restrictive law

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 and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Civic space continues to be rated as ‘closed’ in the CIVICUS Monitor’s latest report issued in December 2020. Over the last few months, the authorities have continued to push for online media sources to be registered. There has been a rare online criticism of the government inspired by the mass protests in Thailand while a political prisoner, Sangkhane Phachanthavong has been released on bail. The UN has raised concerns about state-sponsored persecution of the ChaoFa Hmong community. Read more

Rights groups and the UN continue to press Laos where civic space remains ‘closed’

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

On 15th October 2020, Nicaragua’s lawmakers approved the “Foreign Agents Law” which expands government powers to control and muzzle civil society. Read more

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

New COVID-19 measures limit freedom of assembly

On 24th November 2020, new COVID-19 measures came into force for at least four weeks, prohibiting public gatherings of more than eight persons. This law includes protests and demonstrations. Whereas many other European countries have provided exceptions to protect the freedom to demonstrate, the Swedish government has opted not to do so, thus severely limiting the freedom of peaceful assembly. Read more

New COVID-19 measures limit freedom of assembly

Unabated attacks on LGBTI rights amid the pandemic

Minutes before the new COVID-19 restrictions came into effect amid the second wave, the government proposed a draft amendment to the constitution. In particular, two changes will reinforce institutionalised homophobia and transphobia. A sentence will be added to Article L and will define that: “the mother is a woman; the father is a man”. The second change, Article XVI (1) will include the provision that: “Hungary protects children’s rights to their identity in line with their birth sex, and the right to education according to our country’s constitutional identity and system of values based on Christian culture”. In addition, draft amendments to the Civil Code and the Child Protection Act were also submitted. If the relevant amendments pass, single parents will be able to adopt only under special circumstances and their adoption must be approved by the minister of family. Added to this, the Justice Committee of the Hungarian Parliament presented legislation that would abolish the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA), a body which has been successful in addressing discrimination against the LGBTI community, with the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights absorbing its activities, in order to provide a more efficient institutional structure. Experts say that it is no coincidence that the proposed legislative changes came at the same time that physical, public gatherings and demonstrations became prohibited in Hungary.


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Unabated attacks on LGBTI rights amid the pandemic

NGOs call on authorities to end persecution of activists

In September 2020, 31 organisations called on the Algerian authorities to end their ongoing and accelerated persecution of activists, critical voices, and independent journalists. The statement came out ahead of the 1 November constitutional referendum and also in regards to worrisome COVID-related restrictions on civil and political freedoms. Read more

NGOs call on authorities to end persecution of activists

Police use excessive force on protesters

Since the most recent Monitor update of October 2019, Sudan has experienced frequent protests, with thousands gathering to demand change, especially in regards to socio-economic conditions and the lack of political reforms in the country.
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Police use excessive force on protesters

Thai authorities use excessive force, lese-majeste laws to clamp down on pro-democracy protests

There have been ongoing pro-democracy protests in Thailand demanding the dissolution of Thailand’s military-backed government led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the drafting of a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists and government critics. Over the last month, the authorities have continued to attempt to suppress the protests by using excessive force and blocking public spaces, charging protest leaders for lese-majeste, targeting student protesters and using disinformation tactics
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Thai authorities use excessive force, lese-majeste laws to clamp down on pro-democracy protests

Right-wing government coalition attacks LGBTI rights

The Estonian Conservative National Party (EKRE), the populist right-wing party, part of the government coalition, wants to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the Estonian Constitution and is proposing to hold a referendum on the matter during the country’s municipal elections in October 2021. Mart Helme, Estonia’s current interior minister and one of the leaders of the governing populist Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), attacked LGBTI individuals during a media interview. Estonia's LGBTI community has been the target of attacks in the city of Pärnu since Helme’s declarations. At first, people attending the screening of a film were insulted and filmed and then an LGBTI outreach protest was disrupted by counter-protesters wearing masks. The local branch of the far-right EKRE party organised the demonstrations. Approximately 250 to 300 people gathered at Tallinn’s Freedom Square on 18th October in protest against a referendum on the definition of marriage, proposed by EKRE.


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Right-wing government coalition attacks LGBTI rights

Cuban rapper Denis Solís of Movimiento San Isidro imprisoned; several artists on hunger strike

85 civil society organisations expressed their concern at Cuba’s re-election to a fifth term on the UN Human Rights Council on 13th October 2020. For the organisations, this not only rewards Cuba’s poor human rights record, but it also undermines the integrity of the Council to hold abusive governments accountable for their actions in the region and across the globe. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Cuban rapper Denis Solís of Movimiento San Isidro imprisoned; several artists on hunger strike