intimidation

Protests over gender-based violence, office of LGBTI rights organisation vandalised

On 3rd May 2021, the headquarters of Cogam, a non-profit organisation that has been fighting for the equality of LGBTI people in Madrid was vandalised with transphobic graffiti messages opposing the Law on Sexual Diversity. On 11th June 2021, spontaneous protests were held across the country against gender-based violence after the body of a six-year-old girl named Olivia was found on the seabed of the Canary Island, Tenerife. Related to LGBTI rights, on , on 29th June 2021, the government however approved a draft bill that would have allowed legal gender recognition based on self-determination. Read more

Protests over gender-based violence, office of LGBTI rights organisation vandalised

El Salvador: Step backward for transparency in proposal to reform Access to Public Information Law

On 7th July 2021, the Nayib Bukele government presented a bill which would make regressive reforms to El Salvador’s Access to Public Information Law (Ley de Acceso a la Información Pública), undermining government transparency. Read more

El Salvador: Step backward for transparency in proposal to reform Access to Public Information Law

Ecuador: criminalisation of environmental defenders and bills affecting freedom of expression

In May 2021, state oil company Petroecuador filed criminal proceedings against Kichwa leader Wilson Geovanni Quindinga Salazar and his legal advisor Luis Xavier Solís Tenesaca for “paralysing public services”. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Ecuador: criminalisation of environmental defenders and bills affecting freedom of expression

Panama’s National Journalism Council calls for protocol to protect journalists

In June 2021, alleged criminal groups threatened to kidnap, rape, torture and murder Flor Mizrachi Ángel, an investigative journalist who uncovered a clandestine COVID-19 vaccination scheme in Panama. Read more

Panama’s National Journalism Council calls for protocol to protect journalists

Obstruction of journalistic work in Bolivia

On 2nd June 2021, security agents at the La Paz Departmental Court of Justice (TDJ) prevented a journalist from entering an inauguration event. Read more

Obstruction of journalistic work in Bolivia

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

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

A ‘dark day’ for LGBTI rights in Hungary, leading to calls for urgent EU action

The rights of LGBTI persons have come under severe attack amid the pandemic. On 15th June 2021 the Hungarian Parliament passed an anti-LGBTI law which bans education and advertising that is deemed to “popularise” or even depict, consensual same-sex conduct or the affirming of one’s gender to children. The measures have been equated to Russia’s 2013 law against “gay propaganda”. Following this, the European Commission said it will take legal steps against Hungary’s new anti-LGBTI legislation, with President of the commission Ursula von der Leyen calling the bill a “shame”. More than ten months ago the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruled that the Hungarian ‘LexNGO’ law that was in force from 2017 was in breach of EU laws, on 18th May 2021, the Hungarian Parliament repealed it. However, at the same time, the Parliament adopted a new law that threatens the work of NGOs.
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A ‘dark day’ for LGBTI rights in Hungary, leading to calls for urgent EU action

Teenage pro-abortion protesters targeted for participation; “Hungary style takeover” of media

Several concerning developments were documented during this reporting period. Police continue to target women’s rights activists. In April 2021, well-known activist Katarzyna Augustynek was dragged to a police van for painting crosses and hearts in honour of COVID-19 victims in a square in Warsaw. In the most recent attempt to target protesters, charges have been brought against parents who allowed their children to participate in protests. Separately, thousands gathered in Warsaw for a gay pride parade to celebrate LGBTI persons. However, following concerning developments on LGBTI rights in Hungary, where the parliament adopted a law which bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality, Poland's education minister stated that the country may follow a similar approach to further limit LGBTI rights. In relation to developments in freedom of expression, Warsaw District court temporarily suspended approval for the takeover of Polska Press by PKN Orlen, pending review. However, this has not halted PKN Orlen in editorial interference. Eight editors-in-chief in total have been dismissed or pushed out since Orlen acquired the publishing house in March, with other editors resigning due to “ownership changes”. Read more

Teenage pro-abortion protesters targeted for participation; “Hungary style takeover” of media

COVID-19 experts harassed by far-right group; attacks against journalists

A harassment campaign targeting personnel of municipal health services (GDD) and COVID-19 experts was launched by The Digital Army, a COVID-19-sceptic group. A series of physical attacks against reporters was also documented during this period. In addition, head office of the Flemish media company DPG - located in Antwerp - was evacuated on 24th May 2021 after receiving a threat from the Dutch far-right group Dutch Anonymous Freedom Fighters. In a separate positive development, protesters staged a demonstration organised by Extinction Rebellion and the Dutch climate activist group Code Rood at the Shell headquarters in The Hague, after the court held Royal Dutch Shell, a large oil company, accountable for greenhouse gas emissions and ordered it to change its course. Read more

COVID-19 experts harassed by far-right group; attacks against journalists