positive court ruling

Maldives elected to UN Human Rights Council despite press freedom concerns, restrictions on protests and impunity

In recent months, there continues to be concern about restrictions to press freedom following the passage of the Evidence Act and ongoing restrictions on protests and arrests of protesters by the authorities. There is still a lack of accountability for the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdullah. Read more

Maldives elected to UN Human Rights Council despite press freedom concerns, restrictions on protests and impunity

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

CSOs team up to support refugees from Ukraine

During April 2022, several protests were staged at different embassies in support of Ukraine. Additionally, three Estonian NGOs – the Estonian Refugee Council, Mondo and the Ukrainian Cultural Center – have been engaged in supporting Ukrainian people affected by conflicts since 2014 by providing food, medicines and hygiene items, clothes and shoes. After the war broke out in February 2022, the three NGOs launched the “For Ukraine!” initiative to help residents close to the Ukrainian front and other vulnerable groups. Read more

CSOs team up to support refugees from Ukraine

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

Concerns remain over RTV Slovenia as the new government opens up dialogue with civil society

The environment for civil society has seen improvements in the reporting period. For example, at the beginning of April 2022, the 8 March Institute (Inštitut 8. marec) received a notice from the Inspectorate of Internal Affairs accusing the Institute of “leading an undeclared electoral campaign”. After the change in government, the investigation was discontinued. Additionally, since the government change, its dialogue with civil society has improved. However, concerns related to media freedoms remain. On 26th September 2022, journalists and other employees at public broadcaster RTV Slovenija staged a strike. This is the third strike since June 2022 and comes after months of tensions between the staff and the management appointed by the previous government. Read more

Concerns remain over RTV Slovenia as the new government opens up dialogue with civil society

Macron secures second term, climate movement targeted via Separatism bill

While President Emmanuel Macron was re-elected for a second term in April 2022, the presidential coalition Ensemble lost the absolute majority in the National Assembly following legislative elections in June 2022. After the results of the presidential election were announced on 24th April 2022, far-left protesters took to the streets in Mayor-run French cities. In Paris, Rennes and Toulouse some incidents were reported as police clashed with protesters. Concerning developments that took place in relation to the so-called Separatism bill. On 13th September 2022, the prefect of the Vienne department sent letters to public authorities in the Poitiers area urging them to withdraw their funding of “Village des Alternatives”, a festival organised by Alternatiba, a grassroots movement fighting against climate change and social inequalities. According to the prefect, the scheduled activities would allegedly breach the “contract of republican commitment”. However, the mayor of Poitiers, one of the recipients of the letter, criticised the request of the prefect as disproportionate and offered her support to Alternatiba, refusing to defund the activities. Read more  |  Read in French

Macron secures second term, climate movement targeted via Separatism bill

Reforms on so-called “Gag law’ stall, concerns over secrecy law

In early October 2022, the upper house of the Spanish parliament, the Senate, approved a landmark bill that will ban expressions of support for the former dictator Francisco Franco. Despite expectations and promises, the Spanish government has not moved forward with the reform of the so-called Gag Law, which allows authorities to sanction and muzzle dissent. Several protests were staged, including on racial justice and for sex worker rights. On 7th October 2022, Spanish prosecutors launched a criminal hate crime investigation against male students of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) who yelled misogynist threats from their all-male dormitory at a neighbouring all-female dormitory in a coordinated event.

Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Reforms on so-called “Gag law’ stall, concerns over secrecy law

Anti-monarchy protesters face repression as the right to protest remains under threat

September 2022 was a very turbulent month for the United Kingdom. On 6th September 2022, Conversative Party member Liz Truss was appointed as the new prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II after Boris Johnson’s resignation in July 2022. Just two days later, the Queen died, and her eldest son acceded to the throne to become King Charles III. During this period, anti-monarchy protests took place and faced repressions. Protests were also staged for Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old Black man, who was shot dead by a firearms officer in South London while driving a flagged vehicle. Additionally, climate activists staged protests urging the government to halt oil projects and tackle cost-of-living crisis. Read more

Anti-monarchy protesters face repression as the right to protest remains under threat

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