Freedom House provides the awesome service of issuing list after list of countries that suck. Sometimes it's countries that suck at freedom of the press, sometimes it countries that suck at human rights, but the general tenor of the their reports is: "Hey! These guys are really bad. Don't forget, OK?" Which, though I sound flip, is a very legitimate service. And if it serves no other purpose, it reminds readers to pay attention to the seemingly intractable once in awhile, while giving journalists something to write about on a slow news day.
Their latest report gets right to the heart of their mission. It's called "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies, 2007"[PDF]:
"Repressive regimes can be incredibly resilient, as this year's list demonstrates," said Arch Puddington, Director of Research at Freedom House [and possessor of the best name ever]. "Some of the countries on this list are global bullies; others are responsible for unspeakable humanitarian crises. In practically every case, these regimes are resistant to change and are indifferent to their citizens' political rights, civil liberties and basic human needs."
So, for your weekend amusement, the list:
The report includes detailed summaries of political and human rights conditions in Belarus, Burma, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. Also included are three territories: Chechnya, Tibet and Western Sahara. Except for Cote d'Ivoire, which is new to the list this year, and Belarus, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe, all have been rated the "worst of the worst" since 2002 or earlier.