positive CS development

Indigenous groups' rights violated in loss of land and livelihood to oil spill

On 29 September, police detained a group of Indigenous Kichwa people for three hours. The group had attempted to file a complaint with the Judiciary Council regarding the effects of an April 2020 oil spill in rivers of the Amazon that had impacted the lands and communities of more than 27,000 Indigenous peoples. Read more

Indigenous groups' rights violated in loss of land and livelihood to oil spill

Activists and journalists subjected to threats, offices independent weekly set on fire

Since the most recent Monitor update on Mozambique, the country held local elections on 10 October 2018 and general elections on 15 October 2019. Civil society actors monitoring the elections and journalists reporting on them were subjected to threats and arbitrary arrests. Read more

Activists and journalists subjected to threats, offices independent weekly set on fire


Further erosion of media and academic freedom; attacks on LGBTI-friendly children’s book

The attacks on freedom of expression have not stopped with the demise of Index- the leading independent news site in Hungary. On 11th September 2020, Hungary’s Media Council decided not to automatically extend the licence of the radio station Klubrádió. Klubrádió, which is one of the few remaining critical outlets in Hungary, has, according to the government-appointed Media Council, repeatedly violated the country’s media law. For this reason, the Media Council said, the radio outlet would have to apply for a new licence. Independent media are not the only bodies subject to threats from Hungary’s illiberal forces. Academic freedom is also under threat as students from the University of Theatre and Film Arts have staged protests, since 31st August 2020, against the Orban government’s infiltration of their university. In an attack on LGBTI rights, during an online press conference, Dora Duro, a politician of the far-right party Mi Hazank (Our Homeland) attacked a new children’s book which retells fairy tales with LGBTI+ individuals as the main characters. Read more


Further erosion of media and academic freedom; attacks on LGBTI-friendly children’s book

Unjustified ban on protests during pandemic; Charlie Hebdo faces attack again

The governments ban on peaceful assembly was criticised due to its selective nature where shopping malls, bars, restaurants and an amusement park were authorised to open again, bringing together hundreds of people in small spaces, while protests were reprimanded by law enforcement. As a result, some demonstrations planned in June 2020 were prohibited in France. Despite this thousands gathered for Black Lives Matter protests and in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation. The Council of State declared that the ban on demonstrations is not justified by the current health situation when the “barrier measures” can be respected or when the event is unlikely to bring together more than 5,000 people. Despite this, many bans were issued against demonstrations on the basis of disturbing public order and the state of health emergency and police detained protesters. In a separate development, French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, faced attacks yet again.
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Unjustified ban on protests during pandemic; Charlie Hebdo faces attack again

Ongoing suppression of journalists' and protesters' rights; criminal libel law repealed

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, publisher of Awareness Times newspaper, was arrested on 1st May, 2020 at her home, because of a post on her Facebook page that indicated that former Defense Minister Alfred Paolo Conteh, who was in custody at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters in Freetown, was being kept in dehumanising conditions. Read more

Ongoing suppression of journalists' and protesters' rights; criminal libel law repealed

Protest over LGBTI rights; government praised for milestone NGO funding support

Lithuanian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are rejoicing after a National NGO Fund was established following many years of advocacy.
 In addition, the Lithuanian administration has promised a further two million Euros for the NGO sector, which has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In a separate development, in July 2020, around 500 people rallied in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital for LGBTI rights, calling on the government to legalise sex change and same-sex marriage and to highlight the harmful provisions of the controversial Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. In a positive development, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in favour of a gay couple Beizaras and Levickas in a landmark case against hate speech.

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Protest over LGBTI rights; government praised for milestone NGO funding support

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

On 29th August 2020, hundreds of people demonstrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest pandemic safety measures which they say infringe on their personal rights. Read more

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

Austria civic space rating upgraded to open

Political gains made by the Green party and increasing dialogue between government and civil society has led to an improvement in civic space in Austria, prompting a ratings upgrade from narrowed to open. This ratings decision by the CIVICUS Monitor was taken following a thorough assessment of conditions in the country for the free exercise of civic freedoms, as protected by international law. In 2018 under the ÖVP-FPÖ (Peoples Party - Freedom Party Austria) coalition government, Austria was downgraded to narrow following a deterioration in civic space. However, the September 2019 election outcome has resulted in a positive change, as the far-right FPÖ party was replaced in the coalition by the Green party. The Green party has been more open to dialogue with CSOs, which presents the sector with the unique opportunity to make themselves heard again.
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Austria civic space rating upgraded to open

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds

On 6th August 2020, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) published a statement condemning President Nayib Bukele and Salvadoran public officials’ threats against journalists and the press. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds