Civic Space Developments

Protests for Ukraine and labour rights; concerns raised over Russian media bans

Several anti-war protests were held during February and March 2022, both before and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022. Several protests for labour rights also took place during this period. Following the banning of Russian outlets , press groups raised concerns of censorship. The groups emphasised that fighting disinformation should not come in the form of censorship; instead there should be a focus on independent fact-checking for misinformation, in addition to teaching media literacy.
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Protests for Ukraine and labour rights; concerns raised over Russian media bans

Protests for academic freedom met with excessive force, journalist under surveillance

A series of demonstrations which have taken place at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki over the past few months have been met with repressions. The protests began after the Council of the State, Greece’s highest administrative court, ruled that the legislation which provides for the creation of a new police corps, permanently stationed on university campuses, does not violate academic freedom. The ruling was handed down in early 2021 and entered into force in June 2022, with university police being stationed at two of Greece’s largest campuses in Athens and Thessaloniki. On 11th April 2022, it was first revealed that Greek journalist Thanasis Koukakis had been under surveillance for approximately ten weeks when his cell phone was hacked and infected with surveillance software, known as Predator. Additionally several cases of detention, harassment and intimidation against journalists were documented. Read more

Protests for academic freedom met with excessive force, journalist under surveillance

Dominican Republic: HRD detained for filming raid on migrants; new bills impacting free expression

On 24th May 2022, human rights defender Roudy Joseph was detained by agents of the Directorate-General for Migration (DGM) after refusing to hand over his mobile phone. Joseph is a member of the Colectivo Haitianos RD, a collective that defends the rights of people of the Haitian diaspora in the Dominican Republic. Read more

Dominican Republic: HRD detained for filming raid on migrants; new bills impacting free expression

Youth protest in Mongolia on the economic situation while press freedom rankings drop

In April 2022, youths protested around the failure of government to address economic issues, with some arrested by the police and beaten. The country’s press freedom ranking by Reporters Without dropped 22 places, as journalists continue to be targeted. Activist Munkhbayar Chuluundorj remains in detention. Read more

Youth protest in Mongolia on the economic situation while press freedom rankings drop

Ecuador: another crackdown on Indigenous-led protests

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Ecuador since 13th June 2022, when the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de Ecuador (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador – CONAIE) and other Indigenous organisations convened a national strike against the government’s economic and social policies. Read more

Ecuador: another crackdown on Indigenous-led protests

Imprisoned HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja awarded Martin Ennals Award

CSOs call for urgent action to save Bahraini prisoners following an uptick in cases of tuberculosis documented in Jau Prison; prominent Imprisoned HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja awarded Martin Ennals Award; Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to the EU on its new partnership with the Gulf Countries Read more

Imprisoned HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja awarded Martin Ennals Award

Authorities systematically use judicial harassment to silence activists and journalists

Sohar Court of Appeal sentenced two internet activists to prison for blasphemy and sent two other internet activists to the competent Misdemeanour Court; GCHR and OAHR called on the Omani authorities to put a stop to the judicial harassment faced by journalist and human rights defender Mukhtar Al-Hinai Read more

Authorities systematically use judicial harassment to silence activists and journalists

International Cooperation bill threatens to further reduce civic space in Venezuela

In May 2022, a new bill on International Cooperation under discussion in the National Assembly prompted concern by civil society organisations. If approved, the bill would repeal the current legislation on the topic and replace it with a more restrictive law, excluding human rights from modalities of international cooperation. Read more

International Cooperation bill threatens to further reduce civic space in Venezuela

Bolivia: intimidation of environmental defenders and journalists

A report on human rights in Bolivia documented four cases of attacks on environmental and land defenders and journalists covering these issues. Read more

Bolivia: intimidation of environmental defenders and journalists

Hackers leak Nauru police emails in protest against Australia’s offshore detention

A trove of emails purported to belong to the Nauru Police Force were released in May 2022 by an anonymous group of hackers in protest against Australia’s use of the country for offshore immigration processing. The emails show that asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru are still frequently attempting suicide and self-harming — with threats of self-immolation common. The internal emails between police also reveal a flippant attitude towards the plight of detainees, as well as a resistance to media scrutiny.
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Hackers leak Nauru police emails in protest against Australia’s offshore detention