Funding restriction

Independence of RTV Slovenija under threat; culture and environmental CSOs face funding cuts

Attempts to curtail the work of civil society continue, with harsh funding cuts in the state budget for cultural and environmental CSOs. Additionally, the second draft of the De-Bureaucratisation law further threatens funding for cultural CSOs. A decision is expected in the next few months for NGOs, based in Metelkova who face eviction. The court procedure has been introduced separately for each organisation with slightly different dynamics, resulting in significant legal costs to NGOs. Meanwhile, the Slovenian Press Agency has signed a financial deal with UKOM on public service in 2021 thus securing funds, but journalists remain concerned over the future and independence of the agency. In a concerning development, several editors at RTV Slovenia resigned in protest against its production plan for 2022 which will erode editorial autonomy.

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Independence of RTV Slovenija under threat; culture and environmental CSOs face funding cuts

Foreign Agents Law would restrict fundamental freedoms in El Salvador

On 9th November 2021, President Nayib Bukele’s government presented to the National Assembly a draft Foreign Agents Law that could be used to stifle civil society and independent media. The proposed legislation would limit legitimate activities of organisations and individuals who receive funding or support from abroad. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Foreign Agents Law would restrict fundamental freedoms in El Salvador

Government cements further power over media; effects of anti-LGBTQI law seen

There have been concerning developments on media freedom. In October 2021), Mónika Karas, President of the National Media and Communications Authority (NHHH) and its Media Council resigned from her position. Karas was appointed in 2013 for a nine-year term. Under Karas’s leadership, the regulatory bodies have contributed to systematic declines in media freedom and the steady silencing of critical voices. . Karas’s early resignation opened the door for the ruling populist right-wing Fidesz party to decide on a new president for the next nine years before the upcoming general elections, thereby consolidating their power over a strategically important territory. There have been further concerning developments on LGBTQI+ rights. Several conquences have been documented as a result of the new anti-LGBTQI+ law: such as the censoring of a LGBTQI+ film and book. Additionally, the law has had a chilling effect: CSO's working on human rights have been denied access to schools while teachers and psychologists have to self-censor. Read more

Government cements further power over media; effects of anti-LGBTQI law seen

New tax rules impact civil society in Mexico

On 27th October 2021, Indigenous forest defender Irma Galindo Barrios went missing, reportedly after attending a protest in Mexico City. According to IM-Defensoras, she was meant to attend a conference of the Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in the capital, but never arrived. Read more

New tax rules impact civil society in Mexico

Orbán government alleged to have used Pegasus spyware on investigative journalists

As its next step in a long trail of attacks against independent civil society, the Hungarian government banned anonymous donations to NGOs from 1st July 2021. However, this rule was overturned two weeks later. A few weeks later, the Hungarian government gave up 2,3 billion Norwegian kroner (€220 million) which it was set to receive from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants Scheme due to failure to reach an agreement over who should distribute funds to civil society. On 24th July 2021, thousands of Hungarians joined the Pride Parade in Budapest to protest the government's anti-LGBTI rhetoric and legislation. On 30th July 2021, Hungary’s National Election Committee approved the government's request for a referendum, which is meant to protect the new anti-LGBTI legislation from “the attacks of Brussels”. Meanwhile, French NGO Forbidden Stories published their investigation into Israeli surveillance company NSO’s hacking spyware, revealing that amongst other countries Hungary used the spyware to spy on investigative journalists. Read more

Orbán government alleged to have used Pegasus spyware on investigative journalists

On our watchlist: A rapid decline in civic freedoms as government restricts fundamental rights

Janša's right-wing government continues its crackdown on media freedom and targeting of CSOs. Those that speak out about violations of freedoms, rights and a lack of social dialogue are targeted in retaliation. The crumbling democracy and current state of civic space in the country sets a dangerous precedent for the European continent, as Slovenia prepares to assume the presidency of the EU in July. Due to the rapid decline in civic space, Slovenia is now on the CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist.
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On our watchlist: A rapid decline in civic freedoms as government restricts fundamental rights

Killings and fabricated charges against activists persist as ICC investigation moves forward

In recent months, the killing of activists and fabricating of changes against them have persisted. Reports also showed the killing of lawyers has escalated under the Duterte administration since 2016. After nine sittings in nearly four months, the Supreme Court on in May 2021 wrapped up the oral arguments on the petitions by civil society against the draconian anti-terror law. Human rights defenders also urged the Supreme Court and Department of Justice to review the rules on issuance which has been routinely used to judicially harass and arbitrarily detain activists. Concerns continue to be raised about the freezing of bank accounts of civil society groups for allegedly being terrorist fronts. Read more

Killings and fabricated charges against activists persist as ICC investigation moves forward

Venezuela cracks down on civil society operation and funding

On 30th March 2021, Venezuela’s Interior Ministry published Administrative Ruling 001-2021 for the Unified Registry of Obligated Subjects, requiring all non-governmental and non-profit organisations in the country to provide sensitive information regarding their activities. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Venezuela cracks down on civil society operation and funding


#KilltheBill protests continue amid police violence; Extinction Rebellion co-founder arrested

#KilltheBill protests against the policing bill continue across the UK, as protesters advocate for the protection of peaceful assembly rights. Meanwhile, the controversial bill has been declared in violation of international rights standards. Amid these developments, climate defenders from Extinction Rebellion remain under threat, with the arrest of the group's co-founder. In other concerning developments, Conservative MPs launched a complaint against independent race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, after the trust made critical comments about the governments controversial Race and Ethnic Disparities report. In addition, 200 UK NGOs have condemned government cuts to the aid budget which will have devastating consequences for the sector.
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#KilltheBill protests continue amid police violence; Extinction Rebellion co-founder arrested

Controversial global security law adopted, creating a state of generalised surveillance

After months of controversy, mobilisations and renegotiations, and despite strong criticism from UN Special Rapporteurs and CSOs, the French parliament on 15th April 2021 voted to adopt the controversial Global Security bill. Human rights organisations have warned that the proposed law would undermine public freedoms, creating a state of generalised surveillance, threatening the freedom to inform, the right to privacy and the right to demonstrate. in response to the adoption, civil society organisations are building coalitions against the law and mobilising to demand a citizen In referral to the Constitutional Council. In another concerning development, the draft legislation commonly known as the Anti-Separatism bill has been approved by France’s two parliamentary chambers and will be subject to final approval in the coming months. The bill would forbid religious signs in certain spaces and particularly targets the wearing of the hijab by Muslim women and girls.
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Controversial global security law adopted, creating a state of generalised surveillance