political interference

Ongoing violations on civic freedoms at Poland/Belarus border; further threats to LGBTQI+ rights

On 1st December 2021, the one-month-long state of emergency introduced in September 2021 along the Polish-Belarusian border expired after having been extended for a further 60 days. Following this, the Polish government installed several replacement measures which maintained restrictions on access to the area of the Poland-Belarus border. There have been concerning civic space developments as a result of the border situation. A police raid was carried out to investigate the activities of a humanitarian aid group, the Club of Catholic Intelligentsia, operating near the border. On 15th December 2021, four of their volunteers were interviewed by the police and the group’s phones and laptops were confiscated. Additionally, journalists reporting on the border crisis continue to face arbitrary detentions. New regulations which came into effect state that the local Border Guard Commander has the right to arbitrarily select media workers admitted to the border zone, who will be granted a permit. The regulations in effect raised international concern over transparency and the respect of human rights and media freedom. Additionally, the government has continued to attack LGBTQI+ rights through restrictive legislation. Read more

Ongoing violations on civic freedoms at Poland/Belarus border; further threats to LGBTQI+ rights

Independence of RTV Slovenija under threat; culture and environmental CSOs face funding cuts

Attempts to curtail the work of civil society continue, with harsh funding cuts in the state budget for cultural and environmental CSOs. Additionally, the second draft of the De-Bureaucratisation law further threatens funding for cultural CSOs. A decision is expected in the next few months for NGOs, based in Metelkova who face eviction. The court procedure has been introduced separately for each organisation with slightly different dynamics, resulting in significant legal costs to NGOs. Meanwhile, the Slovenian Press Agency has signed a financial deal with UKOM on public service in 2021 thus securing funds, but journalists remain concerned over the future and independence of the agency. In a concerning development, several editors at RTV Slovenia resigned in protest against its production plan for 2022 which will erode editorial autonomy.

Read more

Independence of RTV Slovenija under threat; culture and environmental CSOs face funding cuts

Peaceful Assembly under attack: Policing bill proposes up to 51 weeks’ jail time for protesting

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 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. During this reporting period the government continued its attack on fundamental rights by continuing to push through restrictive legislative reforms, despite concerns raised. Additionally, new additions to the Policing Bill are a “staggering attack” on the right to peaceful assembly. Read more

Peaceful Assembly under attack: Policing bill proposes up to 51 weeks’ jail time for protesting

Government cements further power over media; effects of anti-LGBTQI law seen

There have been concerning developments on media freedom. In October 2021), Mónika Karas, President of the National Media and Communications Authority (NHHH) and its Media Council resigned from her position. Karas was appointed in 2013 for a nine-year term. Under Karas’s leadership, the regulatory bodies have contributed to systematic declines in media freedom and the steady silencing of critical voices. . Karas’s early resignation opened the door for the ruling populist right-wing Fidesz party to decide on a new president for the next nine years before the upcoming general elections, thereby consolidating their power over a strategically important territory. There have been further concerning developments on LGBTQI+ rights. Several conquences have been documented as a result of the new anti-LGBTQI+ law: such as the censoring of a LGBTQI+ film and book. Additionally, the law has had a chilling effect: CSO's working on human rights have been denied access to schools while teachers and psychologists have to self-censor. Read more

Government cements further power over media; effects of anti-LGBTQI law seen

systematic crackdown on dissent continues

Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of the country's main opposition party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Swahili for Party of Democracy and Progress) popularly known as Chadema, appeared in the High Court charged with terrorism-related and economic crimes; police officers arrest and detain women members of Chadema while they were jogging; cartoonist, Opptertus John Fwema, arrested at his home; police officers arrest and detain Harlod Shemsanga, a journalist at the YouTube based Mgawe TV, while covering the above-mentioned jogging event by women members of Chadema Read more

systematic crackdown on dissent continues

New proposals for restrictive #PolicingBill aim to curb protests further

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 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. During this period, there were concerning proposals by Home Secretary Priti Patel, which aim to further crackdown on the right to protest. Read more

New proposals for restrictive #PolicingBill aim to curb protests  further

Students, youth, lead calls for democracy in Eswatini

Pro democracy protests continue in Eswatini as police use excessive force; Internet shut down amid the protests; Read more

Students, youth, lead calls for democracy in Eswatini

Reprisals against activists for 2020 protests unabating

Activist declared a terrorist in Belarus; Activist found dead in Kyiv; Number of political prisoners in Belarus steadily increasing; Read more

Reprisals against activists for 2020 protests unabating

Guatemalan civic space continues to shrink during Giammattei’s government

On 23rd July 2021, Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras removed the country’s lead anti-corruption prosecutor, Juan Francisco Sandoval, from his position as head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI). Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Guatemalan civic space continues to shrink during Giammattei’s government

Attacks, pressure on dissent and opposition unrelenting

Members of the country’s main opposition party, Chadema, arrested just hours ahead of planned conference in Mwanza; Authorities in Mwanza ban “unnecessary gatherings” as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, a day before the Chadema party’s planned conference; protesters demanding the release of Chadema party leader arrested; publication and distribution of Raia Mwema, a weekly tabloid, suspended for 30 days Read more

Attacks, pressure on dissent and opposition unrelenting