As the land of the free commemorates Independence Day this year, it is worth remembering the countries that have little to celebrate and much to fear. And in 2013, there were a lot of them: last year was the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House's Freedom in the World survey, an annual measure of political and civil liberties across the globe, found more countries lost freedom than gained it. The following countries, to the misfortune of their citizens, earned the status of "Worst of the Worst" in 2013: out of the 195 countries examined by Freedom House across categories ranging from the ability to vote freely in legitimate elections to the ability to exercise freedom of belief, these 10 earned the lowest possible ratings on every measure.
Central African Republic
A rebellion in the Central African Republic ousted the president in March 2013 and led to suspension of the constitution, leaving the country virtually without law and authority for months. The rebellion also helped to create one of the largest humanitarian crises in Africa, with rival, Muslim, Christian and ethnic militias killing thousands of people and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. Government forces and paramilitary groups continue to commit atrocities without being held accountable.
Above, Burundian soldier stands at Bangui airport as part of an African Union peacekeeping force
US Army Africa/ via Flickr:usarmyafrica