CSO closure

Crackdown on journalists continues, new restrictive regulations

Between April and June 2021, the situation of civil society in Belarus worsened. Authorities continued to pressure civil society organizations, suppressing freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The number of political prisoners has increased, with many of them receiving prison sentences. As of June 11, 476 persons in Belarus are considered political prisoners, reports Viasna Center. In addition, the authorities blocked several independent publications, and employees were charged with non-payment of taxes, organizing and engaging in unsanctioned activities or conspiracy against government authorities. Activists, representatives of opposition parties and human rights defenders were also detained. Among the organizations whose collaborators have been temporarily detained is the Viasna Center, which actively monitors respect for human freedoms in Belarus. Martha Rabkova, a human rights activist and coordinator of the Viasna Volunteer Service, was put on a preventive record in the pre-trial detention center as "prone to extremism". Read more

Crackdown on journalists continues, new restrictive regulations

CSOs and media publications in Russia face restriction

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included the online publication Meduza, registered in Latvia, and the First Anti-Corruption Media (PASMI), in the register of media performing the functions of a foreign agent. That means that the publications have lost almost all their income. According to the Russian media, the Russian Ministry of Justice informed that Meduza meets all the law criteria on foreign agents. These criterions are: registering a publisher in a foreign jurisdiction, receiving funding from abroad and disseminating information in Russia, and that unnamed government authorities have confirmed foreign funding for Meduza. Read more

CSOs and media publications in Russia face restriction

Concerns over proposed constitutional amendment which seeks to limit LGBTI rights

In December 2020, the Constitutional Court of Latvia granted ‘paternity’ leave to the female partner of a woman. This comes after the partner had been refused leave due to not being the biological father of the child. In deciding to grant the leave, the Constitutional Court acknowledged that under Article 110, which obliges the legislator to ensure protection for all families (regardless of marriage), the partner was entitled to leave. This Constitutional Court’s decision sparked a move by the far right-wing National Union Party to submit an amendment to article 110 to constitutionally strengthen the concept of family as a union between a man and a woman. Minister for Welfare Ramona Petraviča also expressed opposition to the decision of the Constitutional Court Read more

Concerns over proposed constitutional amendment which seeks to limit LGBTI rights

Government expropriates civil society and media facilities

During the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report on Nicaragua saying that, when attempting to express their political opinions and defend human rights, people in the country are subjected to “constant, illegitimate and serious restrictions on their rights and freedoms”. Read more

Government expropriates civil society and media facilities

Worsening crackdown on civic space by Macron’s government to preserve ‘republican values’

French authorities have cracked down on civil society organisations (CSOs) accused of opposing the ‘Republican order’ and being ‘radical Islamists’. CSOs have also been under attack from extreme right and mainstream political forces, who have expressed stigmatising views towards Muslims and Muslim organisations. Following this, the French government led several initiatives which threatened civic space and the rule of law in France, which includes the draft Anti-Separatism law and the draft bill on Global Security. Objectors to the draft law on Global Security have maintained ongoing protests . The most controversial protest occurred in Paris, where organisers noted that police officers blocked access to the protest, refused to reveal their identification numbers and assaulted participants. There have been over 13,000 arrests in relation to these protests thus far.

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Worsening crackdown on civic space by Macron’s government to preserve ‘republican values’

CoI mandate extended; Iwacu four are released

the HRC extended the CoI’s mandate for 12 months; Burundian MP Fabien Banciryanino, a vocal critic of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza, detained for an alleged attempt to overthrow the government; former president Pierre Buyoya was given a life sentence for his part in the assassination of his successor Melchior Ndadaye, dies from COVID19 before starting his sentence; Amnesty International called for the unconditional release of Germain Rukuki; Burundian government informs the UN Secretary-General that the office of the UN Special Envoy to Burundi would close by the end of 2020; Imprisoned Iwacu journalists released after pardon Read more

CoI mandate extended; Iwacu four are released

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

In September 2020, the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 was adopted which would impose further restrictions on civil society. In October 2020, Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy was the latest activist to be arrested under the UAPA while the health of detained poet and social activist Varavara Rao continues to deteriorate. Also, in October, raids were conducted on human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and newspapers in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. Journalists and human rights lawyers continue to be targeted for exercising their freedom of speech while student activists and protesters remain in jail for their activism. Farmers continue to protest against new farm laws. Read more

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

Rights groups concerned at violation of migrant workers’ association rights, COVID-19 tracing apps

Human Rights Watch published a damning report on Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, including its failure to protect workers from wage abuses, denial of their rights to form unions and failure to abolish the kafala system; Invasive COVID-19 contact tracing apps which launched, according to Amnesty International, pose a serious risk to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly due to the compromising of users’ digital privacy and security; Read more

Rights groups concerned at violation of migrant workers’ association rights, COVID-19 tracing apps

Activist groups working on North Korea facing intimidation while government restricts protests

There are serious concerns that the South Korean authorities are intimidating activist groups that work on human rights issues in North Korea, with two organisations having their registration revoked while over 200 are facing reviews and inspections. The authorities also attempted to restrict protests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two protest organisers have been charged. Read more

Activist groups working on North Korea facing intimidation while government restricts protests

More restrictions reported ahead of October election

Offices of leading opposition party CHADEMA, in Arusha, attacked with firebombs and badly damaged; Tanzanian Human Rights Defenders Coalition's (THRDC) bank accounts frozen following an order from authorities; Read more

More restrictions reported ahead of October election