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On Monday 16 October 2017 the Council adopted the EU Annual Report on Human Rights And Democracy in the World in 2016.
2016 was a challenging year for human rights and democracy, with a shrinking space for civil society and complex humanitarian and political crises emerging. In this context, the European Union showed leadership and remained strongly committed to promote and protect human rights and democracy across the world.
Global Overview – Trends and Outlook
The month saw fighting escalate again in Syria and Afghanistan, and erupt in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces. In Bangladesh, election violence and killings by extremist groups showed how new heights of government-opposition rivalry and state repression have benefitted violent political party wings and extremist groups alike. Political tensions intensified in Iraq and Macedonia, and security forces severely supressed opposition protests in the Republic of Congo and Gambia.
The month saw violent extremist movements, including the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda-linked groups, carry out major deadly attacks in Turkey, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Belgium. In Libya, the arrival of Prime Minister Serraj in Tripoli despite warnings from multiple factions could lead to further destabilisation. Meanwhile in Central Africa, political violence rose in Burundi and could break out in Chad around the 10 April presidential election.
The month saw an intensification of Yemen’s war, amid heightened regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran complicating prospects for peace. Political tensions increased in Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Moldova, where protests over endemic corruption and a lack of confidence in the government could escalate. In Africa, Boko Haram’s deadly attacks increased in northern Cameroon, and Burkina Faso was hit by an unprecedented terror attack.
The fight for control of Libya between the Misrata-led Islamist-leaning coalition and the Zintan-led forces is escalating by the day. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in over six weeks of clashes and heavy artillery fire. The Misrata side emerged victorious in the battle over Tripoli’s international airport, taking control of the capital, and made advances around Benghazi, but the larger political divide remains unresolved.