positive CS development

Belize: police officers prevent Love News from covering a protest and arrest reporter

On 7th May 2021, police officers arrested and assaulted Love News reporter Vejea Alvarez as he and a news team tried to cover a nurses’ protest at a hospital in Orange Walk Town. Read more

Belize: police officers prevent Love News from covering a protest and arrest reporter

Government considers harsher penalties as journalists continue to face physical attacks

Journalists have continued to come under attack. During the reporting period, the editor-in-chief of “Monitor”, Esad Kocan, was attacked on 27th March 2021 in front of his apartment in Podgorica. Attacks were also carried out on journalists Sead Sadikovic and Jelena Jovanovic. Following these events, on 31st March 2021, Montenegro’s Interior Ministry called for stricter penalties for attacks on journalists, promising to consider granting them the same status as state officials. Several protests also took place during the reporting period. Read more

Government considers harsher penalties as journalists continue to face physical attacks

Violent attack on Indigenous peoples and surveillance of defenders demanding justice for Berta

On 10th May 2021, members of the San Francisco de Locomapa community, Yoro department, were violently attacked by individuals linked to the lumber industry and by the police. Indigenous peoples in the community have faced repeated attacks for their defence of their territories and the Tolupán forest against extractive activities. Read more

Violent attack on Indigenous peoples and surveillance of defenders demanding justice for Berta

Smear campaign fuels protests against Indigenous peoples in Costa Rica

On 17th May 2021, farmers and non-Indigenous residents in the southern province of Puntarenas protested against land recovery processes. Civil society organisation Coordinadora de Lucha Sur Sur said the protest was convened based on false information about an alleged executive decree to increase the extension of China Kichá Indigenous territory. Read more

Smear campaign fuels protests against Indigenous peoples in Costa Rica

Restrictive peaceful assembly ban voted down in Parliament

On 21st April 2021, demonstrations took place in Denmark to protest the repatriation of Syrian refugees whose residence permits were revoked. Human rights organisations have condemned the governments decision. Demonstrators asked the Danish government to revoke the decision whereby Syrian refugees originating from the area around Damascus should be repatriated. On 14th May 2021, a demonstration in support of Palestine took place in Copenhagen was dispersed by the police due to “extensive disorder”, through the use of batons and tear gas. On 25th May 2021, Extinction Rebellion Denmark staged a protest outside the Confederation of Danish Industries (which represents 18,000 companies in Denmark). Read more

Restrictive peaceful assembly ban voted down in Parliament

Second-worst country in the EU for LGBTI persons, index shows

ILGA-Europe's rainbow index (published on 17th May 2021) reported that Latvia is the second worst country in the EU to be an LGBTI citizen, scoring just 17% in terms of equality, ahead only of Poland at 13%. More recently, a majority of the Saeima Criminal Policy Sub-Committee rejected proposals to define hate crimes against sexual minorities. In a separate development, On 27th April 2021, the Latvian government approved their national recovery plan for submission to the EU Commission. The plan includes proposals made by CSOs following successful advocacy efforts by Civic Alliance Latvia (CAL). Read more

Second-worst country in the EU for LGBTI persons, index shows

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

Crackdown on independent media outlets, lawyers and political activists continues

Freedom of expression and information are so tightly controlled in Tajikistan that it has become virtually impossible for journalists to cover issues which the authorities perceive to be “sensitive” without endangering their safety or that of their relatives. The authorities use legal provisions which punish incitement to hatred or discord or “spreading of false information” to silence critical voices and create a climate of fear. Apart from targeting independent journalists, state persecution is particularly aimed at human rights lawyers and political opponents.
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Crackdown on independent media outlets, lawyers and political activists continues

Bolivia ranked 110 in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index

On 30th March 2021, a group of truck drivers abducted, assaulted, and robbed journalist Franklin Guzmán Zambrana. Guzmán, a freelance reporter on assignment for Radio FM Bolivia, was attacked while covering a protest by thousands of coca farmers who had blocked a highway near La Paz, in the Yungas region. Read more

Bolivia ranked 110 in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index