KUWAIT: Journalists and civil society activists in Kuwait found themselves under fresh assault in 2015, Freedom House said in its most recent report. Authorities in Kuwait are quashing dissent with increasing aggression and frequency, galvanizing concerns about citizenship revocation and use of the death penalty, says the ‘Freedom in the World 2016’ report, which ranks Kuwait among a short list of ‘Countries to Watch in 2016’ with states like Iran, Myanmar and Venezuela.

Kuwait retained its position as a ‘partially free’ country in the report with a score of 36; yet ranks last among states listed in this specific category. It is one of three Arab nations to be classified as ‘partially free,’ along with Morocco and Lebanon. Meanwhile, Tunisia was the only Arab state to be classified as ‘Free,’ and one of two nations in the Middle East and North Africa region to earn that calcification, along with Israel.

On a scale from one to seven, with one being most free and seven being least free, Kuwait scored 5 in political rights, civil liberties and freedom ratings, retaining the same scores in Freedom in the World 2015 report.

Freedom House’s newest report indicates that “the world was battered by crises that fueled xenophobic sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and led authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. These developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.”

“Ratings for the Middle East and North Africa region were the worst in the world in 2015,” says the report, noting that “the number of countries showing a decline in freedom for the year-72-was the largest since the 10-year slide began. Just 43 countries made gains.”