indigenous groups

Canadian environmental groups concerned about initiatives restricting defenders’ work and freedom of

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney launched a “public inquiry” on 4 July 2019 to uncover alleged foreign funding of environmental groups that have spread "misleading or false information about the Alberta oil and gas industry". Part of the inquiry calls for reviewing those groups’ charitable status. In a different development, Canada’s elections agency told environmental charities that describing the climate crisis as "real" in their political advertising could be considered partisan activity, and therefore against the rules of the recently amended Canada Elections Act.

This update also covers a number of different protests and developments related to freedom of expression.
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Canadian environmental groups concerned about initiatives restricting defenders’ work and freedom of

Mass protests in Colombia demand response to persistent violence against social leaders

The spiral of violence against HRDs in Colombia has continued. In June 2019, human rights organisation Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) stated that it had received 70 reports of murdered social leaders or members of vulnerable ethnic communities in 2019. At the end of June, WOLA declined to publish the number of cases recorded due to the huge variation in the figures published by different organisations. On 26th July 2019, thousands of demonstrators gathered across Colombia to protest the alarming violence against social leaders in the country, and to demand government action in protecting community leaders, human rights and environmental defenders. Marches took place in over 50 Colombian cities. Read more

Mass protests in Colombia demand response to persistent violence against social leaders
Spanish

Bangladesh authorities suppressing critics and restricting freedoms in refugee camps

In recent months lawyers and writers have faced criminal defamation charges for their critical comments, four journalists are facing trumped up charges for exposing police negligence and a news website has been blocked. Further, the authorities are attempting to restrict the civic freedoms of Rohingya refugees in the camps in Cox Bazar and have banned some NGOs from working there. Read more

Bangladesh authorities suppressing critics and restricting freedoms in refugee camps

Protests in Honduras have left at least 3 demonstrators dead and several injured

Protests against education and health reforms in Honduras, organised by teachers’ and health workers' movement Plataforma Nacional en Defensa de la Salud Y Educación (Platform for the Defence of Health and Education), have continued to be met with strong repression in June and July 2019. As of 21 June 2019, news outlets reported at least 3 dead and 20 injured in protests across the country.

This update also discusses a court case against Tolupan indigenous leaders, the killing of trans activist Bessy Ferrera, intimidation attempts of a community leader in the Rio Blanco community, the killing of journalist and transperson Santiago Carbajal, and Honduras' new Criminal Code which experts consider overly restrictive in regard to civic space. Read more

Protests in Honduras have left at least 3 demonstrators dead and several injured

Intelligence agency coordinated with energy companies to spy on groups engaged in peaceful advocacy

In early July 2019, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) released a trove of documents, known as the Protest Papers, indicating that Canada's intelligence apparatus coordinated with energy companies to spy on several groups engaged in peaceful advocacy and protest. In the period covered by this update, several protests have also taken place in defense of environmental causes, LGBTQ and religious rights, and in solidarity with Hong Kong demonstrations. Journalist Ben Makuch handed over to the police all his communications with a source, after years of court battles.

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Intelligence agency coordinated with energy companies to spy on groups engaged in peaceful advocacy
French

Ongoing use of defamation laws raises questions of Malaysia’s reform credentials

In recent months, there has been the continue use of defamation laws by the police and courts to arrest, prosecute and uphold sentences. Revisions to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 still falls short of international laws and standards while the police intelligence unit has been linked to the enforced disappearance of two individuals. Read more

Ongoing use of defamation laws raises questions of Malaysia’s reform credentials

Attacks and threats against human rights defenders persist in Papua New Guinea

In recent months, civil society has reported the ongoing threats against human rights defenders, proposals to regulate social media by the government and protests by refugees on Manus island as they situation there deteriorates. Read more

Attacks and threats against human rights defenders persist in Papua New Guinea

Student protests mobilise thousands for environmental protections

On 15th March 2019, students in cities across the country participated in an international climate-change protest. Read more

Student protests mobilise thousands for environmental protections


30th April 2019: another peak in repression

The escalating tensions in Venezuela caused by the dispute of power between Juan Guaido and the ruling party have witnessed an increase in violations of civic freedoms. 30th April 2019, began as a day which could have marked the return of democracy to Venezuela. Opposition leader and interim President, Juan Guaidó appeared in the streets with the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez who was previously sentenced to 14 years in prison and held under house arrest. The two politicians called for Venezuelans to take the streets and demand that Nicolas Maduro step down from power. Read more

30th April 2019: another peak in repression