Authoritarian offensive highlighted at dissidents’ Geneva Summit


The financial crisis is one of a number of challenges which have sapped the confidence of established democracies to stand up for democratic values, the National Endowment for Democracy‘s Christopher Walker [above] told this week’s 2016 Geneva Summit of dissidents and human rights activists.

The last ten years has seen a deepening of authoritarianism and illiberalism on the part of states and non-state actors, said Walker. Autocratic actors have also sought to dilute democratic norms within international institutions, including regional bodies like the OSCE’s ODIHR, OAS and Council of Europe, he told the event, organized by the human rights NGO UN Watch.

Two days after Venezuela filed charges of conspiracy against Antonio Ledezma—the 60-year-old mayor of Caracas who is under house arrest for opposing President Nicolas Maduro—UN Watch joined an international coalition of 25 non-governmental human rights groups announced that Ledezma and jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez have been selected as the 2016 co-recipients of the prestigious Geneva Summit Courage Award, representing all of Venezuela’s political prisoners.

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