Civic Space Developments

Samoan authorities use defamation laws against critics as press freedom rankings drop

In recent months, there have been cases of defamation charges reported, including against the opposition leader, an Australian based Samoan radio station, and a radio presenter. Press freedom rankings for Samoa have dropped as access to state information has become more challenging to obtain. Read more

Samoan authorities use defamation laws against critics as press freedom rankings drop

Several killed, injured, arrested in protest against the military junta’s “unilateral management of the transition”

Front National pour la Défence de la Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of political parties, civil society groups and trade unions, called for protests on 28th and 29th July 2022 in Conakry to demand more transparency in Guinea’s transition, as coordinated by the military junta. Protests also called for the establishment of an inclusive framework for dialogue. According to news reports, the military junta deployed the armed forces to maintain public order during the demonstrations, and security forces reportedly used tear gas to disperse protesters, while protesters responded by throwing stones and burning tyres. Some of the protests turned into violent clashes between protesters and security forces, particularly in the neighbourhoods of Bambèto, Sonfonia and on the route Le Prince, and which led to casualties, injuries,and dozens of arrests. Read more

Several killed, injured, arrested in protest against the military junta’s “unilateral management of the transition”

Canada: The struggle for rights brings people to the streets

On 10th July 2022, hundreds of Sri Lankan Canadians gathered in Mississauga, Ontario to demand that the ruling Sri Lankan government step down. Protesters chanted “Gota, Go Home” in reference to Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his administration. Read more

Canada: The struggle for rights brings people to the streets

Indian authorities criminalise activists and bulldoze homes of protesters to silence dissent

In recent months, fabricated cases have been brought against activists, including prominent human rights defender Teesta Setalvad who has been arrested and detained. Journalist Mohammed Zubair, who has exposed hate speech and disinformation, was also arrested. The homes of protesters have been bulldozed. Read more

Indian authorities criminalise activists and bulldoze homes of protesters to silence dissent

Argentina: Journalists harassed and threatened

On 6th May 2022, three journalists working in Rosario, Santa Fe were threatened by a member of a criminal network linked to narcotrafficking. Lorena Verdún, widow of the former leader of the network Los Monos, wrote a letter accusing journalists of being responsible for deaths and corruption in the city. Read more

Argentina: Journalists harassed and threatened

Continued repression under new President

During the reporting period, Turkmenistan experienced an orchestrated transfer of power from father to son, with Serdar Berdymukhamedov assuming the presidency from his father Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who had held this office since 2006. The authorities continued to crack down on people who publicly express discontent about the situation in the country, stand up for their rights, and engage with like-minded people. In addition to directly putting pressure on such people and their relatives, security services also targeted people who have been in contact with them. Several people remain in prison on criminal charges in retaliation for their peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression and association, although international human rights experts, foreign decision makers, and human rights groups have all called for their release. Outspoken activists based abroad also continue to face intimidation and harassment. Additionally, , there have been alarming reports about increasing control and policing of women, with authorities implementing restrictive measures to enforce so-called traditional norms of clothing, appearance, and conduct among women and girls. Read more

Continued repression under new President

Arrests, jailing of activists and silencing of dissent in Hong Kong persists despite UN review

Since March 2022, the authorities have continued to target activists under the national security law, including trustees of a fund that assisted protesters. National security trials began for 47 pro-democracy activists, while the judicial persecution of human rights lawyer Chow Hang Tung continued. The authorities arrested six activists for sedition as well as a veteran journalist. An activist was jailed for 40 months for sedition. An investigative news platform and hospital union were disbanded due to pressure from the authorities, while a pro-democracy group was forced to delete its posts online. Around the anniversary of the Tianenmen Square massacre, police banned all gatherings, patrolled parks, and arrested six people. Two veteran activists were convicted for protesting. Read more

Arrests, jailing of activists and silencing of dissent in Hong Kong persists despite UN review

Paraguay: Violent evictions affect land rights defenders

On 15th June 2022, campesino farmers and police clashed in Edelira, Itapúa department in a violent confrontation that ended with the killing of campesino Édgar Emiliano Centurión Almirón. Read more

Paraguay: Violent evictions affect land rights defenders

Pegasus Spyware used against Catalan separatist figures, journalists and activists

On 30th May 2022, a group of NGOs condemned the Spanish government for its supposed reforms to Spain’s infamous ‘Gag Law’ which have been stalled. This announcement comes after months of expectation that the government would finally make changes to the law. Related to this, in June 2022, photojournalist Javier Bauluz was fined €960 for “disrespecting an agent” and “refusing to identify himself” under Article 36.6 and Article 37.4 of the “Gag Law” for an incident that took palce in November 2020. Separately, nearly 30 organisations, including Rights International Spain, rejected the use of Pegasus software in Spain after confirmation that journalists, lawyers, over 60 Catalan separatist figures and Spanish politicians, among them the prime minister and the defence minister, have been spied on. Read more

Pegasus Spyware used against Catalan separatist figures, journalists and activists

Honduras: CSOs say more effort is needed to guarantee safety of human rights defenders and journalists

On 26th May 2022, social communicator and camera operator Ricardo Ávila was shot in the head in the south of Honduras. He was transferred to a hospital in Tegucigalpa but died from his wounds on 29th May. The attack took place as Ávila was travelling on his motorcycle from the town of Marcovia, where he lived, to Choluteca, where he worked at Metro TV. Read more

Honduras: CSOs say more effort is needed to guarantee safety of human rights defenders and journalists