public vilification

Economic crisis & teachers’ conditions spark mass protests as FIDESZ government continues its battle for EU funds

The Hungarian capital saw one of the largest protests in recent decades over conditions for teachers and the severe economic situation in Hungary. Since the government made teacher strikes effectively impossible by a decree in February 2022, teachers have started staging acts of civil disobedience. However, in late September 2022, five teachers were dismissed for having participated in the civil disobedience movement. Hungary's media watchdog, the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH), said its Media Council had concluded that an animated Netflix series broke a Hungarian anti-LGBTQI+ law. . The Council has concluded in at least six cases that a media provider headquartered in another EU member state miscategorised content depicting homosexuality or transsexuality and that the age recommendation was too young. Read more

 Economic crisis & teachers’ conditions spark mass protests as FIDESZ government continues its battle for EU funds

Mass arrests of activists, restrictive draft laws and widening campaign against ‘’false’’ information

Applying a controversial law on protection against ‘’false’’ information, the government initiated the blocking of several news sites. Those targeted included the Kyrgyz service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which was blocked for two months in October 2022 because of a video allegedly featuring incorrect and biased information about Kyrgyzstan’s role in hostilities at the border with Tajikistan, which broke out in September 2022 and resulted in dozens of people being killed and hundreds injured. The government described these events as ‘’a pre-meditated military aggression’’ by Tajikistan and insisted that it had only acted from a defensive point of view. The measures taken under the law on ‘’false’’ information showed that this law can be used as a government censorship tool, as feared by media and civil society actors when it was adopted last year. Police also increased efforts to track down ‘’false’’ information on social media and summoned social media users for ‘’prophylactic’’ discussions because of allegedly ‘’provocative’’ posts. New problematic draft laws on media and NGOs, developed by the presidential administration, were put forward. In an alarming development seen in October 2022, the authorities arrested close to 30 activists, journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and other critics of a government-negotiated border deal, under which the territory of the Kempir-Abad water reservoir is due to become part of neighbouring Uzbekistan. Read more

Mass arrests of activists, restrictive draft laws and widening campaign against ‘’false’’ information

Prosecutors file indictment against women’s rights activists as government continues to target WHRDs

On 14th October 2022, a small demonstration and counter-demonstration were held in front of a courthouse in Warsaw during the trial of women’s rights activist Justyna Wydrzyńska, accused of aiding and abetting a pregnancy termination, which is considered a crime in Poland and is punishable by three years in prison. The trial will move forward in January 2023. On 20th October 2022, prosecutors in Warsaw filed an indictment against three women’s rights activists: Marta Lempart, Klementyna Suchanow and Agnieszka Czerederecka-Fabin from the StrajkKobiet (Polish Women’s Strike). They are accused of endangering public health and “causing an epidemiological threat” for protests which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic against the near-total abortion ban in October 2020. Read more

Prosecutors file indictment against women’s rights activists as government continues to target WHRDs

Environmental rights protests & activists continue to come under attack

On 23rd October 2022, environmental activists protested the planned construction of a new bridge in Novi Sad, claiming that it will devastate the last green oasis in this city. They gathered in Šodroš but were met with a strong police presence. Following clashes with police units, activists were detained and suffered serious injuries. Protesters were not only met with a large police presence but were also publicly vilified by politicians who discredited and insulted them. Additionally, environmental rights activists were also targeted during this period. On 21st September 2022, environmental activist Miroslav Perović from Kosjerić, Central Serbia, was beaten in front of his building. Read more

Environmental rights protests & activists continue to come under attack

Ecuador: two journalists killed in Manabí within a month

Indigenous rights defender Lina María Espinosa has received several death threats related to her work in 2022, human rights organisation Amnesty International warned in August 2022. On 7th July 2022, for instance, Espinosa received an anonymous phone call in which a man told her that he had been surprised not to see her at a meeting between the government and the Indigenous movement and added, “we already have your wreath of flowers ready.” Read more

Ecuador: two journalists killed in Manabí within a month

El Salvador: HRDs face increased risks under the state of exception

On 14th September 2022, the National Assembly of El Salvador approved a sixth extension of its ongoing state of exception. The country will complete its seventh month under the measure, which was first declared following a wave of gang violence in late March 2022. Between July 2022 and early September 2022, human rights defenders (HRDs) in El Salvador continued to face increased risk as a result of the state of exception. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: HRDs face increased risks under the state of exception

On the watchlist: LGBTQI+ EuroPride goes ahead at the last minute as journalists and LGBTQI+ activists attacked

On 22nd September Serbia was added to the CIVICUS Monitor watchlist due to a rapid decline in civic freedoms, with concerns about the government’s attempts to ban the LGBTQI+ EuroPride march event. The government’s last-minute decisions regarding the march have prevented LGBTQI+ persons from fully exercising their right to peaceful assembly and created an environment for further hateful rhetoric and violence. Additionally, there are concerns over the ongoing targeting of environmental defenders during protests, and attacks against journalists.

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On the watchlist: LGBTQI+ EuroPride goes ahead at the last minute as journalists and LGBTQI+ activists attacked

Government declines cooperation with UN mechanism, official vilifies CSOs

Burundian UN representative says that Burundi would reject any mechanism or “political attempts” to “interfere with the domestic affairs” of Burundi, in relation to cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur's request to allow him access to the country; Government official publicly  attacks  international human rights organisations documenting abuses in Burundi, including those committed by members of the ruling party's notorious youth league, Read more  |  Read in French

Government declines cooperation with UN mechanism, official vilifies CSOs

Worrying trends: Vilification of CSOs and killings of HRDs

CSOs jointly condemned the public vilification of the Helen Suzman Foundation by the Home Affairs Minister; non-profit law firm vilified for representing local community in court; grassroots movement Abahlali baseMjondolo's members killed in targeted attacks; Land Rights and Woman Human Rights Defender Gunned down; High Court declares protest levy fees unconstitutional ; Read more

Worrying trends: Vilification of CSOs and killings of HRDs

Mexico: President vilifies civil society activists

In July 2022, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made recurring statements vilifying activists who have campaigned to halt the construction of a section of the Maya train project until environmental concerns are addressed. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Mexico: President vilifies civil society activists