is the persecution
of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part in the political life
. Political repression may be represented by discriminatory
policies, human rights
violation, surveillance abuse
, police brutality
, involuntary settlement
, stripping of citizen's rights
, and violent action such as the murder, summary executions
, forced disappearance
and other extrajudicial punishment
of political activists
, or general population.
Where political repression is sanctioned and organised by the state, it may constitute state terrorism, genocide, politicide or crimes against humanity. Systemic and violent political repression is a typical feature of dictatorships, totalitarian states and similar regimes. In such regimes, acts of political repression may be carried out by secret police forces, army, paramilitary groups or death squads. Relevant activities have also been found within democratic contexts as well.
If political repression is not carried out with the approval of the state, a section of government may still be responsible. An example is the FBI COINTELPRO operations in the United States between 1956 and 1971.
In some states, such as the former Soviet Union, "repression" can be an official term and official legal policy of repression with respect to internal political opponents of the state.
Data on human rights violation and state repression
There are currently a wide variety of databases available which attempt to measure, in a rigorous fashion exactly what governments do against those within their territorial jurisdiction. The list below was created and maintained by Prof. Christian Davenport at the University of Maryland. These efforts vary with regard to the particular form of human rights violation they are concerned with, the source employed for the data collection as well as the spatial and temporal domain of interest.
Selective coverage of state repression
Country coverage of state repression
- Davenport, Christian (2007). State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Davenport, Christian, Johnston, Hank and Mueller, Carol (2004). Repression and Mobilization Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- Donner, Frank J. (1980). The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America’s Political Intelligence System. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-40298-7
- Donner, Frank J. (1990). Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05951-4
- Goldstein, Robert Justin. (1978). Political Repression in Modern America, From 1870 to Present. Boston, G. K. Hall, Cambridge, MA: Schenkman. ISBN 0-8467-0301-7
- Jensen, Joan M. Army Surveillance in America, 1775 - 1980. New Haven. Yale University Press. 1991. ISBN 0-300-04668-5. Book review retrieved April 3, 2006.
- Talbert, Jr. Roy. Negative Intelligence: The Army and the American Left, 1917 - 1941. Jackson. University Press of Mississippi, 1991. ISBN 0-87805-495-2. Book review retrieved April 3, 2006.
- Irvin, Cynthia L. "Militant Nationalism between movement and party in Ireland and the Basque Country