surveillance

El Salvador: human rights defenders arbitrarily detained during state of emergency

On 24th April 2022, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly extended the state of emergency for another 30 days, following a request from President Nayib Bukele.

Since a state of emergency was established to address gang-related violence, about 16,000 people were detained for alleged connections with criminal groups. Amid the crackdown, there have been reports of arbitrary detentions and police officers being made to fulfil arrest quotas, encouraging further due process violations. Human rights groups and journalists speaking out about abuses have faced stigmatisation and public vilification.
Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: human rights defenders arbitrarily detained during state of emergency

Argentina: Buenos Aires' facial recognition system suspended

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in December 2021 and early months of 2022 protesters took to the streets in Argentina against negotiations between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure the country’s debt. A new agreement was announced in January 2022, and demonstrations continued as the details of the deal were finalised. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Argentina: Buenos Aires' facial recognition system suspended

Associations push back as Separatism law comes into effect; CSO tackling Islamophobia dissolved

Several concerning developments took place during this reporting period. On 1st January 2022, the so-called Separatism law came into force after the Constitutional Council validated most of the provisions contained in the draft bill, despite major concerns raised by a broad coalition of civil society organisations. However CSOs are fighing back by submitting an appeal to the Council of State. The Collective against Islamophobia in France (Collectif Contre l'Islamophobie en France – CCIF), an association whose purpose was to fight by legal means discrimination against Muslim people was dissolved by a decree on 2nd December 2020 and at the end of September 2021, the Council of State approved the dissolution. The administrative dissolution of the Coordination against racism and Islamophobia (Coordination contre le racisme et l'islamophobie - CRI) was pronounced by a decree of 20th October 2021 on a similar basis. Read more

Associations push back as Separatism law comes into effect; CSO tackling Islamophobia dissolved

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

El Salvador: freedom of expression under threat amid rising gang violence

On 27th March 2022, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly decreed a state of exception in an attempt to halt an increase in murders, which put a strain on the government’s security strategy with 76 killings in just two days. The measure had been requested by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, following a weekend of extreme violence. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: freedom of expression under threat amid rising gang violence

Activists and journalists in China face persecution during and after Winter Olympics

In recent months, activists have been detained and indicted for speaking up, while human rights groups report that thousands have been detained in a secret residential surveillance system - a legalised form of enforced disappearance. The censorship apparatus intensified before and during the Olympics, while journalists are facing trial on trumped up charges of subversion and spying. Read more

Activists and journalists in China face persecution during and after Winter Olympics

Chile: same-sex marriage legalised; Gabriel Boric sworn in as President

On 11th March 2022, Gabriel Boric of Social Convergence was sworn in, becoming Chile’s youngest ever president. Boric is a former student union leader who had a key role in 2011 mass protests for free public education. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Chile: same-sex marriage legalised; Gabriel Boric sworn in as President

Guatemala: surveillance of journalists and reprisals against anti-corruption officials

On 10th February 2022, Leysi Indira Santizo Rodas, lawyer and former representative of the UN’s International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), was arrested by agents from the Attorney General’s Office. The lawyer was accused of obstruction of justice, in the latest case of reprisals against members of the anti-corruption effort. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Guatemala: surveillance of journalists and reprisals against anti-corruption officials

USA: bills restrict freedom of expression in the classroom; massive protests in Puerto Rico

On 4th February 2022, thousands of teachers across Puerto Rico left their classrooms to demand higher wages, improved working conditions and better pensions. Videos showed streets crowded with protesters who rejected a fiscal plan allowing modest salary increases for teachers and other public employees, approved by the federal control board that oversees the island’s finances. Read more

USA: bills restrict freedom of expression in the classroom; massive protests in Puerto Rico

Colombia: surveillance of civil society and detention of protest leaders

2022 began with astounding violence in the north-eastern department of Arauca along the Colombia-Venezuela border. Over 60 homicides were recorded in the region in January 2022, attributed to the escalating dispute over narcotrafficking routes between armed groups ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and dissidents of the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). Read more

Colombia: surveillance of civil society and detention of protest leaders