minority groups

China continues Hong Kong crackdown, persecution of activists and journalists for their reporting

In recent months, the authorities have continued the crackdown on activists in Hong Kong with mass arrests of the opposition and activists, charging individuals under the draconian National Security Law and jailing pro-democracy activists, including Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam. The ‘Hong Kong 12’ youth activists were also convicted in an unfair trial. There has also been a lack of accountability for police violence during 2019 protests. On the mainland, activists and journalists have been arrested, while Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer and citizen journalist was sentenced to four years in jail for her reporting on Wuhan. Human rights groups reported that a big data program for policing in China’s Xinjiang region arbitrarily selects Turkic Muslims for possible detention
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China continues Hong Kong crackdown, persecution of activists and journalists for their reporting

Canada: protests against COVID-19 restrictions as country struggles with new wave of infections

On 7th November 2020, about 2,000 people demonstrated in Aylmer, Ontario, to express their opposition to facial coverings and social distancing rules implemented by the provincial and federal governments in response to COVID-19. Read more

Canada: protests against COVID-19 restrictions as country struggles with new wave of infections

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

Election drives people to the streets in the US

Protests swept across the United States as people waited for the results of the 3rd November 2020 election, which had the highest voter turnout in over a hundred years. Read more

Election drives people to the streets in the US

Censorship, discrimination raises questions about fairness of Myanmar elections

Ahead of the elections, human rights groups have continued to document restrictions to civic and political freedoms and called the polls “fundamentally flawed”. The violations documented include censorship of opposition parties, the serious impact on the ability of voters in areas where there has been an internet shutdown and restrictions on journalists due to the pandemic. Further, the discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law and the Election Law have been used to disenfranchise Rohingya and other opposition candidates to prevent them from running for office, while voting has been cancelled in various regions. Read more

Censorship, discrimination raises questions about fairness of Myanmar elections

Honduras: land rights defender Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo and journalist Luis Almendares killed

On 13th October 2020, land and water rights defender Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo was shot and killed in Tocoa, Colón department. Read more

Honduras: land rights defender Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo and journalist Luis Almendares killed

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

According to the international NGO Freedom House 2020 report Bhutan has made significant strides toward becoming a consolidated democracy, has held multiple credible elections and undergone transfers of power to opposition parties. However, ongoing problems include discrimination against Nepali-speaking and non-Buddhist minorities, media self-censorship and, increasingly, the use of libel and defamation cases to silence journalists. Read more

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

Despite re-election to Human Rights Council, civic space concerns persist in Nepal

In recent months, there have been further attempts by the authorities to impose new restrictions on the internet and the media. Civil society has raised concerns at the judicial harassment of a journalist and the death of another senior journalist. There have been protests by Dalits against the discrimination and violence they face and against Chinese encroachment. There were allegations of ill-treatment of a health activist, while the Chepang Indigenous peoples are facing eviction. Read more

Despite re-election to Human Rights Council, civic space concerns persist in Nepal

Protests against systemic racism continue despite flagrant attacks on civil liberties

At the end of August 2020, the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer sparked further outrage and led to several nights of protests in Kenosha, where the shooting took place, and other cities. Read more

Protests against systemic racism continue despite flagrant attacks on civil liberties