Bhutan

Bhutan foresters punished for speaking to media while political prisoners languish in detention

Bhutan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forests issued a compulsory retirement order to two of its staff after they were seen speaking with members of the media. The Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has renewed its call for the early release of Bhutanese political prisoners Read more

Bhutan foresters punished for speaking to media while political prisoners languish in detention

Media independence, access to information and self-censorship of NGOs still an issue in Bhutan

There continue to be concerns about media independence, access to information and the chilling effect of defamation laws on journalists. Further, according to reports, NGOs continue to self-censor and avoid issues perceived as sensitive by the government. Read more

Media independence, access to information and self-censorship of NGOs still an issue in Bhutan

Major victory for LGBT+ community as Bhutan parliament decriminalises homosexuality

On 10th December 2020, a joint sitting of both houses of Bhutan’s parliament approved a bill to decriminalise same-sex relations. Sections 213 and 214 of the penal code had criminalised “unnatural sex”, widely interpreted as homosexuality. Read more

Major victory for LGBT+ community as Bhutan parliament decriminalises homosexuality

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

According to the international NGO Freedom House 2020 report Bhutan has made significant strides toward becoming a consolidated democracy, has held multiple credible elections and undergone transfers of power to opposition parties. However, ongoing problems include discrimination against Nepali-speaking and non-Buddhist minorities, media self-censorship and, increasingly, the use of libel and defamation cases to silence journalists. Read more

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

Demands for release of political prisoners in Bhutan

There have been appeals for the release of political prisoners detained in the 1990s who may have not had a fair trial. A new report highlighted concerns about press freedom in Bhutan while there has been still no agreement in parliament around the repealing of laws criminalising same-sex relations Read more

Demands for release of political prisoners in Bhutan

Bhutan urged to repeal criminal defamation laws during Human Right Council review

In April 2019, Bhutan’s press freedom rankings improved while in May 2019 the country’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council where there were calls for the government to reviews its defamation laws. In June 2019, parliament made a positive move by voting to decriminalize homosexuality. Read more

Bhutan urged to repeal criminal defamation laws during Human Right Council review

Lhotshampa minority remain displaced and their electoral rights restricted

While the elections in 2018 and the formation of a third new government since the introduction of democracy in 2008 has been seen as positive for the country, the Lhotshampa minority group continued to be denied any engagement with the election process. Read more

Lhotshampa minority remain displaced and their electoral rights restricted

Bhutanese journalist exposing child abuse convicted for defamation

A Bhutanese journalist was sentenced to three months imprisonment in August for libel for a post that she written on her personal Facebook about a woman who had allegedly ill-treated her six-year old step daughter Read more

Bhutanese journalist exposing child abuse convicted for defamation