Civic Space Developments

Rights groups slam plans to continue offshore processing for asylum seekers in Nauru

Human rights groups have slammed plans to maintain “an enduring form” of offshore processing for asylum seekers on the island state of Nauru. A Queensland court found that an Iranian refugee, who set himself on fire in 2018 on Nauru in protest at his indefinite detention, would almost certainly have survived if he had been better cared for, or transferred more quickly to an Australian hospital. Read more

Rights groups slam plans to continue offshore processing for asylum seekers in Nauru

Daniel Ortega retains power in electoral process lacking legitimacy and human rights guarantees

On 7th November 2021, Nicaragua held presidential elections without independent international observers or human rights guarantees. Hours after the ballots closed, official media announced Daniel Ortega as the winner with preliminary results showing he had received about 75% of the vote. Read more

Daniel Ortega retains power in electoral process lacking legitimacy and human rights guarantees

Repression of activists and journalists persists in Myanmar despite ASEAN rebuke

In the last two months, activists and journalists have continued to be targeted and criminalised and there are reports of torture of political prisoners. The internet has also been shut down in some regions. Some activists and journalists were released in a mass amnesty in October but some have been re-arrested. Read more

Repression of activists and journalists persists in Myanmar despite ASEAN rebuke

Journalists barred from press conference and attacked by outgoing Prime Minister

Legislative elections in Czech Republic were held on 8th and 9th October 2021, resulting in a positive outcome for the centre-right SPOLU (Together) coalition, with 27.79% of the vote. The ruling party, ANO, led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, obtained 27.12% of the vote, coming in second place. On 11th November 2021, Andrej Babiš and his cabinet tendered their resignation. Babiš will continue to serve until the new coalition government is formed. However, prior to and during the election campaign, the PM continued to attack journalists. On 29th September 2021, a number of international and Czech journalists were not admitted to a joint press conference held in Ústí nad Labem by Prime Minister Babiš and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Additionally, Babiš targeted Jaroslav Kmenta, an investigative journalist at Reporter Magazine during an election campaign rally in Poděbrady. Kmenta, who previously wrote a critical book about the PM. On another occasion, his security guards also attacked two journalists and prevented them from posing questions. Read more

Journalists barred from press conference and attacked by outgoing Prime Minister

Summary: Opposition activists face pressure ahead of presidential elections, bloggers targeted

According to official information, incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev won the presidential elections held in Uzbekistan on 24th October 2021 by more than 80 percent of the vote. As highlighted by international observers, the elections were characterised by the lack of meaningful competition, as no genuine opposition parties have succeeded in obtaining registration in the country and were therefore unable to nominate candidates for the elections. At the same time, opposition activists were harassed and intimidated in the run-up to the presidential elections. Separately, the process of registering new NGOs remains fraught with difficulties, and several independent NGOs have repeatedly been denied registration on grounds that appear to be politically motivated. The climate for free speech remains restrictive both on- and offline- with bloggers being targeted and several websites being blocked throughout the presidential election campaign. Read more

Summary: Opposition activists face pressure ahead of presidential elections, bloggers targeted

Hundreds of arrests during Extinction Rebellion's Autumn Uprising

Extinction Rebellion Finland (Elokapina) declared a 10-day protest, the so-called Autumn Uprising, which started on 29th September and lasted until 8th October 2021. Close to 500 protesters were detaine during various actions. The group denounced the detention of some protesters for 20 hours (far beyond the limit of 12 hours as stipulated in the Police Act) on the grounds that they resisted police orders and violated public peace. In addition, police threatened photojournalist Antti Yrjönen with a fine for insubordination while he was covering an XR protest in Helsinki. Read more

Hundreds of arrests during Extinction Rebellion's Autumn Uprising

Social and political divisions lead to tension in Bolivia

In early September 2021, human rights defender Franco Albarracin was threatened with prosecution by ruling party militants speaking on a radio programme. Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) supporters have accused Albarracin of participating in the political crisis which led to former president Evo Morales’ resignation after contested elections in 2019. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Social and political divisions lead to tension in Bolivia

Filmmakers documenting illegal logging brutally beaten

On 16th September 2021, three filmmakers were brutally beaten in the northeast of Romania while filming a documentary related to illegal logging. Mihai Dragolea, Radu Constantin Mocanu and Tiberiu Bosutar were confronted by 20 men who were armed with sticks and axes. All their equipment was destroyed and footage was deleted. The three men were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police have questioned and identified 12 people who were allegedly involved in the attack. Four of the men will be brought before court. Read more

Filmmakers documenting illegal logging brutally beaten

Thai activists and protesters face judicial harassment, excessive force despite upcoming UN review

In recent months activists and protest leaders have continued to be summoned, arrested and detained on various charges including royal defamation and sedition. Some have been denied bail. A new emergency regulation issued in August 2021 threatens online freedoms. Criminal defamation charges have been brought by companies against a woman activist and a journalist. Police have used excessive force including water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protests. Protesters have been detained and suffered injuries, including children. Concerns continue to be raised about a draft law which includes counter-terrorism financing measures to regulate non-profit groups.
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Thai activists and protesters face judicial harassment, excessive force despite upcoming UN review

Beirut explosion probe, worsening economic crisis and political interference spark protests

Following the Beirut port explosion in August 2020, demands for political accountability continue, amid an ongoing and worsening economic crisis. Since the explosion, authorities and political leaders have hampered investigations into the blast. Related to this, several protests were staged. A protest on the worsening economic crisis and the government's announcement to impose a renewed lockdown, was met with excessive force and detentions. Additionally, a protest demanding political accountability on the one-year anniversary of the Beirut port explosion was also met with force. Additionally, in October 2021, at least seven people were shot dead in Beirut and 30 others injured when gunfire erupted during protests, called by Hezbollah, demanding the removal of judge Tarek Bitar investigating the Beirut port explosion, accusing him of bias. Several attacks against journalists were also documented, including the killing of two journalists. Read more

Beirut explosion probe, worsening economic crisis and political interference spark protests