positive CS development

Government bans open-air religious gatherings, interrupting protests by Serbian Orthodox church

Amid the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Montenegro, the names of citizens who were ordered to self-isolate had been disclosed by the government. In reaction to this, NGO Civil Alliance brought an appeal against this decision, stating that this violated these citizens constitutional right to privacy. In mid-June 2020, after a three-month break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a protest liturgy of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) was held in Podgorica. The gathering, which was attended by thousands of citizens, was peaceful. However, 10 days later, the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases announced that open-air religious gatherings would be prohibited. On a positive note, Parliament has voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships in Montenegro Read more

Government bans open-air religious gatherings, interrupting protests by Serbian Orthodox church

Militarised police continue to use excessive force against protesters

Massive protests to condemn police brutality, overwhelmingly peaceful, have continued across the U.S. Enduring pressure from demonstrations has brought important results, including charges brought against officers involved in George Floyd’s killing and commitment to reforming police practices from some authorities. Read more

Militarised police continue to use excessive force against protesters

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

Commemorative march cancelled due to COVID-19, Residents protest demolition of cultural building, Police arrest 252 people during a politically motivated protest in Yerevan, Concerns over media censorship in guise of COVID-19 restrictions , Civil Society raises concern over draft law on freedom of information, Armenia ranked 61st in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Read more

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

Authorities accused of abusing COVID-19 restrictions to stifle expression despite improved ranking

RSF reports that press freedom violations had declined under president Mokgweetsi Masisi’s regime;
President Masisi was accused of using the covid-19 pandemic to crack down on media and government critics; journalist's house raided on 17th July 2019 by officials from the Directorate of Security Services (DIS) agents Read more

Authorities accused of abusing COVID-19 restrictions to stifle expression despite improved ranking

Protests repressed and disinformation legislation revoked in Bolivia

At the beginning of June 2020, Bolivia began easing quarantine measures and lifting some restrictions on movement. Local governments were allowed to establish additional measures according to the public health situation in their regions. Read more

Protests repressed and disinformation legislation revoked in Bolivia

CSOs included in governments COVID-19 emergency fund

The Austrian government implemented strict measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The new government has adopted a much more moderate tone and course than the previous government. CSOs have asked the government to support the sector economically, which could also be a potential opportunity to restructure the dialogue. On 15th March 2020, a law (Covid-19 Gesetz) was passed by parliament, which for the first time in Austrian history mentions "Non-Profit Organisations" and says that they are eligible for the same emergency fund as small entrepreneurs. Read more

CSOs included in governments COVID-19 emergency fund

Progress on human rights defender’s bill in Mongolia but defamation laws put media at risk

In May 2020, a new law on the protection of human rights defenders was submitted to parliament. Civil society groups have raised concern about new criminal defamation provisions in the criminal code and the harassment of a journalist. The government has put on hold a proposed law on NGOs that could be used to severely constrain their activities. Read more

Progress on human rights defender’s bill in Mongolia but defamation laws put media at risk

Funding cuts and no economic assistance for CSOs during COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) induced economic crisis, the government decided to exclude CSOs from its economic assistance measures. In a separate development, on 18th May 2020 activists expressed outrage after the Constitutional Court struck down the Anti-Discrimination Law which was passed last year, citing procedural omission as a reason. During the pandemic the government made provision for media workers to have special permits to do field work even during the curfew hours, during which there is limited movement for the general public. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) called for better communication and transparency from government institutions and health centres during the pandemic.
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Funding cuts and no economic assistance for CSOs during COVID-19

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Cuban news media, social movements and human rights organisations have denounced that the government has continued to crackdown on dissent, repress freedoms and silence critical voices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, there have been several reports of activists and journalists being detained or harassed, particularly through police citations, summons and interrogations. At least 30 people have been subjected to harassment from state actors under Decree 370, which has been used to supress freedom of expression in the country. Read more

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Honduras’ undue restrictions on expression and police abuse of emergency powers during COVID-19

On 10th March 2020, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández declared a state of sanitary emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On 16th March 2020, another decree (PCM-021-2020) restricted several constitutional guarantees, including freedoms of expression, association, assembly, and movement. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Honduras’ undue restrictions on expression and police abuse of emergency powers during COVID-19