positive CS development

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

On 29th July 2020, residents of Ciudad del Este and neighbouring towns mobilised to oppose the reinstatement of strict quarantine measures due to the region’s increasing COVID-19 infections. Read more

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

In July and August 2020, protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued across the country, often with violent clashes between militarised police and protesters. Read more

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

Same sex relations decriminalised; amended Penal Code denounced as 'repressive'

On 23rd June 2020, members of the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Penal Code, which also removed the provision that criminalised same sex relations. A year earlier, in July 2019, the Senate approved an amendment, in which same sex relations were considered as 'a violation of morals' and punishable with a prison sentence of six months and a fine of 5 million CFA francs (9,000 USD). Prior to July 2019, there was no law on same sex relations. Read more  |  Read in French

Same sex relations decriminalised; amended  Penal Code denounced as 'repressive'

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Madi Jobarteh was summoned for questioning on 30th June to the Kairaba police station in Serrekunda, in relation to statements he made in an interview during a Black Lives Matter protest he organised on 27th June 2020 in front of the US embassy. That same day, Jobarteh was charged with 'false information and broadcasting' under the Criminal Code, which is punishable with a prison sentence of six months to five years or a fine of 500 to 50,000 dalasis (9.6 to 960 USD), before being released on bail. Read more

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Dock workers have been struggling for many years at the hands of the owners of port facilities and there have been many attempts to hinder workers’ unions’ activities. In one attempt, FOZPOR, the company managing the port, failed in bringing charges against the president of SEAL (the dockers’ union), António Mariano, after the court of Coimbra in its pre-trial investigation found that there were no grounds for a trial. Thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against racism at the beginning of June 2020 and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In response to this, for the first time a considerable sized protest of far-right groups was staged three weeks later. Seara – Centro de Apoio Mútuo de Santa Bárbara, a mutual support centre in Lisbon faced eviction by private guards who were assisted by police. It is reported that the guards attacked and intimidated people who were protesting the eviction. Read more

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Civil dialogue continues, but no concrete support from government

There has been an active civil society dialogue with the government during the state of emergency, in particular due to the efforts of the NGO sector, and when discussing the demands and measures to be put in place to tackle the current situation. While Civic Alliance Latvia (CAL) has been working on pushing government’s actions to diminish the impact of COVID-19, it has not been successful in achieving concrete support measures for NGOs. In a concerning development, CSOs have noticed that during the emergency period authorities have become accustomed to addressing issues of public interest hastily, without undertaking public consultation as the best practice and regulation process entails.
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Civil dialogue continues, but no concrete support from government

Photojournalist Christoff Griffith killed while covering a crime in Barbados

On 22nd June 2020, an assailant attacked and killed Christoff Griffith, a photojournalist working with The Nation newspaper. According to local news, Griffith responded to the report of a murder in an abandoned property in St Michel, southwest Barbados. Read more

Photojournalist Christoff Griffith killed while covering a crime in Barbados

Press freedom a grave concern during pandemic; attempts to ban gender studies in education

Despite recent political changes, press freedom remains a grave concern in Romania, even more so during COVID-19. As an attempt to counter the spread of coronavirus-related “fake news” online, articles and even entire websites were taken down. Media freedom in the country has declined since the introduction of the state of emergency in mid-March 2020 in the following ways: First, the response time for freedom of information (FOI) requests doubled from a maximum of 30 days to 60 days. Second, it was decided that all official COVID-19-related information would be released from the capital and thus limiting local journalists’ ability to verify any information outside of Bucharest. Third, the government threatened doctors and public servants with criminal charges for releasing any information on the pandemic to the media. However, after press watchdog bodies raised concerns, more information on COVID-19 has been released since. In a separate development a new law has been approved by both houses of the Romanian parliament banning gender identity studies—or “gender ideology”, as termed by right-wing populists—in schools and universities.


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Press freedom a grave concern during pandemic; attempts to ban gender studies in education

Peru legislation enables disproportionate use of force by police

On 15th March 2020, Peru’s government issued a decree declaring a state of emergency on account of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decree suspended individual constitutional rights, including rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of movement, and the requirement that the government must have a warrant before conducting arrests. Read more

Peru legislation enables disproportionate use of force by police

Group protests against ‘false pandemic’ and 5G, while other protests are called off

Since the civil society sector was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has reconsidered its previous decision to cut state budget funding to CSOs and decided to include CSOs for economic assistance measures. While one protest against government’s restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic was cancelled, another was held against what they consider to be “a false pandemic”. In a concerning development which may undermine freedom of speech in the country, government has decided to cut seven million euros of funding from Macedonian Radio Television. Meanwhile, Professor Katica Kulavkova, a member of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, has been condemned for a hateful tweet which is said to promote intolerance among ethnic communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. NGOs expressed concern that in the upcoming pre-election period, there would be an increase in hate speech which needs to be addressed adequately by the authorities. Read more

Group protests against ‘false pandemic’ and 5G, while other protests are called off