political interference

Wave of protests prompts growing pressure on activists as government continues COVID-19 denial

During the period covered by this update, the government continued to insist that Turkmenistan was a COVID-19 free country, although reports from independent sources pointed to an increase in the outbreak of COVID-19, with hospitals being strained by the influx of people with acute respiratory conditions and a growing number of deaths due to such conditions. The authorities put pressure on doctors to participate in covering up the COVID-19 outbreak and intimidated medical professionals who raised concerns about the lack of adequate resources for the diagnosis and treatment of people with acute respiratory conditions. The authorities stepped up preventive measures in connection with a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission to the country in July 2020. The WHO mission called on the authorities to act as if COVID-19 had begun to spread in the country. However, the experts stopped short of stating that the COVID-19 pandemic was already affecting the country. In a separate development, Turkmenistani citizens living abroad staged a series of peaceful protests against the policies of Turkmenistan’s government, in particular its failure to adequately respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and the devastating hurricane that struck the country in April 2020. The wave of anti-government protests and growing expressions of discontent with the government on social media prompted the Turkmenistani authorities to step up pressure on critical voices. Activists based abroad faced intimidation and harassment both directly and indirectly through their relatives in Turkmenistan. Read more

Wave of protests prompts growing pressure on activists as government continues COVID-19 denial

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Even as coronavirus cases increased in Brazil, President Bolsonaro and government authorities encouraged and attended pro-government demonstrations between April and July 2020. In many cases, protests by government supporters turned anti-democratic, with signs calling for a military coup, the closure of the National Congress and the dissolution of the Federal Supreme Court. Read more

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Mass protests follow disputed election results

Protests erupt across the country over disputed results; denounce electoral irregularities; Opposition candidates intimidated after results announcement; Workers down tools to protest disputed results and brutality; Internet and websites blocked; Journalists assaulted, detained; Journalists quit jobs to protest brutality and censorship Read more

Mass protests follow disputed election results

Venezuela stifles dissent with political interference in opposition parties and detentions

At the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, presented a new report on the situation in Venezuela between June 2019 and May 2020. Read more

Venezuela stifles dissent with political interference in opposition parties and detentions

New hope for Malawi after sustained protests

Following the court’s nullification of the May 2019 election results on 3rd March 2020, authorities under president Peter Mutharika’s regime embarked on a crackdown of dissenters, critics and the judiciary as the rerun, slated for 23rd June 2020 approached. , the NGO Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs began developing reporting regulations for NGOs. Read more

New hope for Malawi after sustained protests

Opposition candidates and supporters persecuted, detained ahead of elections

Presidential candidates and opposition protesters arrested and detained, Journalists attacked an arrested while covering protests Read more

Opposition candidates and supporters persecuted, detained ahead of elections

Draft law seeks to reduce funding to CSOs; PM attacks CSOs during pandemic

The Communist Party (KSČM) proposed an amendment to a law, which seeks to dramatically reduce the financing of associations and civic initiatives from the state budget. According to the bill, only beneficiaries that contribute to the fulfillment of state policy objectives will be provided with subsidies. In addition, Czech NGOs have also come under fire by Prime Minister Babiš, who has directly attacked civil society organisations (CSOs) as incompetent and inactive during the pandemic. The Million Moments for Democracy-led demonstrations against the Babiš government have continued. A resolution by the European Parliament, issued in June 2020, which called on the Czech Prime Minister to step down or to remove all activities that pose a conflict of interest, was widely supported by citizens.

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Draft law seeks to reduce funding to CSOs; PM attacks CSOs during pandemic

Bolivian Ombudsperson accused of political bias by government

On 13th July 2020, Bolivia’s interim government published a statement claiming Ombudsperson Nadia Cruz was occupying this office illegally and that, as a result, they would not recognise any actions undertaken by her after April 2019. Read more

Bolivian Ombudsperson accused of political bias by government

Critics detained for COVID-19 related remarks

Civic activists, opposition leaders and journalist under attack amid COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli released from detention, Azeri activist detained for a Facebook post one day after release from psychiatric clinic , Azeri activist detained for demonstrating police brutality on social media, March for women rights ends with police violence, Student protest ends with arrests, Protesters, journalists beaten during protest in Baku, Civil society publishes report highlighting challenges faced by NGOs and issues recommendations, Read more

Critics detained for COVID-19 related remarks

Military forced to admit that journalist Samuel Wazizi died in custody, 10 months after his death

Under pressure from civil society groups following a news story by private television station Équinoxe Télévision, the Cameroonian military admitted in a statement read on the radio on 5th June 2020 that journalist Samuel Abuwe Ajieka, also known as Samuel Wazizi, had died on 17th August 2019 while he was in custody. Wazizi was arrested on 2nd August 2019, was never presented before a court, nor were his relatives or his lawyer informed of his whereabouts during the ten months since his arrest. The circumstances of Wazizi's death are unclear and disputed. Read more

Military forced to admit that journalist Samuel Wazizi died in custody, 10 months after his death