HRD detained

Cuban government backtracks on talks with protesters and uses COVID-19 regulations to harass critics

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in November 2020 the arrest of musician Denis Solís González led artists and activists with Movimiento San Isidro to mobilise for his release. On 26th November 2020, the Cuban authorities raided the movement’s headquarters and detained 14 activists who had been on hunger strike for several days. Read more

Cuban government backtracks on talks with protesters and uses COVID-19 regulations to harass critics

Censoring critical voices: Social media giants fined; journalists, women HRDs behind bars

On 2nd October 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced as part of COVID-19 measures that activities held by NGOs, unions and cooperatives were required to be postponed until 1st December 2020. The Turkish President ordered the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) to be outlawed and its leadership prosecuted, accusing the association of terrorism after it criticised governments response to COVID-19. Several protests were staged by the association over this. In a separate development, after three waves of operations against it, eight women affiliated with Rosa Women’s Association were arrested while eight others were released on probation due to their work on womens rights. The imprisonment of journalist remains a concern with four journalists being detained following their repeated reports on an incident where two Kurdish villagers were allegedly tortured and thrown from a helicopter. In addition, journalist Ayşegül Doğan was convicted for "establishing an armed organisation" and sentenced to six years and three months in prison due to her reporting. In another act of censorship, Turkish authorities imposed fines of 10 million Turkish lira (one million Euros) to social media giants, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for failing to comply with the new social media law. Read more

Censoring critical voices: Social media giants fined; journalists, women HRDs behind bars

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

In September 2020, the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 was adopted which would impose further restrictions on civil society. In October 2020, Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy was the latest activist to be arrested under the UAPA while the health of detained poet and social activist Varavara Rao continues to deteriorate. Also, in October, raids were conducted on human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and newspapers in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. Journalists and human rights lawyers continue to be targeted for exercising their freedom of speech while student activists and protesters remain in jail for their activism. Farmers continue to protest against new farm laws. Read more

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

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

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

On 15th October 2020, Nicaragua’s lawmakers approved the “Foreign Agents Law” which expands government powers to control and muzzle civil society. Read more

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

Thousands attend demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the popular movement

October 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the popular movement in Iraq, with demonstrations attended by thousands of people across various cities in the central and southern provinces of Iraq; As the protests continue, activists continue to pay with their lives; In November 2020, the Presidency of the Nineveh Federal Court of Appeal in Mosul issued arrest warrants against four civil society activists: Rayan Jasim Mohammed, Sahar Mohammaed Mustafa, Mohannad Qasim Ismail and Saqr Maan Abdulqadir Al Zakaria. Read more

Thousands attend demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the popular movement

Polarisation continues after presidential elections in Bolivia

On 18th October 2020, Luis Arce of Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) was elected president of Bolivia. The vote, which had been twice postponed during the pandemic, was mostly peaceful despite the country’s deep polarisation. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Polarisation continues after presidential elections in Bolivia

Controversial presidential elections: at least 21 killed in post electoral protests and violence

Controversial and disputed presidential elections took place in Guinea on 18th October 2020, after a constitutional referendum in March 2020 and a new Constitution, allowing incumbent president Alpha Condé run for a third term Read more  |  Read in French

Controversial presidential elections: at least 21 killed in post electoral protests and violence

NGOs call on authorities to end persecution of activists

In September 2020, 31 organisations called on the Algerian authorities to end their ongoing and accelerated persecution of activists, critical voices, and independent journalists. The statement came out ahead of the 1 November constitutional referendum and also in regards to worrisome COVID-related restrictions on civil and political freedoms. Read more

NGOs call on authorities to end persecution of activists