protestor(s) detained

Court finds German mass surveillance law disregards press freedom, large turnout at BLM protests

German CSOs report that they were not consulted when the first confinement measures were introduced during to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, warnings about the effects that the lockdown might have on domestic violence were not heard in time. They state that government prioritised corporate interests over social interests and that CSOs cannot count on financial support from the government. During May 2020 several protests were staged by far-right groups in various cities against lockdown measures. Black Lives Matter protests took place in several German cities with large turnouts. In Berlin which drew one of the largest numbers, police and protesters clashed and several protesters were arrested. In a win for press freedom, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that Germany’s foreign intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) law, which enables mass surveillance, disregards both the freedom of the press and the freedom of telecommunications as it does not recognise that foreign surveillance must be conducted in conformity with the Basic Law. The ruling makes clear that journalists must be granted special protection.

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Court finds German mass surveillance law disregards press freedom, large turnout at BLM protests

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

Commemorative march cancelled due to COVID-19, Residents protest demolition of cultural building, Police arrest 252 people during a politically motivated protest in Yerevan, Concerns over media censorship in guise of COVID-19 restrictions , Civil Society raises concern over draft law on freedom of information, Armenia ranked 61st in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Read more

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

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

Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions increase in Venezuela during pandemic

On 8th May 2020, civil society organisation Foro Penal reported that arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances increased in Venezuela since the beginning of COVID-19 containment measures in March 2020. Read more

Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions increase in Venezuela during pandemic

Protests in Nepal around COVID-19 met with excessive force while journalists face attacks

Protests expressing discontent with the COVID-19 response have been met with excessive force and arrests. There have also been ongoing threats and attacks against journalists in Nepal for their reporting on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Online critics have also been targeted for defamation using the Electronic Transaction Act. A proposed Intelligence Bill gives the national intelligence agency unlimited surveillance and search powers. Read more

Protests in Nepal around COVID-19 met with excessive force while journalists face attacks

Austerity measures during COVID-19 lead to protests in Ecuador

On 16th March 2020, Ecuador’s government published a decree declaring a "state of exception" in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This suspended some individual rights related to freedom of association and assembly, and provided government with authority to use digital tools to monitor individuals under mandatory isolation or quarantine. Read more

Austerity measures during COVID-19 lead to protests in Ecuador

EU court finds that NGO foreign funding law violates EU law, independent media under threat

On 17th June 2020 government announced an end to the “state of danger”, but immediately declared a “state of medical crisis”, which will continue to allow the government to issue a wide range of decrees and restrict certain rights. This declaration cannot be lifted by parliament and human rights organisations are concerned that this will only lead to further powers for the Orbán government. In a positive development, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a Hungarian law concerning foreign funding of non-governmental organisations “does not comply with the Union law”. The court found that the law imposed "discriminatory and unjustified restrictions" on those organisations affected. Freedom of expression is increasingly under threat, with the biggest and most-read independent news site, Index.hu, reporting that it is currently under threat from external pressures. Read more

EU court finds that NGO foreign funding law violates EU law, independent media under threat

Chilean police forces repress protests with COVID-19 regulations

On 18th March 2020, the Chilean government issued a decree that established an exceptional “state of catastrophe” for three months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The legislation also allowed the president to take further measures such as restrictions on gatherings in public spaces and individuals’ movement, quarantines or curfews. Read more

Chilean police forces repress protests with COVID-19 regulations

CSOs included in governments COVID-19 emergency fund

The Austrian government implemented strict measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The new government has adopted a much more moderate tone and course than the previous government. CSOs have asked the government to support the sector economically, which could also be a potential opportunity to restructure the dialogue. On 15th March 2020, a law (Covid-19 Gesetz) was passed by parliament, which for the first time in Austrian history mentions "Non-Profit Organisations" and says that they are eligible for the same emergency fund as small entrepreneurs. Read more

CSOs included in governments COVID-19 emergency fund

Civic space restrictions continue unabated in Singapore despite COVID-19 pandemic, as election looms

In the past few months, Singapore has continued to crack down on lone protesters, sustained its use of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to restrict freedom of expression online and harassed individuals under Singapore’s contempt of court law Read more

Civic space restrictions continue unabated in Singapore despite COVID-19 pandemic, as election looms