negative court ruling

Funding cuts and no economic assistance for CSOs during COVID-19

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.
Read more

Funding cuts and no economic assistance for CSOs during COVID-19

Election period sees clampdown on freedoms; Outgoing president Nkurunziza dies suddenly

Ahead of the May 2020 elections,United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi launches an appeal to the international community to join forces to encourage the Burundian Government to reopen the democratic, civil and political space in the country; Opposition face hurdles and attacks ahead of elections; internet restrictions experienced on election day; while journalists and HRDs face prosecution for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression Read more  |  Read in French

Election period sees clampdown on freedoms; Outgoing president Nkurunziza dies suddenly

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Cuban news media, social movements and human rights organisations have denounced that the government has continued to crackdown on dissent, repress freedoms and silence critical voices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, there have been several reports of activists and journalists being detained or harassed, particularly through police citations, summons and interrogations. At least 30 people have been subjected to harassment from state actors under Decree 370, which has been used to supress freedom of expression in the country. Read more

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Denialism of COVID-19 pandemic and continuous threats to freedom of expression

The reporting period was marked by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, this was denied by the Tajikistani authorities despite the alarming increase in deaths of patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 throughout March and April 2020. Doctors faced harassment and intimidation as officials urged them not to refer patients for testing. The first cases of COVID-19 were only officially announced on 30th April 2020, when a World Health Organisation (WHO) delegation travelled to the country to investigate the health crisis. Attacks on freedom of expression continued with independent journalist Daler Sharipov sentenced to one year’s imprisonment on what is widely regarded as politically motivated charges. The blocking and disabling of websites, social media platforms and internet messages and the temporary blocking of internet access continued to be part of the authorities’ strategy to silence critical voices. By the end of April 2020, the websites of Asia Plus, Akhbor.com and Radio Ozodi were blocked.
Read more

Denialism of COVID-19 pandemic and continuous threats to freedom of expression

Police brutality a continuing crisis in Kenya

Report by Human Rights Watch shows that Kenyan police continue to kill crime suspects and protesters in cold blood; High Court dismisses petition by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) which challenged the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act 2018; Kenyan National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee rejected a bill that sought to restrict to five days the right to strike for workers who provide essential services; at least one person was killed and dozens injured when demonstrators clashed with police in Kasarani district, north-east of Nairobi in January Read more

Police brutality a continuing crisis in Kenya

Declining health of convicted HRD concerns family members and human rights organisations

On 30th April 2020, Karla Vanessa Escobar and Wilfredo Brenes Domínguez, two former political prisoners, were detained and charged with alleged drug and arms possession. Read more

Declining health of convicted HRD concerns family members and human rights organisations

Civic space concerns reinforced by COVID-19 response

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.
Read more

Civic space concerns reinforced by COVID-19 response

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

China silences reporting on COVID-19, expands surveillance and arrests Hong Kong protest leaders

The Chinese Communist Party has continued to censor reporting about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and targeted journalists, doctors, activists, academics and critics in order to control the narrative. The coronavirus is also being used as a pretext for accelerating mass surveillance across the country. In Hong Kong, the authorities arrested 15 pro-democracy politicians and activists in April 2020, were accused of torture or ill-treatment of protesters and expelled US journalists. Human rights groups also reported on the use of an app to conduct mass surveillance by the Chinese government on Uighur and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province. Read more

China silences reporting on COVID-19, expands surveillance and arrests Hong Kong protest leaders

HRDs, journalists face a sustained campaign of interrogation and detention

Fourth Circuit Criminal Court issued rulings against 16 Bedoon human rights defenders; Online activists and journalists have been subjected to a sustained campaign of interrogation and detention for exercising their right to freedom of expression online, and those who campaign for the rights of the Bedoon community have been imprisoned and deported; Read more

HRDs, journalists face a sustained campaign of interrogation and detention