positive CS development

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

On 29th August 2020, hundreds of people demonstrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest pandemic safety measures which they say infringe on their personal rights. Read more

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

Austria civic space rating upgraded to open

Political gains made by the Green party and increasing dialogue between government and civil society has led to an improvement in civic space in Austria, prompting a ratings upgrade from narrowed to open. This ratings decision by the CIVICUS Monitor was taken following a thorough assessment of conditions in the country for the free exercise of civic freedoms, as protected by international law. In 2018 under the ÖVP-FPÖ (Peoples Party - Freedom Party Austria) coalition government, Austria was downgraded to narrow following a deterioration in civic space. However, the September 2019 election outcome has resulted in a positive change, as the far-right FPÖ party was replaced in the coalition by the Green party. The Green party has been more open to dialogue with CSOs, which presents the sector with the unique opportunity to make themselves heard again.
Read more

Austria civic space rating upgraded to open

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds

On 6th August 2020, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) published a statement condemning President Nayib Bukele and Salvadoran public officials’ threats against journalists and the press. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

On 29th July 2020, residents of Ciudad del Este and neighbouring towns mobilised to oppose the reinstatement of strict quarantine measures due to the region’s increasing COVID-19 infections. Read more

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

In July and August 2020, protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued across the country, often with violent clashes between militarised police and protesters. Read more

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

Same sex relations decriminalised; amended Penal Code denounced as 'repressive'

On 23rd June 2020, members of the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Penal Code, which also removed the provision that criminalised same sex relations. A year earlier, in July 2019, the Senate approved an amendment, in which same sex relations were considered as 'a violation of morals' and punishable with a prison sentence of six months and a fine of 5 million CFA francs (9,000 USD). Prior to July 2019, there was no law on same sex relations. Read more  |  Read in French

Same sex relations decriminalised; amended  Penal Code denounced as 'repressive'

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Madi Jobarteh was summoned for questioning on 30th June to the Kairaba police station in Serrekunda, in relation to statements he made in an interview during a Black Lives Matter protest he organised on 27th June 2020 in front of the US embassy. That same day, Jobarteh was charged with 'false information and broadcasting' under the Criminal Code, which is punishable with a prison sentence of six months to five years or a fine of 500 to 50,000 dalasis (9.6 to 960 USD), before being released on bail. Read more

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Dock workers have been struggling for many years at the hands of the owners of port facilities and there have been many attempts to hinder workers’ unions’ activities. In one attempt, FOZPOR, the company managing the port, failed in bringing charges against the president of SEAL (the dockers’ union), António Mariano, after the court of Coimbra in its pre-trial investigation found that there were no grounds for a trial. Thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against racism at the beginning of June 2020 and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In response to this, for the first time a considerable sized protest of far-right groups was staged three weeks later. Seara – Centro de Apoio Mútuo de Santa Bárbara, a mutual support centre in Lisbon faced eviction by private guards who were assisted by police. It is reported that the guards attacked and intimidated people who were protesting the eviction. Read more

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Civil dialogue continues, but no concrete support from government

There has been an active civil society dialogue with the government during the state of emergency, in particular due to the efforts of the NGO sector, and when discussing the demands and measures to be put in place to tackle the current situation. While Civic Alliance Latvia (CAL) has been working on pushing government’s actions to diminish the impact of COVID-19, it has not been successful in achieving concrete support measures for NGOs. In a concerning development, CSOs have noticed that during the emergency period authorities have become accustomed to addressing issues of public interest hastily, without undertaking public consultation as the best practice and regulation process entails.
Read more

Civil dialogue continues, but no concrete support from government

Photojournalist Christoff Griffith killed while covering a crime in Barbados

On 22nd June 2020, an assailant attacked and killed Christoff Griffith, a photojournalist working with The Nation newspaper. According to local news, Griffith responded to the report of a murder in an abandoned property in St Michel, southwest Barbados. Read more

Photojournalist Christoff Griffith killed while covering a crime in Barbados