enforced disappearance

Widespread anti-government protests across Cuba

On 11th July 2021, thousands of people joined spontaneous anti-government protests in at least 20 cities across Cuba. News outlets reported that these were the largest demonstrations seen in the country in decades. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Widespread anti-government protests across Cuba

Persecution of activists and journalists continues following rubber stamp elections in Vietnam

In recent months, the authorities have arrested a prominent human rights defender Nguyen Thuy Hanh who raised funds for the families of jailed prisoners of conscience, a book distributor Nguyen Bao Tien and a Khmer Krom activist. Land rights activist Can Thi Theu and her son have been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. Journalists have continued to be targeted by the authorities including Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu who has been jailed for eight years. Individuals have also been criminalised in recent months for their social media posts. Read more

Persecution of activists and journalists continues following rubber stamp elections in Vietnam

HRDs and journalists remain under threat

Despite some positive developments, journalists and HRDs remain under threat. While woman human rights defender and journalist Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam Saiad were released from prison under precautionary measures, film editor Sanaa Seif was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment on charges of 'spreading false rumours about the spread of COVID-19 in the Egyptian prisons' and 'the misuse of social media'. Journalist Hassan al-Banna has forcibly disappeared after being detained by the National Security Agency upon his arrival at Cairo airport on 18th April 2021, following his deportation to the country by Jordanian authorities. In addition, 29-year-old student and researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy has been arbitrarily detained since 1st February 2021 on bogus terrorism-related charges.
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HRDs and journalists remain under threat

WORSENING CLIMATE FOR FREE SPEECH: SPATE OF THREATS AND ATTACKS AGAINST JOURNALISTS AND ACTIVISTS

During the period covered by this update, the authorities pushed through the controversial new constitution initiated after the October 2020 political crisis. Critics fear that the new constitution, which was approved in a referendum held in early April 2021, might legitimise authoritarian rule and undermine the rule of law in the country by granting the president excessively broad powers without an effective system of checks and balances. There are also concerns that some of the provisions of the new constitution might result in violations of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. President Sadyr Japarov, who rose to power after the October 2020 political crisis, insisted that Kyrgyzstan would remain “democratic’’ following the adoption of the new constitution and that there would be no politically motivated persecution under his rule. However, the period covered by this update saw a series of cases of intimidation and harassment of activists and journalists, which reinforced concerns about a worsening climate for free speech and persecution of those who criticise, oppose and challenge the policies of the current authorities.
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WORSENING CLIMATE FOR FREE SPEECH: SPATE OF THREATS AND ATTACKS AGAINST JOURNALISTS AND ACTIVISTS

Systematic persecution of activists, journalists and critics in mainland China and Hong Kong

The assault on civic space has continued in China into 2021. Over the last few months civil society has reported the harassment, arrest, prosecution, torture and even death in custody of human rights defenders and journalists in mainland China. Serious crimes continue to be reported against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, including an escalation of baseless prosecutions. In Hong Kong, the authorities have continued their persecution of pro-democracy activists with arrests and convictions for peaceful protests under the draconian national security law as well as targeting of journalists for their reporting.
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Systematic persecution of activists, journalists and critics in mainland China and Hong Kong

Arbitrary detentions and attacks on Hmong in Laos as rubber-stamp elections held

In recent months, the UN has raised concerns on the ongoing arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders and the continued failure of the Laos authorities to investigate the whereabouts of human rights defender Sombath Somphone. A Christian pastor was released after being arbitrarily detained for a year and there have been escalating attacks against the Hmong community living near the Phou Bia mountain. Read more

Arbitrary detentions and attacks on Hmong in Laos as rubber-stamp elections held

China continues Hong Kong crackdown, persecution of activists and journalists for their reporting

In recent months, the authorities have continued the crackdown on activists in Hong Kong with mass arrests of the opposition and activists, charging individuals under the draconian National Security Law and jailing pro-democracy activists, including Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam. The ‘Hong Kong 12’ youth activists were also convicted in an unfair trial. There has also been a lack of accountability for police violence during 2019 protests. On the mainland, activists and journalists have been arrested, while Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer and citizen journalist was sentenced to four years in jail for her reporting on Wuhan. Human rights groups reported that a big data program for policing in China’s Xinjiang region arbitrarily selects Turkic Muslims for possible detention
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China continues Hong Kong crackdown, persecution of activists and journalists for their reporting

Rights groups and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Civic space continues to be rated as ‘closed’ in the CIVICUS Monitor’s latest report issued in December 2020. Over the last few months, the authorities have continued to push for online media sources to be registered. There has been a rare online criticism of the government inspired by the mass protests in Thailand while a political prisoner, Sangkhane Phachanthavong has been released on bail. The UN has raised concerns about state-sponsored persecution of the ChaoFa Hmong community. Read more

Rights groups and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

In November 2020, Brazil held countrywide local elections to elect city councillors and mayors. Politically-motivated attacks and assassinations increased by nearly 200 percent in 2020 in comparison to previous years. Read more

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue

Human rights groups and the UN have raised concerns about human rights defender Idris Khattak a year on from his enforced disappearance. Human rights defender Muhammed Ismail, the Secretary-General of the Pakistan NGO Forum (PNF), and his wife Uzlifat Ismail continue to be targeted by the authorities. Enforced disappearances targeting students, activists, journalists and human rights defenders have continued relentlessly in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Read more

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue