surveillance

North Korean authorities have used the pandemic to increase border security and further repress citizens

There have been ongoing reports of civic space violations in recent months. The authorities have continued to monitor cell phones at the border and crack down on foreign video content from South Korea, imposing heavy prison sentences on offenders. Human rights groups have also reported the government has substantially increased security along its northern border, using COVID-19 as the justification. Read more

North Korean authorities have used the pandemic to increase border security and further repress citizens

El Salvador: hostile environment for human rights defenders and journalists

In September and October 2022, civil society organisations and international human rights experts expressed concern about the effect of continued exception measures on fundamental freedoms in El Salvador. The coalition Mesa por el Derecho a Defender Derechos (Board for the Right to Defend Rights) said human rights defenders are carrying out their work amid a hostile environment, subjected to daily attacks. Read more

El Salvador: hostile environment for human rights defenders and journalists

Cuba: frustration over power shortages leads to recurrent protests

On 25th September 2022, a referendum was held on reforms to Cuba’s Family Code which updated the country’s family law on several issues, including the legalisation of same-sex marriage, gay couples’ right to adopt children, surrogate pregnancies, and gender equality in parental rights. About two-thirds of the population voted to approve the reforms, despite opposition from religious groups and non-religious conservatives. Read more

Cuba: frustration over power shortages leads to recurrent protests

University protests against riot police deployment continue, Predator-gate scandal raises further concerns about surveillance

In September 2022, university students and staff protested several times in Athens against the deployment of police forces, the so-called University Institutions Protection Teams (OPPI) on university campuses. Protests and marches were also held in Thessaloniki against the deployment of riot police at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki campus. As of September 2022, a new controversial regulation is currently in public consultation. The new legislation would create a committee to monitor whether the principles of journalistic ethics and conduct have been observed. If the committee finds that they were not, they can remove the given media organisation from the registry and exclude it from state funding for two years. Additionally, abusive legal proceedings were launched against a journalist who was spied on with Predator. Read more

University protests against riot police deployment continue,  Predator-gate scandal raises further concerns about surveillance

Crackdown on activists and protests persist in Indonesia while draft criminal code revisions could further curtail dissent

In recent months, civil society groups have raised concerns about invasive content moderation regulations and digital attacks as well as harassment and intimidation of journalists. The criminalisation and harassment of Papuan activists persist as well as excessive force by police around protests in the restive region. Excessive force has also been documented around protests against fuel price hikes. Activists have also raised concerns on the trial around a deadly crackdown on a protest in Paniai in 2014. Read more

Crackdown on activists and protests persist in Indonesia while draft criminal code revisions could further curtail dissent

Amid protests, censorship and persecution of Uyghurs and activists in China, Xi Jinping seeks third term

In recent months, protests against COVID-19 restrictions and around a banking scandal were reported. There was surveillance and restrictions of activists around the Tiananmen massacre anniversary in June 2022, while a number of activists and lawyers have been prosecuted and sentenced for their activism, some in closed door trials. A new report shows how authorities are still locking up critics in psychiatric facilities. There has been ongoing censorship of criticism and politically sensitive topics, including around the zero COVID-19 policy, while journalists have continued to face arrest and harassment. Read more

Amid protests, censorship and persecution of Uyghurs and activists in China, Xi Jinping seeks third term

Activists criminalised for royal defamation and targeted by spyware in Thailand

In recent months, the authorities have continued to arrest and prosecute activists and critics for royal defamation, including a musician who has been jailed for six years. Some activists prosecuted for royal defamation went on a hunger strike to protest the denial of bail. Human rights grous also exposed the use of Pegasus spyware on the phones of dozens of pro-democracy activists as well as academics. The authorities have brought charges against Sitanun Satsaksit, the brother of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who has been forcibly disappeared while protsters continued to be indicted. There has also been ongoing opposition against a restrictive draft law on not-for-profit organisations Read more

Activists criminalised for royal defamation and targeted by spyware in Thailand

Journalists visiting foreign media under surveillance

On 24th May 2022, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency in Hungary due to the war in Ukraine, thus extending his emergency powers. The state of emergency allows the government to suspend the application of some laws with no oversight. Human rights organisations raised concerns that this will further threaten fundamental rights. In mid-May 2022, the State Audit Office sent electronic letters to around 1000's CSOs regarding launching the audits on the financial status of NGOs that “influence the public and whose annual balance sheet in a given year amounts to at least 20 million HUF (50,000 Euros). Separately, on 9th June 2022, investigative media outlet Direkt36 revealed that Hungarian diplomats working in EU countries have been monitoring Hungarian journalists visiting foreign media outlets abroad. Read more

Journalists visiting foreign media under surveillance

CSOs raise concerns over lack of consultations during parliamentary process

Irish civil society is becoming increasingly alarmed by the government’s abuse of the legislative process in the Irish Parliament. Recent controversies have emerged regarding the adding of extensive last-minute amendments to important legislation, with no time for scrutiny, and the guillotining of debates. For example, in late March 2022, the revised Electoral Reform Bill was published by the Irish parliament. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) was disappointed to note that the recommendations which the organisation fought to have included in the pre-legislative scrutiny report on civil society freedom haven’t been included in the revised Bill. Read more

CSOs raise concerns over lack of consultations during parliamentary process

El Salvador: Thousands join LGBTQIA+ Pride March

On 25th June 2022, thousands of people joined the LGBTQIA+ Pride March in San Salvador. A key demand of the demonstration was the approval of a Gender Identity Law that would create an institutionalised mechanism for legal recognition of gender identity for transgender persons. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: Thousands join LGBTQIA+ Pride March