journalist detained

Police protection for WHRD after escalating threats; press freedom concerns at Poland/Belarus border

On 7th October 2021, the government controlled Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the Polish constitution trumps EU law, sparking concerns of a “Polexit” (Poland's exit from the EU). The decisions led to massive Pro-EU protests being staged in Poland. The authorities responded to the protests with detentions and physical violence. Nine people were detained, including an LGBTIQ activist, and authorities have taken down the names of 71 people who were protesting. In another concerning development, co-founder of the Polish Women’s Strike, Marta Lempart, has been assigned police protection in public spaces after an escalating threat was made against her life. In another concerning development, on 2nd September 2021, Poland implemented a “state of emergency” at its borders with Belarus, limiting journalists and human rights defenders from accessing the area. Several cases of detention of journalists were documented at the border, raising serious concerns for press freedom. Read more

Police protection for WHRD after escalating threats; press freedom concerns at Poland/Belarus border

Ongoing threats and attacks against civil society, media in Afghanistan while protests restricted

Over the last month, human rights defenders and NGOs have faced death threats, attacks and killings. The Taliban has imposed media restrictions while journalists have faced intimidation and attacks. Despite restrictions imposed by the Taliban, protests by women’s groups on their denial of access to work and education have persisted. Read more

Ongoing threats and attacks against civil society, media in Afghanistan while protests restricted

Sri Lanka authorities crack down on protests, stifle critics and accused of torturing detainees

In recent months the authorities have cracked down on protests and activists advocating for education rights, intimidated individuals critical of the government and detained them under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). There have been reports of political prisoners tortured in custody and concerns about amendments to the NGO law. Read more

Sri Lanka authorities crack down on protests, stifle critics and accused of torturing detainees

Detentions and excessive force used at climate related protests against gas & the motor industry

Several climate justice related protests were staged during this period. Environmental activism group Ende Gelände organised a series of civil disobedience actions during the summer to raise awareness of the urgency of climate change threats and to call German institutions to act in a meaningful and effective way to protect the environment. In addition, in September 2021 thousands of people gathered in Munich on the occasion of the IAA Motor Show to protest against the greenwashing actions put in place by the automobile sector and to call on public authorities to invest in sustainable mobility solutions. During both these actions protesters were detained. In addition, while covering an Ende Gelände action, journalist Anna Dotti was temporarily held in custody by the police. Photojournalist Michael Trammer was taken into custody during the protest against the International Motor Show (IAA) that took place in Munich. Read more

Detentions and excessive force used at climate related protests against gas &  the motor industry

54 NGOs suspended, concern over repeated attacks against journalists covering curfew enforcement

Government suspends the operations of 54 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) due to “non-compliance” with the NGO Act 2016; Augustine Ojobile, the electoral commission secretary of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was arrested for involvement in a “coffin protest”, where several activists demonstrated against the alleged embezzlement of COVID-19 funds; Several incidents reported concerning police officers using violence and force on journalists while enforcing a 7 PM to 5.30 AM curfew imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Read more

54 NGOs suspended, concern over repeated attacks against journalists covering curfew enforcement

Civil society slams harassment of journalists, proposed media law, stifling of protests in Pakistan

In recent months, journalists and activists have been arbitrarily detained or abducted and questioned by the police due to their work critical of the state. A proposed media regulator has been rejected by journalists and civil society. Police used excessive force against protesting doctors in Punjab and arbitrarily barred a protest against gender-based violence in Faisalabad. Read more

Civil society slams harassment of journalists, proposed media law, stifling of protests in Pakistan

Crackdown on online critics persists in Vietnam as new decree controlling livestreaming proposed

In recent months, online critics have been arrested, charged under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code and convicted for posting articles critical of the state. Human rights defender and journalist Pham Doan Trang was formally indicted in September 2021 as well as five journalists from the Báo Sạch (Clean Newspaper). The government is looking to tighten control over social media livestreams with a new decree. Read more

Crackdown on online critics persists in Vietnam as new decree controlling livestreaming proposed

Activists and journalists at risk, crackdown on protests in Afghanistan following Taliban takeover

On 15th August 2021, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan after the government collapsed and two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal. Civic space violations have been documented including house-to-house searches for activists, excessive use of force or firearms against peaceful protesters and raids as well as the torture and ill-treatment of journalists with impunity. Read more

Activists and journalists at risk, crackdown on protests in Afghanistan following Taliban takeover

Closure of 45 civil society organisations within one month in Nicaragua

As reported in the CIVICUS Monitor in previous updates, an unprecedented crackdown against civil society and political opposition has been ongoing in Nicaragua since the end of May 2021. Dozens of human rights defenders and members of the political opposition have been arrested on trumped-up charges. Business leaders, journalists and former allies of President Ortega have also been targeted. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Closure of 45 civil society organisations within one month in Nicaragua

UN Special Rapporteur calls for an end to persecution of HRDs

HRDs continue to come under attack. Human right organisations raised concerns about Ahmed Samir Santawy, Egyptian researcher and anthropology student at the Central European University (CEU) in Vienna, Austria, who was sentenced to four years in prison on “false news” charges on 22nd June 2021. Furthermore, regarding updates on Case 173 of 2011 (known as the foreign funding case), at least five prominent human rights defenders were summoned during July 2021 for questioning, including Mozn Hassan, a women’s rights defender and director of Nazra for Feminist Studies; human rights lawyer Negad al-Borai; human rights activist and head of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information Gamal Eid; and lawyer and head of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance Azza Soliman. On 30th August 2021, an Investigative Judge, authorised by the Cairo Court of Appeal, decided to drop case 173 against four human rights defenders. However, to date no decision has been made on charges against Mozn Hassan and the case against Nazra for Feminist studies. Read more

UN Special Rapporteur calls for an end to persecution of HRDs