Civic Space Developments

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

Canada: use of emergency powers to disperse protests under scrutiny

In April 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that an independent public inquiry would be held into the government’s use of emergency powers in February 2022 to disperse anti-vaccine trucker protests and border blockades. Read more

Canada: use of emergency powers to disperse protests under scrutiny

Panamá: 19 people detained in protests in the Colón province

Between 9th and 29th May 2022, protesters across the Colón province mobilised against the rise in fuel and living costs and to denounce the lack of government investment in the region. Read more

Panamá: 19 people detained in protests in the Colón province

Violations on civic freedoms continue amid President Saïed’s power grab

Following the freezing of parliament and the dismissal of the head of government on 25th July 2021 (see previous update), President Kaïs Saïed decided to dissolve the Superior Council of the Judiciary and replace it with a provisional mechanism and took further steps to concentrate his power. On 1st June 2022, judicial independence was further severely hampered with the decision of President Kais Saied, via a Presidential decree, granting himself absolute power to fire judges summarily, and by promptly dismissing 57 judges. As a result, anti-government protests have been staged, including against the upcoming July Constitutional referendum. Read more

Violations on civic freedoms continue amid President Saïed’s power grab

Media restrictions and vilification of activists intensifies climate of fear in Fiji

In recent months, the press freedom ranking for Fiji dropped drastically while the press was heavily restricted during the visit to the region of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Further, two human rights defenders came under attack from the prime minister for proposing a caretaker government, while a UN report showed that human rights defenders did not feel safe when criticising the government or discussing political issues in Fiji. Read more

Media restrictions and vilification of activists intensifies climate of fear in Fiji

Attempts to silence HRDs through arrests and imprisonment

During this period, the government continued to crackdown on dissent via social media. On 23rd March 2022, blogger and human rights defender Saida al-Alami was arrested by Moroccan authorities over her social media criticism of the Moroccan government and security services. She was sentenced by the Casablanca Court of First Instance to two years in prison. In addition, those who showed support for Al-Alami also faced restrictions. In another concerning developments, Amnesty International revealed that human rights defender Aminatou Haidar has been hacked by Pegasus spyware. Separately, five Sahrawi women activists were brutally targeted by Moroccan authorities while on their way to participate in a protest which called for Sahrawi self-determination and expressed public support for Sultana Khaya, a prominent Sahrawi activist.

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Attempts to silence HRDs through arrests and imprisonment