HRD acquitted

“I am not safe here”: Women’s rights activists under attack for work on abortion rights

As reported previously, protests have been ongoing since October 2020 when the Constitutional Tribunal (CT) ruled to impose a near-total ban on abortion. In the latest developments in relation to this, womens' rights activists and organisation's advocating for the right to abortion, including the Polish Womens Strike, have been facing violent threats. Threats ranged from bomb threats to death threats sent via email. Messages include “Do you support abortion? Wait, you are about to die!” or “You have five days left”. The senders are alleged to be religious fundamentalists defending “true Catholic values”. In addition, a massive anonymous anti-abortion billboard campaign against women’s rights activists was seen across Poland. In relation to Poland's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, Sejm voted to send the citizens' initiative bill to the parliamentary committee on justice, human rights and foreign affairs for further review. However, leaked government documents expose the government’s plans to replace the Istanbul Convention with an alternative convention which bans abortion and homosexual marriage. Meanwhile independent media and journalists remain under threat. Read more

“I am not safe here”: Women’s rights activists under attack for work on abortion rights

2020 elections marred with gross irregularities spark growing concern for civic space in Tanzania

Tanzania’s general elections took place on 28th October 2020. Incumbent President John Pombe Magufuli claimed a landslide victory with a reported 84% of the vote in the presidential election. In the run-up to the elections, the fairness of the electoral process was repeatedly questioned by national and international observers, who pointed to an uneven playing field between the ruling CCM party and opposition parties. Several violations to civic space were documented in the lead up to, during and after the elections. Read more

2020 elections marred with gross irregularities spark growing concern for civic space in Tanzania

Increasing civic space restrictions months ahead of presidential poll

On 4th February 2021, authorities issued a ban on protests across the country, citing fears of public disorder. The ban followed a call by a coalition of opposition parties, human rights organisations and civil society organisations to mobilise on 6th February 2021 to protest against president Idriss Déby running for a sixth term in the upcoming April 2021 elections. On 6th February 2021, more than 100 people were arrested throughout the country. Read more  |  Read in French

Increasing civic space restrictions months ahead of presidential poll

Rights groups: increase in violations in 2020

Rights organisations have raised concern at the increase of human rights violations in the country in 2020. In its annual report, titled 'The return of the predators' and published on 2nd November 2020, Congolese press freedom organisation Journaliste en Danger (JED) said they had documented 116 press freedom violations, up from 85 the previous year. The majority of violations, which includes one journalist killed and tens of journalists detained, were perpetrated by state actors (authorities and security forces), followed by members and supporters of political parties and armed groups. Read more  |  Read in French

Rights groups: increase in violations in 2020

Controversial presidential elections: at least 21 killed in post electoral protests and violence

Controversial and disputed presidential elections took place in Guinea on 18th October 2020, after a constitutional referendum in March 2020 and a new Constitution, allowing incumbent president Alpha Condé run for a third term Read more  |  Read in French

Controversial presidential elections: at least 21 killed in post electoral protests and violence

Upheaval in Peru as president removed

On 9th November 2020, president Martín Vizcarra was removed from office by Peru’s Congress over corruption allegations. Lawmakers voted 105-19 in favour of Vizcarra’s impeachment on the basis of a controversial “moral incapacitation” clause in the country’s legislation, which is set to be evaluated by the Constitutional Court. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Upheaval in Peru as president removed

Journalists under constant attack; four journalists sentenced to death after grossly unfair trial

The Specialised Criminal Court in Sana'a sentences four journalists (Akram Al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri) to death and six others to jail terms; Security forces in Marib Governorate released photojournalist Radwan Al-Hashedi, after he was arrested on 8th July 2020 upon arrival at Sayyun Airport; 30 people who were tried for expressing their opinions on issues of public interest and for their criticism of the de facto Houthi government sentenced to death while 6 are acquitted Read more

Journalists under constant attack; four journalists sentenced to death after grossly unfair trial

Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

There have been recent debates about Turkey’s withdrawal from what is commonly known as İstanbul Convention, formally the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. Experts say that this decision is related to Turkey’s “inability to accept gender equality”. This news comes at a time when Turkey faces even more violence against women due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, digital violence as a form of harassment against women has become more present. The government’s intention to withdraw from the Convention has sparked protests, which saw a number of protesters being detained. In a separate development, lawyers protested a proposed bill that would "split bar associations" and silence critical institutions. Despite protests, parliament has passed the contested law. In addition, parliament also passed the social media bill which aims to further stifle freedom of expression on social media in Turkey.
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Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Madi Jobarteh was summoned for questioning on 30th June to the Kairaba police station in Serrekunda, in relation to statements he made in an interview during a Black Lives Matter protest he organised on 27th June 2020 in front of the US embassy. That same day, Jobarteh was charged with 'false information and broadcasting' under the Criminal Code, which is punishable with a prison sentence of six months to five years or a fine of 500 to 50,000 dalasis (9.6 to 960 USD), before being released on bail. Read more

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Journalist Samira Sabou acquitted, one HRD released while three others linger in prison

Judicial police in Niamey summoned editor and founder of the newspaper Le Courrier Ali Soumana for questioning on 12th July 2020, on accusations of 'writing and publishing false information'. The accusations relate to an article he published a day earlier, on 11th July 2020, and widely shared on social media, in which he alleges that sources indicated that companies implicated in the corruption scandal in the procurement of military equipment, in which companies overcharged the Ministry of Defence, were renegotiating repayment to avoid legal action against them. Read more  |  Read in French

Journalist Samira Sabou acquitted, one HRD released while three others linger in prison