Friday 3.7.2020 Taiwan - Latest Developments
In recent months there have been protests by migrant workers and migrant rights NGOs against poor working conditions. There were also protests linked to the Black Lives Matter movement highlighting discrimination against indigenous people. At the end of June 2020, one of the few Pride marches was held in Taiwan. The country dropped one place in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index in April 2020 Read more
Wednesday 24.6.2020 Morocco - Latest Developments
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.
Friday 19.6.2020 Panama - Latest Developments
According to news media, Panama’s Ministry of Public Security counted at least 57 demonstrations during the pandemic. These protests were mainly organised by people demanding emergency government aid. Read more
Monday 15.6.2020 Macedonia - Latest Developments
Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) induced economic crisis, the government decided to exclude CSOs from its economic assistance measures. In a separate development, on 18th May 2020 activists expressed outrage after the Constitutional Court struck down the Anti-Discrimination Law which was passed last year, citing procedural omission as a reason. During the pandemic the government made provision for media workers to have special permits to do field work even during the curfew hours, during which there is limited movement for the general public. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) called for better communication and transparency from government institutions and health centres during the pandemic.
Friday 5.6.2020 Hungary - Latest Developments
In early May 2020, US-based rights watchdog Freedom House in their "Nations in Transit" report said that Hungary experienced "the most precipitous" democratic decline ever tracked by the organisation. The so-called Authorisation Act was adopted on 30th March 2020 and introduced excessively wide powers without a sunset clause. The act has further exacerbated the deterioration of the rule of law and the state of democracy in Hungary.
In addition, the Hungarian parliament passed an amendment to the omnibus bill changing the Registry act to only recognise “sex at birth”, which was later signed into law by President Janos Ader. The new law makes the legal recognition of transgender and intersex persons impossible and will lead to further discrimination of these groups.
Attacks on freedom of expression continue as police detained two people for spreading pandemic-related fake news. While the prosecutors decided to drop their cases against the two individuals, it is likely that such developments will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. Read more
Friday 5.6.2020 Turkey - Latest Developments
As part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency measures, the Turkish government enacted strong general restrictions on assembly that especially relate to the work of CSOs. With a total ban on public gatherings, citizens have turned to online spaces for creative means of protest. During COVID-19 pandemic there was an increase in journalists being jailed on charges of “causing people to panic and publishing reports on coronavirus outside the knowledge of authorities”. Moreover, the Turkish government discriminated against journalists when it announced the release of approximately 90,000 prisoners in order to relieve overcrowded prisons during the pandemic, but excluded journalists, human rights defenders and all political prisoners. Read more
Wednesday 3.6.2020 South Korea - Latest Developments
Surveillance guidelines were revised in March 2020 after the National Human Rights Commission criticised the detailed logs of patient travels and contacts were made public. There have been increased reports of homophobia and online harassment of the LGBT+ community after LGBT+ friendly nightclubs were linked to the spread of the coronavirus. Anti-Chinese racism has also increased. Read more
Tuesday 2.6.2020 Kiribati - Latest Developments
In March 2020, Kiribati’s women’s rights record was reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Committee was concerned about their limited access to resources, which affects their capacity to independently promote, monitor, evaluate and advocate for the advancement of women’s rights. In Kiribati, LGBTI+ people are at risk if they have had to stay in lockdown during the pandemic with relatives who discriminate against and stigmatise them, a further burden on and threat to their mental and physical health. Read more
Wednesday 27.5.2020 Kyrgyzstan - Latest Developments
Emergency measures were introduced in Kyrgyzstan in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including a state of emergency in the capital Bishkek and several other cities and regions. These measures affected the protection of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. For several weeks, journalists were not accredited or granted special permission to move around in the capital and other areas where the state of emergency was in place, which prevented them from effectively carrying out their work. Lawyers were also not exempted from the restrictions on movement that applied, which obstructed their efforts to provide legal assistance to clients. Rallies, pickets and all other assemblies were fully banned during the state of emergency and social media users were detained, threatened with criminal prosecution and forced to “publicly apologise” for spreading alleged false information about the pandemic.
Tuesday 12.5.2020 Uganda - Latest Developments
General Henry Tumukunde, a former general planning to run for the presidency in Uganda, arrested, detained and charged for treason; Journalists beaten by security forces while covering COVID 19 curfew responses; Rights group calls on Ugandan government to ensure the right to an effective remedy for Dr. Stella Nyanzi for wrongful conviction; Uganda’s Constitutional Court rules that Sections of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) (2013) illegal and unconstitutional; LGBTIQ community stigmatised amid Coronavirus outbreak Read more