attack on HRD

Honduras: Lenca and Garífuna leaders killed within two days

On 30th April 2022, human rights defender and Lenca Indigenous leader Justo Benítez Sánchez was shot and killed at his home in the San Isidro community, Santa Bárbara department. He was a renowned leader who defended land and water rights and had a key role in the resistance against a mining project that would affect the Gualcarque River. Separately, on 1st May 2022, Garífuna leader Alonso Salgado was killed in an attack at the house of another Garífuna leader, Zury Quintanilla, in Rio Tinto. Read more

Honduras: Lenca and Garífuna leaders killed within two days

Colombia: attacks on HRDs and journalists amid increasing violence

According to data from the Observatory of Human Rights, Conflict and Peace of the Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz (Institute for Development and Peace Studies - INDEPAZ), 64 social leaders and human rights defenders were killed between the beginning of 2022 and 19th April 2022. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Colombia: attacks on HRDs and journalists amid increasing violence

Costa Rica: partial veto of new Access to Information Law

In April and May 2022, violence against Indigenous peoples in China Kichá continued to take place with impunity. On 27th April 2022, the Legislative Assembly approved Bill 20.799, the “General Law of Access to Public Information and Transparency.” The bill was nicknamed the “Gag Law” by the Costa Rican press because its Article 8 established a series of limits on access to information. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Costa Rica: partial veto of new Access to Information Law

President Aleksandar Vucic secures second term, amid growing pressure on civil society and journalists

On 3rd April 2022, presidential elections took place in Serbia. President Aleksandar Vucic secured a second term, with his party, the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), securing the most votes in Parliament, 43.5 per cent. However, the pre-election period was marred by violations against opposition parties, some of which were unable to hold pre-election events, and there were also cases of physical and verbal attacks. Concerning developments were also documented on environmental activism and rights. Several concerning incidents were documented against journalists. Read more

President Aleksandar Vucic secures second term, amid growing pressure on civil society and journalists

Brazil: shocking violence on HRDs and journalists continues

On 10th February 2022, nine-year-old Jonatas de Oliveira dos Santos was shot and killed in an attack in Engenho Roncadorzinho, a community in the town of Barreiros, Pernambuco state. According to the local police, the boy was killed in retaliation against his father, Geovane da Silva Santos, a community leader and president of the local smallholder farmers’ association. Read more

Brazil: shocking violence on HRDs and journalists continues

El Salvador: freedom of expression under threat amid rising gang violence

On 27th March 2022, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly decreed a state of exception in an attempt to halt an increase in murders, which put a strain on the government’s security strategy with 76 killings in just two days. The measure had been requested by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, following a weekend of extreme violence. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: freedom of expression under threat amid rising gang violence

Harsh sentences for opposition protesters; journalists and TV programme suspended

Prior to the opening of the African Cup of Nations, which took place from 9 January 2022 to 6th February 2022 in Cameroon, 27 CSOs wrote an open letter to President Paul Biya, calling for the modification of laws that have been used to criminalise protest – in particular the 2014 anti-terror law – as well as for the release of more than 100 people who have been languishing in prison for over a year, and some of over five years, for protesting. Some examples of those detained include TSI Conrad, a young journalist who was arrested while covering protests in the Anglophone regions six years ago and was sentenced by a military court to 15 years in prison; and Dorgelesse Nguessan who was sentenced to five years in prison for attending a Mouvement pour le Renaissance du Cameroun-led protest over how the regional protests were organised. Read more  |  Read in French

Harsh sentences for opposition protesters; journalists and TV programme suspended

Smear campaigns against CSOs, opposition and independent journalists continue

The Odbranimo Sume Fruske Gore association and the Fruskac Association, which have for years been campaigning against the irregularities in the purchase of land in the Fruska Gora National Park by the Galens company, have been sued by the company's owners. Separately, the Pride Info Center (PIC) Belgrade reported that a man tried to vandalise their premises. At a press conference discussing the government's decision to annul legislation related to the lithium exploitation project in Loznica, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabic accused donors of financing protests which are aimed at "breaking the spine" of Aleksandar Vucic. Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin accused environmental activists and the organisers of a protest held on 15th February 2022 of being "foreign mercenaries". In a concerning development, • After being warned by the police not to attend protests, three members of the Mitic family from Paracin are facing misdemeanour charges for participating in protests related to environmental rights on 4th December 2021. Smear campaigns against several outlets took place, and some pre-election concerns were noted. Read more

Smear campaigns against CSOs, opposition and independent journalists continue

New repressive measures after January 2022 events in Kazakhstan, ahead of presidential elections

During the reporting period, the Turkmenistani authorities continued to deny that the global COVID-19 pandemic had spread to the country, although independent sources reported on hospitals being overcrowded by patients with COVID-19 like symptoms. The World Health Organisation (WHO) for the first time publicly cast doubt on the government’s assertions of zero COVID-19 cases, with a high-level official from the organisation saying that this was unlikely from a scientific point of view. The Turkmenistani authorities also continued their attempts to cover up the devastating impact of the protracted economic crisis in the country, which has severely affected the largely impoverished population. The January 2022 events in neighbouring Kazakhstan, where peaceful mass protests turned violent and resulted in a serious national crisis, prompted renewed repression in Turkmenistan. For example, the president ordered additional measures to limit access to internet resources considered “anti-state” and the authorities reinforced their campaign against tools used to circumvent internet censorship. Read more

New repressive measures after January 2022 events in Kazakhstan, ahead of presidential elections

Honduras: Guapinol water defenders released after trial annulled by Supreme Court

On 27th January 2022, Xiomara Castro of the Libre party was sworn in as Honduras’ president. She took office amid a dispute with dissidents in her own party, who rebelled against her preferred choice for Congress leadership. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Honduras: Guapinol water defenders released after trial annulled by Supreme Court