journalist detained

Fear and self-censorship in Cuba following mass anti-government protests

After anti-government protests flared up across Cuba on 11th July 2021, rights group Cubalex reported that over 500 people had been detained or were reported missing in the context of the demonstrations. Read more

Fear and self-censorship in Cuba following mass anti-government protests

Flawed elections and deterioration of media freedom

On 11th June 2021, ahead of the HRC47, a group of NGOs led by DefendDefenders wrote a letter urging the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on the ongoing human rights crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia. The letter urged the HRC to “take urgent action to address the crisis and fulfil its mandate to address and prevent violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations and abuses, and to respond promptly to emergencies.”. On 21st June 2021, Ethiopia held its general elections amidst the conflict in Tigray and other regions including the Benishangul-Gumuz region. Officials announced that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had won 410 out of 436 seats on 10th July 2021. International observers and political opposition groups claimed the elections were undemocratic and unfair. On 26th June 2021, five opposition parties that took part in the election alleged that the ruling party had interfered with the general elections. The European Union did not send observers, and the United States criticised the electoral process, claiming it had too many obstacles for it to be perceived as credible. Multiple opposition parties boycotted the elections, as previously reported by the Monitor, and 18 percent of parliamentary seats from the Tigray, Somali, Harari, Afar,and Benishangul-Gumuz regions did not vote. Read more

Flawed elections and deterioration of media freedom

Attack on freedom of expression and 44 people arrested for attending LGBTQI engagement

The Constitutional Court delivered a judgement on 2nd July 2021 that stopped the military court from trying civilian suspects. The ruling deems it unconstitutional for civilians to be tried in the military court if they are not subject to the military system. The court ordered the transfer to the civil court of all civilian cases being tried in the military court, and for the transfer of all persons serving a sentence imposed by the military court to the High Court Criminal Division for retrial. On 15th July 2021, the Supreme Court granted an interim order suspending the implementation of the Constitutional Court order. The Supreme Court will decide on the case on 29th July 2021, when the temporary order lapses. Read more

Attack on freedom of expression and 44 people arrested for attending LGBTQI engagement

US Supreme Court issues rulings on freedom of expression and association

On 1st July 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s law requiring non-profits to identify their large donors with the state. By a vote of 6-3, the court ruled that the law subjected donors to potential harassment, chilling their speech in violation of the First Amendment. Read more

US Supreme Court issues rulings on freedom of expression and association

Protests persist across Myanmar despite ongoing arrests, torture and killings by junta

Over the last month, the junta has targeted artists, medical workers, lawyers, journalists, LGBTIQ activists and their families, youths and others. Some have been sentenced for ‘incitement’ (Section 505a) and ‘unlawful assembly’ (Section 145) and murder, while others have been tortured or killed by the junta with impunity. An investigation by the rights group Global Witness found that Facebook is promoting content that incites violence against Myanmar’s coup protesters and amplifies junta misinformation. Read more

Protests persist across Myanmar despite ongoing arrests, torture and killings by junta

Civil society alarmed by rise of lese majeste cases and proposed NGO law in Thailand

In recent months civil society have continued to raise concerns about charges against activists for lèse-majesté or insulting the monarchy including children, restrictions to freedom of expression online and attempts to restrict freedom of information. There are also concerns around a proposed NGO law which could be used to muzzle civil society and the use of excessive force during protests. A land rights activist was also killed. Read more

Civil society alarmed by rise of lese majeste cases and proposed NGO law in Thailand

Widespread anti-government protests across Cuba

On 11th July 2021, thousands of people joined spontaneous anti-government protests in at least 20 cities across Cuba. News outlets reported that these were the largest demonstrations seen in the country in decades. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Widespread anti-government protests across Cuba

Poetry and protestors under attack in Kuwait

Despite the fact that Article 36 of the Kuwaiti Constitution guarantees freedom of expression for every person in the country, regardless of their nationality, a 25-year-old Jordanian expatriate, Abdullah Mohammed Jbara, received a deportation order in retaliation for his participation in a peaceful sit-in protest in Al-Erada Square on 20th June 2021. On 4th July 2021, Jbara was deported to his home country, Jordan, following an order of the Minister of Interior. Read more

Poetry and protestors under attack in Kuwait

Persecution of activists and journalists continues following rubber stamp elections in Vietnam

In recent months, the authorities have arrested a prominent human rights defender Nguyen Thuy Hanh who raised funds for the families of jailed prisoners of conscience, a book distributor Nguyen Bao Tien and a Khmer Krom activist. Land rights activist Can Thi Theu and her son have been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. Journalists have continued to be targeted by the authorities including Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu who has been jailed for eight years. Individuals have also been criminalised in recent months for their social media posts. Read more

Persecution of activists and journalists continues following rubber stamp elections in Vietnam

Conviction of perpetrators in the killings of journalists Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez

On 8th June 2021, a federal judge in Culiacán, Sinaloa, convicted Juan Francisco Picos Barrueta, known as “El Quillo,” for his role in the murder of journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas in 2017. Read more

Conviction of perpetrators in the killings of journalists Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez