Freedom House Applauds US Decision to Up Aid to Poor Democracies

Contact: Christopher Walker
(212) 514-8040 x19


Millennium Challenge Corporation Decision Rewards Large Number of Developing
Countries with Good Democracy and Rights Records

NEW YORK, MAY 6, 2004: Freedom House today applauded the Millennium
Challenge Corporation’s selection of 16 developing countries eligible for
enhanced U.S. foreign assistance. The selection was based on a number of
criteria set out by the Administration, including commitments by those
nations’ governments to “ruling justly.”

“It is particularly heartening to see the U.S. government encouraging such a
large number of African countries that are adhering to basic democratic
practices,” said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor.

“The use of strict criteria in the allocation of new development aid will
mainly reward poor countries that adhere to basic human rights and
democratic practices. It will also avoid bolstering despotic regimes in
developing states with long records of human rights violations,” Windsor

Freedom House has been a strong champion of the Millennium Challenge Account
concept, believing that it can help create incentives for improved
governance and democratic practices among the broad array of developing
countries. Initially, the list of eligible countries included such human
rights violators as Vietnam and Mauritania, and Freedom House is pleased
that the most problematic candidate countries have been dropped from this
new list.

Freedom House rankings are among the selection criteria applied in the
allocation of over $1 billion in foreign aid funding under the program.
Eight of the selected countries are rated Free, with a good record of
respect for basic rights, while the other eight eligible for funding are
Partly Free, with some adherence of basic rights practices, according to
Freedom House.

“As a first step, the MCC effort is to be applauded and the Administration
is to be congratulated for an important and innovative approach to foreign
aid,” Windsor added.

A full listing of MCA eligible countries and their political rights and
civil liberties ratings and categories follow. A rating of 1 represents the
highest adherence to human rights standards and democratic practices and 7
the poorest adherence to such standards, according to Freedom House’s annual
survey Freedom in the World 2004. Freedom in the World ratings are presented
below in the following order: Country (Political Rights Numerical Rating;
Civil Liberties Numerical Rating; Freedom Status of Free, Partly Free or Not

Armenia (4,4 Partly Free), Benin (2,2 Free), Bolivia (3,3 Partly Free), Cape
Verde (1,1, Free), Georgia (4,4 Partly Free), Ghana (2,2 Free), Honduras
(3,3 Partly Free), Lesotho (2,3 Free), Madagascar (3,3 Partly Free), Mali
(2,2 Free), Mongolia (2,2 Free), Mozambique (3,4 Partly Free), Nicaragua
(3,3 Partly Free), Senegal (2,3 Free), Sri Lanka (3,3 Partly Free), and
Vanuatu (2,2 Free).