fundamental political rights and civil liberties." These countries include all the traditional democracies as well as the 12 countries that are negotiating their accession into the European Union. In political rights (elections, etc) Greece has the highest rating on seven-point scale i.e. 1.
In civil liberties, however, Greece has the worst rating a free country can receive i.e. 3. The only other country of the 27 already belonging to or negotiating accession into the EU with a similarly low rating in civil liberties is Bulgaria, which already is considered by the EU as least conforming to the "Copenhagen criteria." Only the "partly free" Balkan countries of Albania (4), Bosnia (4), Macedonia (4), and Turkey (5) have received a rating lower than Greece. While Yugoslavia (as well as Bulgaria) has been upgraded to a 3. Naturally, all the ("partly free") former Soviet states are in worse shape.
In better shape are the rest of the emerging democracies of Central Europe (Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic) with a rating of 2, also shared by the older EU members Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. The remaining 8 EU members and the other traditional democracies of Europe (among which are Cyprus and Malta), North America and Oceania are rated excellent, or 1, in civil liberties.