NEW YORK - More than a third of the world's population, or 2.6 billion people, live in nations and territories gripped by repression, corruption and human rights abuses, with the worst being Syria, Tibet and Somalia, an advocacy group said on Wednesday.
The year 2015 - shaped by mass migration, crackdowns on dissent, xenophobia and terror attacks - marked the 10th straight year of decline in global freedom, according to an annual report by the Washington-based Freedom House.
Worldwide, 86 nations and territories were designated free based on their political rights and civil liberties, 50 were deemed not free, and 59 were partly free, it said.
The bulk of those deemed unfree were in the Middle East and North Africa, where 85 percent of the population lives with repression; sub-Saharan Africa where 20 regimes earned the not free ranking; and Eurasia, where no country was listed as free.
The report singled out the United States - while free - as slipping, citing "a disturbing increase in the role of private money in election campaigns," legislative gridlock, a lack of openness in government, racial discrimination and a dysfunctional criminal justice system.
Freedom declined in 72 countries in 2015, the most since the 10-year slide began.