Funding restriction

International Cooperation bill threatens to further reduce civic space in Venezuela

In May 2022, a new bill on International Cooperation under discussion in the National Assembly prompted concern by civil society organisations. If approved, the bill would repeal the current legislation on the topic and replace it with a more restrictive law, excluding human rights from modalities of international cooperation. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

International Cooperation bill threatens to further reduce civic space in Venezuela

Cuba: prosecutions against protesters continue; more restrictions are proposed in Penal Code reform

In January 2022, Cuba’s Supreme Tribunal proposed a bill modifying several articles of the Penal Code, in a broad reform set to be discussed by legislators in April 2022. Article 143 of the reform sparked concern by human rights groups, who highlighted that the draft uses vague language to criminalise any individual or organisation who “supports, encourages, finances, provides, receives or holds funds, material or financial resources, for the purpose of funding activities against the State and its constitutional order.” Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Cuba: prosecutions against protesters continue; more restrictions are proposed in Penal Code reform

Mexico: governing party introduces bill restricting civil society work

A bill being considered in the Chamber of Deputies would restrict the work of civil society groups by prohibiting organisations from trying to influence or change laws through lobbying or strategic litigation if they receive funding from foreign sources. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Mexico: governing party introduces bill restricting civil society work

Emergencies Act used to clear truck drivers’ convoy protests in Canada

Protests against COVID-19 restrictions continued in February 2022, with truck drivers in Ottawa bringing the city to a standstill for several weeks in a protest initially fuelled by opposition to vaccine mandates. Truckers and their supporters blocked key border crossings and other routes, including the Ambassador bridge which connects Windsor to the U.S. city of Detroit. Read more  |  Read in French

Emergencies Act used to clear truck drivers’ convoy protests in Canada

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

The authorities have blocked access to foreign funding for NGOs using the restrictive Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and raided the offices of human rights groups for allegedly violating the law. There continues to be a lack of accountability on the use of the Pegasus spyware against activists, while human rights defenders and journalists continue to be targeted, including in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists and protesters also remain in detention on various trumped up charges. Read more

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

Palestinian CSOs branded ‘terrorist organisations’ and surveilled by Pegasus spyware

The situation for Palestinian civil society organisations continues to deteriorate following Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society organisations as "terrorist organisations" under Israel's Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016 on 19th October 2021. In an additional concern, investigations revealed that 'Pegasus' spyware had been installed on the mobile phones of six human rights defenders, which included some staff of the six designated organisations. Read more

Palestinian CSOs branded ‘terrorist organisations’ and surveilled by Pegasus spyware

Ongoing concerns over restrictions on free speech, civic engagement

During the reporting period, parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan after having been postponed for more than a year following the cancellation of the results of the October 2020 elections due to mass protests. International observers concluded that the new parliamentary elections were competitive but that a low-key campaign prevented voters from making an informed choice. They also reported significant procedural problems during the vote count on election day. Despite President Japarov’s pledges to safeguard freedom of expression in the country, serious concerns remained in this area. There were reports about decisionmakers using a new law on tackling “false” information to put pressure on media outlets and journalists, as well as about new cases of intimidation and harassment of individuals critical of those in power, including wiretapping and other interference with their communication. Representatives of the media community spoke out against draft legislation strengthening state control of the national TV and radio broadcasting corporation as they believe that this reform would result in the corporation’s channels becoming mouthpieces of the government

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Ongoing concerns over restrictions on free speech, civic engagement

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