minority groups

Honduras: Lenca and Garífuna leaders killed within two days

On 30th April 2022, human rights defender and Lenca Indigenous leader Justo Benítez Sánchez was shot and killed at his home in the San Isidro community, Santa Bárbara department. He was a renowned leader who defended land and water rights and had a key role in the resistance against a mining project that would affect the Gualcarque River. Separately, on 1st May 2022, Garífuna leader Alonso Salgado was killed in an attack at the house of another Garífuna leader, Zury Quintanilla, in Rio Tinto. Read more

Honduras: Lenca and Garífuna leaders killed within two days

Colombia: attacks on HRDs and journalists amid increasing violence

According to data from the Observatory of Human Rights, Conflict and Peace of the Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Paz (Institute for Development and Peace Studies - INDEPAZ), 59 social leaders and human rights defenders were killed between the beginning of 2022 and 19th April 2022. Read more

Colombia: attacks on HRDs and journalists amid increasing violence

Blogger faces lengthy prison sentence & risk of torture if forcibly returned to Kuwait

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) issued an appeal calling on the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina to grant Kuwaiti blogger Mesaed Al-Musaileem the right to move to a safe third country; Criminal Division of the Court of First Instance (Kulya Court) acquits the President of the Kuwait Association for Information Security, Dr Safaa Zaman, of broadcasting false news; Bedoon rights defenders began an open-ended hunger strike to demand civil and human rights for all Bedoon citizens; human rights defender Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli summoned by the Public Prosecution in Kuwait for the third time in one month, charged with defamation, Kuwaiti Constitutional Court overturns Article 198 of the Penal Code, which criminalised “imitation of the opposite sex”, Read more

Blogger faces lengthy prison sentence & risk of torture if forcibly returned to Kuwait

Assault on civic freedoms continue in Sri Lanka as an economic crisis hits the country

In recent months activists have been arrested or faced threats and intimidation from the authorities, while journalists have been attacked or faced harassment. The authorities also disrupted gatherings and protests in the North and North Eastern parts of the country. Read more

Assault on civic freedoms continue in Sri Lanka as an economic crisis hits the country

Honduras: Guapinol water defenders released after trial annulled by Supreme Court

On 27th January 2022, Xiomara Castro of the Libre party was sworn in as Honduras’ president. She took office amid a dispute with dissidents in her own party, who rebelled against her preferred choice for Congress leadership. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Honduras: Guapinol water defenders released after trial annulled by Supreme Court

Political dissident from Laos finds refuge as ethnic Hmong indigenous people remain at risk

In recent months the government has continued to repress its people, both inside the country and outside its borders. An exiled Lao dissident has sought refuge in Canada after he was arrested in Thailand and threatened with deportation. The Hmong community continued to face state-sponsored discrimination, amidst an increased push for foreign investments in the Xaysomboun region. December 2021 marked nine years since human rights defender Sombath Somphone was forcibly disappeared. Read more

Political dissident from Laos finds refuge as ethnic Hmong indigenous people remain at risk

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

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

The authorities have blocked access to foreign funding for NGOs using the restrictive Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and raided the offices of human rights groups for allegedly violating the law. There continues to be a lack of accountability on the use of the Pegasus spyware against activists, while human rights defenders and journalists continue to be targeted, including in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists and protesters also remain in detention on various trumped up charges. Read more

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

Increasing Twitter takedowns by Japan while teachers and Okinawans hold protests

In recent months there have been a high number of Twitter takedowns requested by the Japanese government and attempts through the courts to block a film on ‘comfort women’. There have also been protests by teachers’ unions and Okinawa residents against a US base. Read more

Increasing Twitter takedowns by Japan while teachers and Okinawans hold protests

Threats on civic freedoms continue as government attempts to evade accountability

In September 2021, the UK was added to the CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist due to a rapid decline in civic freedoms. Major concerns have been raised on the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which proposes to give police more power to crack down on protests and will have serious repercussions for minority groups, including Gypsy and Traveller communities, Black people and people of colour. Several other legislative developments, such as proposed changes to the Human Rights Act, the New Elections Bill and the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, threaten fundamental rights and democratic checks and balances, which aim to hold the government accountable. This reporting period was marked by a victory regarding the Policing bill, after the House of Lords voted down several problematic proposals. However, several other concerning parts of the bill, which severely threaten the right to protest, remain. Additionally, the government opened consultations to reform the Human Rights Act, which civil society says will diminish access to justice. Read more

Threats on civic freedoms continue as government attempts to evade accountability