India, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand - restrictive law

Singapore continues to stifle fundamental freedoms despite UN human rights review

In recent months, Singapore has continued to attack fundamental freedoms and use laws against critics and human rights defenders despite facing a UN review of its rights record. It has continued to wield repressive laws such as the Public Order Act and defamation provisions against human rights defenders, activists and journalists. It has also continued to criminalise individuals organising peaceful protests. Singapore has dropped two places in the Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index. Most recently, it issued a warning around an event discussing LGBTQI+ issues. Read more

Singapore continues to stifle fundamental freedoms despite UN human rights review

Indian authorities continue to stifle dissent and persecute activists despite pandemic surge

As the coronavirus pandemic rages in India, claiming thousands of lives, the authorities have continued to stifle civic freedoms. The authorities are formulating a new policy to regulate civil society that has raised concerns. Activists and critics continue to be persecuted and silenced with the use of restrictive laws. New regulations imposed in February 2021 allow greater governmental control over online content. Twitter and Facebook have been forced to take down or block political content critical of the government. Farmers are continuing their protests against new laws. Read more

Indian authorities continue to stifle dissent and persecute activists despite pandemic surge

Crackdown on Thai activists continues as new restrictive NGO law proposed

Since the beginning of 2021, scores of activists have been charged for lese majeste, sedition and other violations, including seven leading pro-democracy protesters who have been denied bail. A restrictive new NGO law has been proposed that could be used to muzzle civil society groups and non-governmental organisations. The security forces have used rubber bullets, tears gas and water cannon to disperse protests while the authorities are increasingly invoking the lese majeste laws to restrict public discourse on the monarchy. Read more

Crackdown on Thai activists continues as new restrictive NGO law proposed

Attacks on Aurat March, minorities and critics highlight shrinking space for dissent in Pakistan

In recent months, intimidation and threats against women activists involved in the Aurat March have been experienced, while groups continue to raise concerns about enforced disappearances. Pashtun activists have been arrested for their comments during protests while transgender persons have continued to face attacks. The authorities also attempted to increase controls over the media while three people were sentenced to death for online blasphemy. Read more

Attacks on Aurat March, minorities and critics highlight shrinking space for dissent in Pakistan

Indian authorities target activists, journalists as they suppress support for the farmers’ protests

Since early January 2021, the authorities have continued to suppress and demonise the farmers protest movement using excessive force with over a hundred detained and charged as well as blocking roads and protests spaces. Activists supporting them have been criminalised using draconian laws as well as journalists reporting and commenting on the protests. The government has also attempted to silence criticism online. Read more

Indian authorities target activists, journalists as they suppress support for the  farmers’ protests

Singapore targets peaceful protesters and continues judicial harassment of critics

In recent months the Singaporean authorities have continued to use the restrictive Public Order Act to charge human rights activist Jolovan Wham, arrest LGBT activists and warn social media users against peacefully protesting. It has also continued to harass independent news outlet New Naratif and to prosecute critics for defamation. Read more

Singapore targets peaceful protesters and continues judicial harassment of critics

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

In September 2020, the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 was adopted which would impose further restrictions on civil society. In October 2020, Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy was the latest activist to be arrested under the UAPA while the health of detained poet and social activist Varavara Rao continues to deteriorate. Also, in October, raids were conducted on human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and newspapers in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. Journalists and human rights lawyers continue to be targeted for exercising their freedom of speech while student activists and protesters remain in jail for their activism. Farmers continue to protest against new farm laws. Read more

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

Thai authorities use excessive force, lese-majeste laws to clamp down on pro-democracy protests

There have been ongoing pro-democracy protests in Thailand demanding the dissolution of Thailand’s military-backed government led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the drafting of a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists and government critics. Over the last month, the authorities have continued to attempt to suppress the protests by using excessive force and blocking public spaces, charging protest leaders for lese-majeste, targeting student protesters and using disinformation tactics
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Thai authorities use excessive force, lese-majeste laws to clamp down on pro-democracy protests

Authorities escalate crackdown on the youth-led protest movement in Thailand

The Thai authorities have escalated their crackdown on peaceful protests in Thailand in recent weeks. TLHR and Article 19 reported that at least 90 individuals were arrested between 13th and 21st October 2020 and peaceful protests have been dispersed, in some instances with excessive force. Read more

Authorities escalate crackdown on the youth-led protest movement in Thailand

Singapore government continues to harass its critics as share of popular vote falls

In recent months, the authorities have continued to use the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) against its online critics. It is also continuing its harassment of critical news site New Naratif for allegedly breaking its restrictive election laws. Human rights defender Jolovan Whan spent 10 days in jail for holding a public discussion, while a group of Myanmar nationals are being investigated for holding a peaceful protest. NGOs are also calling for better protection of migrant workers. Read more

Singapore government continues to harass its critics as share of popular vote falls