Civic Space Developments

Union leader arrested amid protests in South Korea while restrictive press law revisions shelved

In recent months, protests have been carried out by a major labour union in South Korea calling on the government to improve labour conditions and for a minimum wage hike. The protests were deemed illegal by the authorities, who attempted to disrupt them. The government arrested a union leader in September 2021 for allegedly violating social distancing requirements by organising the rally. A restrictive press law proposed by the government has been shelved. Read more

Union leader arrested amid protests in South Korea while restrictive press law revisions shelved

Peaceful march prohibited by Cuban authorities while its supporters face harassment

In September 2021, activist group Archipiélago announced they would organise a peaceful “Marcha Cívica por el Cambio” (“Civic March for Change”) in Havana, initially scheduled for 20th November 2021. Read more

Peaceful march prohibited by Cuban authorities while its supporters face harassment

Police protection for WHRD after escalating threats; press freedom concerns at Poland/Belarus border

On 7th October 2021, the government controlled Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the Polish constitution trumps EU law, sparking concerns of a “Polexit” (Poland's exit from the EU). The decisions led to massive Pro-EU protests being staged in Poland. The authorities responded to the protests with detentions and physical violence. Nine people were detained, including an LGBTIQ activist, and authorities have taken down the names of 71 people who were protesting. In another concerning development, co-founder of the Polish Women’s Strike, Marta Lempart, has been assigned police protection in public spaces after an escalating threat was made against her life. In another concerning development, on 2nd September 2021, Poland implemented a “state of emergency” at its borders with Belarus, limiting journalists and human rights defenders from accessing the area. Several cases of detention of journalists were documented at the border, raising serious concerns for press freedom. Read more

Police protection for WHRD after escalating threats; press freedom concerns at Poland/Belarus border

Ongoing threats and attacks against civil society, media in Afghanistan while protests restricted

Over the last month, human rights defenders and NGOs have faced death threats, attacks and killings. The Taliban has imposed media restrictions while journalists have faced intimidation and attacks. Despite restrictions imposed by the Taliban, protests by women’s groups on their denial of access to work and education have persisted. Read more

Ongoing threats and attacks against civil society, media in Afghanistan while protests restricted

Multiple anti-lockdown protests organised in NZ; government consults on hate speech laws

Hard lockdowns have been imposed country-wide since mid-August 2021 due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In response, there have been numerous anti-lockdown protests with arrests of protesters reported. The Human Rights Commission issued a statement stating that it had largely endorsed the Government’s proposals to broaden protection against hate speech but does not want political opinion included. Read more

Multiple anti-lockdown protests organised in NZ; government consults on hate speech laws

Fundamental freedoms still severely restricted in Brunei

The state of civic space in Brunei was downgraded by the CIVICUS Monitor to ‘repressed’ in December 2019 and there has been no documented progress on improving fundamental freedoms. According to Freedom House, freedoms of the expression and assembly are significantly restricted and online speech is monitored by authorities. Read more

Fundamental freedoms still severely restricted in Brunei

Chile: HRD killed during protest, anti-migrant demonstrations and concerning internet bill

Opposition politicians launched impeachment proceedings against Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, over possible irregularities in the sale of a mining company, after new details about the deal were revealed in leaked documents. People took to the streets in protests by Mapuche communities, anti and pro-immigration groups and reproductive rights activists. In addition, a new bill on digital platforms could have important negative impacts on freedom of expression. Read more

Chile: HRD killed during protest, anti-migrant demonstrations and concerning internet bill

Civil society raises concerns about press freedom and restrictions on peaceful assembly in Mongolia

The state of civic space remains ‘obstructed’ in Mongolia. In August 2021, a report on press freedom documented violations and concerns around self-censorship. A report by Amnesty International found that the government and law enforcement authorities are severely violating the freedom of peaceful assembly. In October 2021, a protest was held on sexual violence against girls. Read more

Civil society raises concerns about press freedom and restrictions on peaceful assembly in Mongolia

El Salvador: anti-government protests against authoritarian measures and Bitcoin implementation

On 3rd September 2021, the newly installed judges in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court published a resolution stating that presidents can serve two consecutive terms. The decision, taken by the magistrates appointed after lawmakers allied with President Nayib Bukele replaced five of the Court’s former judges, paves the way for Bukele to run for re-election in 2024. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: anti-government protests against authoritarian measures and Bitcoin implementation

USA: Pro-choice rally sizzles, pro-Trump rally fizzles

On 2nd October 2021, tens of thousands of women and their supporters marched in multiple cities to protest against state restrictions on abortion and to advocate for a constitutional right to the procedure. Read more

USA: Pro-choice rally sizzles, pro-Trump rally fizzles