In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.
In states that were already authoritarian, earning Not Free designations from Freedom House, governments have increasingly shed the thin façade of democratic practice that they established in previous decades, when international incentives and pressure for reform were stronger.
Some light shined through these gathering clouds in 2018. Surprising improvements in individual countries—including Malaysia, Armenia, Ethiopia, Angola, and Ecuador—show that democracy has enduring appeal as a means of holding leaders accountable and creating the conditions for a better life.
Uzbekistan experienced another year of incremental improvement, as the government continued to release political prisoners and ease restrictions on NGOs. However, reports of torture persisted, as did the long-standing practice of forced labor in the cotton fields.
Under any ways, of the 50 countries designated as Not Free, the following 13 have the worst aggregate scores for political rights and civil liberties.