HRD prosecuted

Attacks on the press and critics persist as UN report on the Philippines finds widespread violations

Over the last two months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, top broadcaster ABS-CBN was forced off the air while prominent journalist Maria Ressa and her former colleague were convicted for ‘cyber-libel’ in another blow for press freedom. The authorities have also pursued journalists and social media users for criticism of the handling of the pandemic. Civil society is seriously concerned that the new anti-terror bill will facilitate abuse of power and erode democracy, while a new UN report details widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity. Human rights defender Teresita Naul remains in prison on trumped up charges while the red-tagging of activists has continued. Read more

Attacks on the press and critics persist as UN report on the Philippines finds widespread violations

Judicial harassment and arrests of activists continues unabated

On 9th April 2020, Ali Idrissa, national coordinator of the anti-corruption organisations Réseau des Organisations pour la Transparence et l'Analyse Budgétaire (ROTAB; Network of Organisations for Transparency and the Budgetary Analysis) and Publish What You Pay Niger was summoned by the judiciary police following a complaint by a former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. The latter accuses Ali Idrissa of defamation in relation to the case of alleged embezzlement and irregularities in the purchase of military material. Read more  |  Read in French

Judicial harassment and arrests of activists continues unabated

Election period sees clampdown on freedoms; Outgoing president Nkurunziza dies suddenly

Ahead of the May 2020 elections,United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi launches an appeal to the international community to join forces to encourage the Burundian Government to reopen the democratic, civil and political space in the country; Opposition face hurdles and attacks ahead of elections; internet restrictions experienced on election day; while journalists and HRDs face prosecution for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression Read more  |  Read in French

Election period sees clampdown on freedoms; Outgoing president Nkurunziza dies suddenly

Oman: Artistic censorship and harassment of online activists continues

Rights groups call on the government of Oman to permanently lift the ban on all Voice Over IP (VoIP) platforms; CSOs criticise widespread censorship at the Muscat Bookfair; Government continues to restrict freedom of expression online by targeting broadcasters and human rights defenders for their posts on Twitter and other social media platforms. Read more

Oman: Artistic censorship and harassment of online activists continues

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Cuban news media, social movements and human rights organisations have denounced that the government has continued to crackdown on dissent, repress freedoms and silence critical voices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, there have been several reports of activists and journalists being detained or harassed, particularly through police citations, summons and interrogations. At least 30 people have been subjected to harassment from state actors under Decree 370, which has been used to supress freedom of expression in the country. Read more

Cuba cracking down on dissent using internet regulation and COVID-19 pretence

Declining health of convicted HRD concerns family members and human rights organisations

On 30th April 2020, Karla Vanessa Escobar and Wilfredo Brenes Domínguez, two former political prisoners, were detained and charged with alleged drug and arms possession. Read more

Declining health of convicted HRD concerns family members and human rights organisations

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

The first three months of 2020 saw ongoing and systematic persecution of civil society activists, journalists, bloggers and other citizens exercising their right to freely express themselves. The situation is currently deteriorating, particularly in connection with the state of emergency, which was declared in the country on 16th March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Citizens who spoke up about the status of the pandemic in Kazakhstan and the authorities’ handling of it have on numerous occasions been criminally prosecuted. Political activists associated with two unregistered political parties – the new Democratic Party and the new movement “Street Party” - have faced persecution, administrative prosecution and significant harassment, both from the authorities and from unidentified persons. Read more

Systematic persecution of CSO activists; attacks on freedom of expression and assembly continue

China silences reporting on COVID-19, expands surveillance and arrests Hong Kong protest leaders

The Chinese Communist Party has continued to censor reporting about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and targeted journalists, doctors, activists, academics and critics in order to control the narrative. The coronavirus is also being used as a pretext for accelerating mass surveillance across the country. In Hong Kong, the authorities arrested 15 pro-democracy politicians and activists in April 2020, were accused of torture or ill-treatment of protesters and expelled US journalists. Human rights groups also reported on the use of an app to conduct mass surveillance by the Chinese government on Uighur and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province. Read more

China silences reporting on COVID-19, expands surveillance and arrests Hong Kong protest leaders

Dissidents prosecuted and journalists harassed while covering COVID-19 restrictions

General Henry Tumukunde, a former general planning to run for the presidency in Uganda, arrested, detained and charged for treason; Journalists beaten by security forces while covering COVID 19 curfew responses; Rights group calls on Ugandan government to ensure the right to an effective remedy for Dr. Stella Nyanzi for wrongful conviction; Uganda’s Constitutional Court rules that Sections of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) (2013) illegal and unconstitutional; LGBTIQ community stigmatised amid Coronavirus outbreak Read more

Dissidents prosecuted and journalists harassed while covering COVID-19 restrictions

Crackdown on dissent and independent journalism during COVID-19

On 13th March 2020, a presidential decree declared a nationwide "state of alarm" in Venezuela due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Among other things, the decree prohibits public gatherings and authorises competent authorities to take "all necessary measures" to enforce orders related to quarantine and isolation. Read more

Crackdown on dissent and independent journalism during COVID-19