Civilian freedom worldwide has declined to at least a 10-year low, according to Freedom House, a civil liberties and human rights group. A report published by the NGO said that crises such as the migration triggered by the Syrian war, and the Chinese economic slowdown are the primary factors that resulted in these conditions. The crises have led to democratic countries witnessing widespread xenophobia, weakening economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and censorship of opposing views, the report said.

Freedom House categorises countries as free, partially free, or not free. Overall, a majority of the least free nations were found to be African countries, while those in the Scandinavian region ranked the highest. Human Rights Watch, another NGO, also linked restricted rights worldwide to the migrant crisis and increased terror attacks outside of the Middle East.