Civic Space Developments

“I am not safe here”: Women’s rights activists under attack for work on abortion rights

As reported previously, protests have been ongoing since October 2020 when the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) ruled to impose a near-total ban on abortion. In the latest developments in relation to this, womens' rights activists and organisation's advocating for the right to abortion, including the Polish Womens Strike, have been facing violent threats. Threats ranged from bomb threats to death threats sent via email. Messages include “Do you support abortion? Wait, you are about to die!” or “You have five days left”. The senders are alleged to be religious fundamentalists defending “true Catholic values”. In addition, a massive anonymous anti-abortion billboard campaign against women’s rights activists was seen across Poland. In relation to Poland's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Sejm voted to send the citizens' initiative bill to the parliamentary committee on justice, human rights and foreign affairs for further review. However, leaked government documents expose the government’s plans to replace the Istanbul Convention with an alternative convention which bans abortion and homosexual marriage. Meanwhile independent media and journalists remain under threat. Read more  |  Read in Polish

“I am not safe here”: Women’s rights activists under attack for work on abortion rights

Arrests, deadly attacks on protest movement escalate despite condemnation, sanctions on Myanmar

Two months since the Myanmar military seized power in a coup it has launched a brutal crackdown against a protest movement across the country. There have been reports of attacks on compounds of striking public-sector workers and targeting the general population in cities unleashing night-time terror by beating, arresting and even murdering people apparently at random, while destroying or looting private property.
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Arrests, deadly attacks on protest movement escalate despite condemnation, sanctions on Myanmar

Protests on environment, against racism and pandemic lockdown in New Zealand

In recent months, there has been protests in New Zealand against the felling of native trees, against racism and the COVID-19 lockdown. Read more

Protests on environment, against racism and pandemic lockdown in New Zealand

Malaysian government continues to silence dissent with emergency and repressive laws

In recent months, the police have investigated the former Attorney General related to his book, the courts have convicted a leading new website Malaysiakini of contempt and opened up investigations into its editor-in-chief Steven Gan and MP Charles Santiago for criticising the verdict. The authorities are also investigating an activist for his caricatures and have issued a new restrictive ordinance criminalising ‘fake-news’. A human rights lawyer working on a case against logging is facing lawsuits, while the police are investigating 11 individuals for a peaceful protest. A transgender women is facing arrest and threats for insulting Islam Read more

Malaysian government continues to silence dissent with emergency and repressive laws

Calls for #KilltheBill as the UK government seeks to stifle protests even further

the UK government and authorities have been cracking down on the right to peaceful assembly, with senior government officials labelling environmental and racial justice movements as ‘criminals’. During this reporting period, the government introduced a policing bill which gives significantly more power to the police and threatens peaceful assembly. The kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard sparked protests over the lack of safety for women. A metropolitan police officer has been charged in connection with the murder. The disproportionate force used by police during a vigil to remember Everard led to a backlash against the government and police, in the context of attempts to increase police powers. Protests against the bill have been ongoing.
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Calls for #KilltheBill as the UK government seeks to stifle  protests even further

One person killed by police during student protest

A bystander shot dead by police as they dispersed a protest by students from Wits University who were demonstrating in Braamfontein, Johannesburg; protesters demonstrate against beauty store's racist advertisement Read more

One person killed by police during student protest

Reports reveal death threats by Saudi officials against UN expert, reprisals against HRDs unabating

ports reveal that the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnès Callamard, had received death threats from Saudi officials in January 2020 because of her investigation and extensive report on the extrajudicial killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018; The Saudi government continues its relentless trend to abuse the criminal and judicial systems to punish those who fight for human rights - HRDs continue to suffer within the Saudi justice system Read more

Reports reveal death threats by Saudi officials against UN expert, reprisals against HRDs unabating

Delayed elections and political crisis: at least eight killed in opposition protests and clashes

On 19th February 2021, two weeks after the expiry of the president's and National Assembly's mandate, opposition groups took to the streets in Mogadishu to protest against the delayed elections, to demand the stepping down of president Farmaajo and increased inclusion in the election demands. Somali military police, also known as Harmacad, reportedly occupied the streets leading to the planned protest site, and clashes between opposition protesters and government troops ensued. Gunfire and explosions were heard sporadic heard in Somalia's capital, with protesters claiming that they were attacked by government forces first. Read more

Delayed elections and political crisis: at least eight killed in opposition protests and clashes

CSOs mark the 10th anniversary of the Popular Movement and condemn the systematic use of torture

Lawyers’ Disciplinary Board prohibits human rights lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi from practising law for one year; New reports detail the systematic use of torture in Bahrain, CSOs jointly call for release of imprisoned HRDs Read more

CSOs mark the 10th anniversary of the Popular Movement and condemn the systematic use of torture

Protests against Anti-Asian attacks in the USA

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States’ 46th president on 21st January 2021. The usual celebrations were cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic and the inauguration was also closed to the general public because of security concerns related to the 6th January 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Read more

Protests against Anti-Asian attacks in the USA