Civic Space Developments

Protests against immigration policies and new environmental regulations in New Zealand

In recent months, hundreds have participated in protests across New Zealand against government policies. Protesters including migrant workers have mobilised against immigration policies that they say are ‘broken’ while farmers have protested against a swathe of new environmental regulations. Read more

Protests against immigration policies and new environmental regulations in New Zealand

Journalists questioned over report; concerns remain over draft law on whistleblowers’ protection

Since 20th May 2021, employees of the daily newspaper Libertatea and the weekly magazine Newsweek Romania have been questioned by prosecutors at the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) over their coverage of alleged corruption in public works contracting. According to experts, this is an attempt to silence journalists reporting critically on the use of public funds. In an independent development, the Ministry of Justice did not adopt most of the proposals submitted by APADOR-CH and other non-governmental organisations, which were aimed at improving the draft law on whistleblowers’ protection. Significant issues with the draft law which NGOs raised were disregarded. Read more

Journalists questioned over report; concerns remain over draft law on whistleblowers’ protection

Media independence, access to information and self-censorship of NGOs still an issue in Bhutan

There continue to be concerns about media independence, access to information and the chilling effect of defamation laws on journalists. Further, according to reports, NGOs continue to self-censor and avoid issues perceived as sensitive by the government. Read more

Media independence, access to information and self-censorship of NGOs still an issue in Bhutan

Haiti: President Moïse assassinated, launching country into further uncertainty

Overnight on 7th July 2021, a group of armed assassins gunned down President Jovenel Moïse after breaking into his residence in Port-au-Prince. Read more  |  Read in French

Haiti: President Moïse assassinated, launching country into further uncertainty

Flawed elections and deterioration of media freedom

On 11th June 2021, ahead of the HRC47, a group of NGOs led by DefendDefenders wrote a letter urging the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on the ongoing human rights crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia. The letter urged the HRC to “take urgent action to address the crisis and fulfil its mandate to address and prevent violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations and abuses, and to respond promptly to emergencies.”. On 21st June 2021, Ethiopia held its general elections amidst the conflict in Tigray and other regions including the Benishangul-Gumuz region. Officials announced that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had won 410 out of 436 seats on 10th July 2021. International observers and political opposition groups claimed the elections were undemocratic and unfair. On 26th June 2021, five opposition parties that took part in the election alleged that the ruling party had interfered with the general elections. The European Union did not send observers, and the United States criticised the electoral process, claiming it had too many obstacles for it to be perceived as credible. Multiple opposition parties boycotted the elections, as previously reported by the Monitor, and 18 percent of parliamentary seats from the Tigray, Somali, Harari, Afar,and Benishangul-Gumuz regions did not vote. Read more

Flawed elections and deterioration of media freedom

Ecuador: criminalisation of environmental defenders and bills affecting freedom of expression

In May 2021, state oil company Petroecuador filed criminal proceedings against Kichwa leader Wilson Geovanni Quindinga Salazar and his legal advisor Luis Xavier Solís Tenesaca for “paralysing public services”. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Ecuador: criminalisation of environmental defenders and bills affecting freedom of expression

Attack on freedom of expression and 44 people arrested for attending LGBTQI engagement

The Constitutional Court delivered a judgement on 2nd July 2021 that stopped the military court from trying civilian suspects. The ruling deems it unconstitutional for civilians to be tried in the military court if they are not subject to the military system. The court ordered the transfer to the civil court of all civilian cases being tried in the military court, and for the transfer of all persons serving a sentence imposed by the military court to the High Court Criminal Division for retrial. On 15th July 2021, the Supreme Court granted an interim order suspending the implementation of the Constitutional Court order. The Supreme Court will decide on the case on 29th July 2021, when the temporary order lapses. Read more

Attack on freedom of expression and 44 people arrested for attending LGBTQI engagement

US Supreme Court issues rulings on freedom of expression and association

On 1st July 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s law requiring non-profits to identify their large donors with the state. By a vote of 6-3, the court ruled that the law subjected donors to potential harassment, chilling their speech in violation of the First Amendment. Read more

US Supreme Court issues rulings on freedom of expression and association

Chile: Constitutional Convention begins its work

On 15th and 16th May 2021, over 6 million people in Chile voted in the election of 155 members of the Constitutional Convention, the body responsible for drafting a new Constitution for the country. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Chile: Constitutional Convention begins its work

Protests persist across Myanmar despite ongoing arrests, torture and killings by junta

Over the last month, the junta has targeted artists, medical workers, lawyers, journalists, LGBTIQ activists and their families, youths and others. Some have been sentenced for ‘incitement’ (Section 505a) and ‘unlawful assembly’ (Section 145) and murder, while others have been tortured or killed by the junta with impunity. An investigation by the rights group Global Witness found that Facebook is promoting content that incites violence against Myanmar’s coup protesters and amplifies junta misinformation. Read more

Protests persist across Myanmar despite ongoing arrests, torture and killings by junta