Skip to comments.Allies in the War on Terror Fail Democratic Standards, New Study Reports
Posted on 04/06/2004 8:42:24 PM PDT by Indy Pendance
NEW YORK (AP) - Key U.S. allies in the war on terror Pakistan, Jordan and Uzbekistan are undermining democratic principles and violating the rights of their citizens, according to a pro-democracy group.
The growing involvement of the military in Pakistani society is a "major obstacle" to democracy, and Uzbekistan has committed "gross violations" of human rights and religious freedom, said a report released Tuesday by Freedom House, a nonprofit group.
Jordan, which has provided valuable intelligence on alleged terrorist plots to the United States, has "significantly limited" the ability of its citizens to choose their leaders or shape public policy, the report said.
Pakistan is crucial to U.S. efforts to hunt down al-Qaida leaders, and Jordan allowed U.S. troops to operate from its territory during the war in Iraq last year. Hundreds of U.S. troops are also in Uzbekistan, where police battled dozens of suspected terrorists in the capital, Tashkent, last week.
The survey, funded by the U.S. State Department, assessed 30 countries that are "at a crucial phase in their democratic evolution."
In Afghanistan, the report found that the "rule of the gun largely supersedes the rule of law" and said additional military support is urgently needed to stabilize the country outside of Kabul, where warlords still hold enormous power.
It said the rights of some Afghan women remain at Taliban-era levels. In Herat, it said, the provincial governor imposed restrictions on women's freedom of movement and education and forced virginity tests on young women.
The report described Pakistan as a "semi-authoritarian state" that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf governs "with a veneer of constitutional democratic rule." The report attacked repressive laws against women such as the Hudood Ordinance, which "equates rape with consensual sex" and regards 10-year-old females as adults.
Uzbekistan, the survey said, has instituted few reforms since it became independent after the breakup of the Soviet Union and shows a "monolithic unwillingness to make meaningful democratic reforms." The report accused it of mass arrests of opposition Muslims.
Despite recent advances, Jordan's government still needs to systematically prevent violations of civil liberties, such as torture by police, and allow its citizens to be involved in their government.
Freedom House, which has offices around the world, aims to promote democratic values such as human rights, free markets and an independent media. It is partially funded by the U.S. government and supports U.S. involvement in global affairs.
At first I thought they might be talking about the liberals, but then I realized they don't consider themselves one of our allies.