positive court ruling

Protests for Ukraine and labour rights; concerns raised over Russian media bans

Several anti-war protests were held during February and March 2022, both before and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022. Several protests for labour rights also took place during this period. Following the banning of Russian outlets , press groups raised concerns of censorship. The groups emphasised that fighting disinformation should not come in the form of censorship; instead there should be a focus on independent fact-checking for misinformation, in addition to teaching media literacy.
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Protests for Ukraine and labour rights; concerns raised over Russian media bans

Canada: use of emergency powers to disperse protests under scrutiny

In April 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that an independent public inquiry would be held into the government’s use of emergency powers in February 2022 to disperse anti-vaccine trucker protests and border blockades. Read more

Canada: use of emergency powers to disperse protests under scrutiny

TransIndex staff resign citing political pressure; Senate approves anti-LGBTQI+ law

On 15th February 2022, after 23 years of operation, the entire editorial staff of the Hungarian minority media platform Transindex in Romania resigned, on grounds of facing suffocating political pressure on their journalistic work. Following this it was reported that the staff of Transindex would be launching a new media project with the Hungarian independent news outlet Telex, named Transtelex. Separately, several attacks against journalists were documented, including against journalist Emilia Sercan who filed a police report after being threatened online and discovering that old private photographs had been stolen from her hard drive and put on porn sites. In another concerning development, the Romanian Senate, the parliament’s upper house, approved an anti-LGBTQI+ legislative draft which mirrors Hungary's law on on disseminating LGBTQI+-related information. Read more

TransIndex staff resign citing political pressure; Senate approves anti-LGBTQI+ law

“A dark day for democracy’: Policing Bill becomes law; protesters at Sarah Everard vigil prosecuted

The Met police are prosecuting six people who took part in the Sara Everard vigil during March 2021 (see previous update) for alleged breach of COVID-19 regulations. Additionally, several protesters from the Just Stop Oil movement have been detained or prosecuted for protesting. Additionally, concerning legislative developments took place during this period: the recently announced Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Bill would ‘stop public bodies from making any boycott, divestment or sanctions decisions that aren’t in line with UK Government foreign or economic trade policies.’ Additionally, the Public Order Bill contains a number of measures which were successfully excluded from the Policing Bill, which was passed into law in April 2022. Read more

“A dark day for democracy’: Policing Bill becomes law; protesters at Sarah Everard vigil prosecuted

Proposed law threatens CSO space, opposition faces brutal repression ahead of elections

Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill Poses Serious Threats to Human Rights and Civic Space; President Mnangagwa Issues Stern Warning to Civil Society Actors; Police arrest Opposition Political Party Members for Election Campaigning; Popular CCC Supporter Arrested for ‘Improper Dressing’; Judiciary Overturns Several CCC political rally bans; Teachers Strike over Wage Increase; Opposition Political Party Rally attacked; Zimbabwe National Students Union Protest over Fee Hikes ; Trial of Clapaton Redi begins over insult charges Read more

Proposed law threatens CSO space, opposition faces brutal repression ahead of elections

Blogger faces lengthy prison sentence & risk of torture if forcibly returned to Kuwait

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) issued an appeal calling on the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina to grant Kuwaiti blogger Mesaed Al-Musaileem the right to move to a safe third country; Criminal Division of the Court of First Instance (Kulya Court) acquits the President of the Kuwait Association for Information Security, Dr Safaa Zaman, of broadcasting false news; Bedoon rights defenders began an open-ended hunger strike to demand civil and human rights for all Bedoon citizens; human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli summoned by the Public Prosecution in Kuwait for the third time in one month, charged with defamation, Kuwaiti Constitutional Court overturns Article 198 of the Penal Code, which criminalised “imitation of the opposite sex”, Read more

Blogger faces lengthy prison sentence & risk of torture if forcibly returned to Kuwait

Landmark court judgment decriminalises same sex relationships

Botswana’s Court of Appeal hands down unanimous judgment affirming decriminalisation of same-sex relationships; Proposed amendments seek to provide oversight to interception of communications; Whistleblowing Act failing to protect expression Read more

Landmark court judgment decriminalises same sex relationships

Argentina: Buenos Aires' facial recognition system suspended

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in December 2021 and early months of 2022 protesters took to the streets in Argentina against negotiations between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure the country’s debt. A new agreement was announced in January 2022, and demonstrations continued as the details of the deal were finalised. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Argentina: Buenos Aires' facial recognition system suspended

Judicial harassment of pro-abortion activist & activists helping refugees at Poland/Belarus border

Poland is increasingly criminalising humanitarian work on the Poland/Belarus border. Activists who previously received small fines for helping refugees are now charged with “organising an illegal border crossing”, which is a criminal offence punishable by eight years in prison. While the Polish government announced that it was allocating funding to NGOs for Ukraine crisis support, the funding, some funding was allocated to the National Guard Association, a far-right organisation that has been advocating for push backs. Further concerning developments on abortion rights took place: the death of a pregnant woman who was denied abortion sparked protests and Justyna Wydrzyńska, a human rights defender from the Polish group Aborcyjny Dream Team, faces up to three years in prison for supporting a pregnant woman who needed a safe abortion. In a positive development, the President vetoed proposed amendments to the law on education (dubbed Lex Czarnek), which would have censored workshops on LGBTQI+ rights and civic education in schools.

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Judicial harassment of pro-abortion activist & activists helping refugees at Poland/Belarus border

Associations push back as Separatism law comes into effect; CSO tackling Islamophobia dissolved

Several concerning developments took place during this reporting period. On 1st January 2022, the so-called Separatism law came into force after the Constitutional Council validated most of the provisions contained in the draft bill, despite major concerns raised by a broad coalition of civil society organisations. However CSOs are fighing back by submitting an appeal to the Council of State. The Collective against Islamophobia in France (Collectif Contre l'Islamophobie en France – CCIF), an association whose purpose was to fight by legal means discrimination against Muslim people was dissolved by a decree on 2nd December 2020 and at the end of September 2021, the Council of State approved the dissolution. The administrative dissolution of the Coordination against racism and Islamophobia (Coordination contre le racisme et l'islamophobie - CRI) was pronounced by a decree of 20th October 2021 on a similar basis. Read more  |  Read in French

Associations push back as Separatism law comes into effect; CSO tackling Islamophobia dissolved