office raid

Malaysian police ramp up persecution of Al Jazeera, journalists and activists to stifle criticism

Since April 2020, there has been a systematic campaign of judicial harassment by the Perikatan Nasional government targeting the media and journalists for their reporting, including independent news outlet Malaysiakini and Al Jazeera. The authorities are pursuing activists and government critics, as well as opposition parliamentarians, using an array of restrictive laws to stifle criticism. Individuals calling for or holding peaceful protests have also been questioned or arrested. Read more

Malaysian police ramp up persecution of Al Jazeera, journalists and activists to stifle criticism

COVID-19 used to curtail freedom of expression further

As in many parts of the world, in early 2020 Morocco adopted a state of health emergency to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the state of emergency came restrictions on freedom of expression, including imprisonment and fines for anyone who contravenes the health emergency decree, incites others to contravene the decree through speech or threats uttered in a public space or in meetings, written or printed materials, photos, posters, audiovisual or electronic communications, or any other means. In addition, the publication and distribution of print newspapers was suspended during the pandemic. The Council of Government also approved Bill 22-20 which aims to censor expression on social media, in particular, criminalising calls to boycott commercial products. During the pandemic, 110 citizens were detained for legitimately expressing their views. Police also arrested 450 individuals for breaking the public health emergency law and 56 for publishing false information on COVID-19.
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COVID-19 used to curtail freedom of expression further

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

The first three months of 2020 saw ongoing and systematic persecution of civil society activists, journalists, bloggers and other citizens exercising their right to freely express themselves. The situation is currently deteriorating, particularly in connection with the state of emergency, which was declared in the country on 16th March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Citizens who spoke up about the status of the pandemic in Kazakhstan and the authorities’ handling of it have on numerous occasions been criminally prosecuted. Political activists associated with two unregistered political parties – the new Democratic Party and the new movement “Street Party” - have faced persecution, administrative prosecution and significant harassment, both from the authorities and from unidentified persons. Read more

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

Honduras’ new criminal code continues to concern human rights organisations

On 23rd February 2020, the offices of peasants’ organisation La Via Campesina were looted in Tegucigalpa. According to members of the organisation, a computer and some documents were stolen. Some office equipment and furniture were also damaged. Read more

Honduras’ new criminal code continues to concern human rights organisations

Civil society in the Philippines decry restrictive laws, smear campaigns and judicial harassment

Over the last few months, harassment and attacks against journalists and activists have persisted in the Philippines. Attempts were made to shut down ABS-CBN, the largest media network, while cyber-troll armies were mobilised against government critics. Legislation against terrorism is being pushed through that undermines civic freedoms while civil society groups are facing judicial harassment, raids and smear campaigns. Government critic Senator de Lima has spent three years in detention. With the COVID-19 pandemic President Duterte has pushed through legislation that further threatens free speech and abuses against curfew violators have been documented. Read more

Civil society in the Philippines decry restrictive laws, smear campaigns and  judicial harassment

Cuba bans defenders from travelling and exposes their families to harassment

On 4th February 2020, opposition leader Guillermo Fariñas was detained by agents of the State Security Department on his way to a visa appointment at the Spanish Embassy in Havana. Fariñas is a dissident well-known for having conducted several hunger strikes for peaceful political change, who was awarded with a Sakharov prize for freedom of thought by the European Parliament in 2010. Read more

Cuba bans defenders from travelling and exposes their families to harassment

Protesters, activists, journalists & aid workers attacked, kidnapped, killed, as protests escalate

Popular protests that began in October 2019 continued on a daily basis into February 2020 in central and southern cities of Iraq with the broad participation of various sectors of the population, including students and women, despite the risks from security forces and armed groups which continue to target activists, journalists, and peaceful demonstrators.
Flagrant violations of the rights of Iraqi demonstrators have led to the death toll of the popular protests increasing to around 700 demonstrators, while the number of injured exceeds 20,000, including those who suffocated from teargas, according to unofficial statistics recorded by Iraqi civil society organisations. In addition, there are nearly 150 detainees, most of whom were arrested in the cities of Baghdad, Nasiriyah and Basra.
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Protesters, activists, journalists & aid workers attacked, kidnapped, killed, as protests escalate

Chile: Feminist anthem goes viral and sustained protests lead to referendum on a new constitution

Chileans have continued to mobilise since the protests against higher transportation tariffs in October 2019 grew into nationwide demonstrations, as reported previously by the Monitor. As protests extended into November 2019, calls built up for the creation of a constituent assembly to write a new constitution for Chile. Read more

Chile: Feminist anthem goes viral and sustained protests lead to referendum on a new constitution

NGOs raided by Israeli forces, news websites blocked

Palestinian human rights organisations which monitor Israeli occupation force violations and undertake international advocacy continue to face systematic attacks. Offices of various organisations have been raided. The use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters participating in the Great March of Return continues, despite being unlawful under international human rights and humanitarian laws. News websites face attack, after a court ordered internet service providers to block 59 websites. Read more

NGOs raided by Israeli forces, news websites blocked

Detention as a systemic tool of suppression

Civic space is constantly under threat in Egypt- with laws to restrict NGOs, the detention of human rights defenders and attempts to intimiate the media. Read more

Detention as a systemic tool of suppression