Civic Space Developments

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

Decision n° 811 of 2022 further hampers media freedom

On 15th September 2022, the Libyan government issued Decision n° 811 of 2022 on the conditions and requirements for audiovisual media activities. In a joint statement, Libyan and international civil society organisations raised their concerns about the Decision. They have noted that Decision n° 811 includes irregular provisions that violate media freedom. Separately, protests were staged in the eastern city of Tobruk against poor living conditions and political deadlock. The environment for journalists remains of concern. Read more

Decision n° 811 of 2022 further hampers media freedom

Protests demand release of activists detained over bank heist, journalists face rape threats and death threats

Several important protests took place during this period. Protesters who staged actions against the Higher Judicial Council’s decision to appoint an alternate investigative judge in the Beirut blast probe faced insults and harassment. Protesters demanding the release of two activists who were arrested for their participation in events at Blom Bank faced repressions. Concerningly, journalists continue to face intimidation and harassment, including rape and death threats. Read more

Protests demand release of activists detained over bank heist, journalists face rape threats and death threats

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

Security laws being used to criminalise human rights defenders in Mongolia

Civil society have raised concerns in recent months about the criminalisation of two human rights defenders. Activists Sukhgerel Dugersuren is facing an investigation and a smear campaign for raising concerns around a development project while Munkhbayar Chuluundorj has been jailed for his criticism of China Read more

Security laws being used to criminalise human rights defenders in Mongolia

Canada: courts consider cases with impact on civic freedoms

For several weeks in September and October 2022, people in Toronto demonstrated in solidarity with protesters in Iran. The city is home to the world’s second largest Iranian diaspora. Read more

Canada: courts consider cases with impact on civic freedoms

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

"Black Thursday": at least 50 killed in protests against extension of military transitional period

On 20th October 2022, dozens of people were killed in protests across the country against the decision of the military junta to extend the transitional period by another two years. Civil society actors and opposition, including the platform Wakit Tama and opposition party Transformateurs, had called for the protests on 20th October 2022 - the day that would mark the end of the initially agreed 18-month transition to civilian rule. On 19th October 2022, authorities banned the protests saying organisers had not complied with legal provisions related to protests, adding that the protest "aims to create a popular and armed insurrection with the support of external forces in order to destabilise the country". Read more  |  Read in French

"Black Thursday": at least 50 killed in protests against extension of military transitional period