harassment

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

Unrelenting harassment of activists and critics by police to stifle all forms of dissent in Malaysia

In recent months, the government continued to curtail fundamental freedoms and intimidate activists and journalists. Dozens have been hauled up by the police for peaceful protests critical of the government and its policies. Activists faced investigation for raising issues related to police brutality and the government handling of the pandemic, while journalists were also targeted for their reporting. Amidst a worsening COVID-19 crisis, the government continued to use the anti-fake news ordinance against individuals, a move criticised as detrimental to promoting access to information which is essential during a public health crisis. P
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Unrelenting harassment of activists and critics by police to stifle all forms of dissent in Malaysia

Journalists questioned over report; concerns remain over draft law on whistleblowers’ protection

Since 20th May 2021, employees of the daily newspaper Libertatea and the weekly magazine Newsweek Romania have been questioned by prosecutors at the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) over their coverage of alleged corruption in public works contracting. According to experts, this is an attempt to silence journalists reporting critically on the use of public funds. In an independent development, the Ministry of Justice did not adopt most of the proposals submitted by APADOR-CH and other non-governmental organisations, which were aimed at improving the draft law on whistleblowers’ protection. Significant issues with the draft law which NGOs raised were disregarded. Read more

Journalists questioned over report; concerns remain over draft law on whistleblowers’ protection

Haiti: President Moïse assassinated, launching country into further uncertainty

Overnight on 7th July 2021, a group of armed assassins gunned down President Jovenel Moïse after breaking into his residence in Port-au-Prince. Read more  |  Read in French

Haiti: President Moïse assassinated, launching country into further uncertainty

Mass protests over Istanbul convention as women refuse to give up, LGBTI rights targeted again

On 19th June 2021, protesters gathered on the streets of Istanbul to voice their anger at the government’s decision to withdraw from the COE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention. In a protest related to this, on 21st June 2021, six protesters were detained. In addition, women again took to the streets to protest on 1st July 2021. Police responded by setting up barricades to block protesters and used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. Despite Pride parades being banned for three years in a row, several civil society groups opposed the bans and gathered in Istanbul on 26th June 2021, under the motto “the streets are ours”. They have initiated legal proceedings against the ban and intend to continue planning their events for next year. However, authorities blocked streets, fired tear gas and arrested 25 people at the Pride march in Istanbul. Several journalist, especially women journalists, came under attack during the Pride march.
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Mass protests over Istanbul convention as women refuse to give up, LGBTI rights targeted again

Despite UN concerns Sri Lanka continues to detain critics, arrest protesters and entrench impunity

Violations of civic freedoms in Sri Lanka have persisted in recent months including the ongoing detention of activists, harassment of journalists, attempts to criminalise “fake-news” and a crackdown on peaceful protest under the guise of dealing with COVID-19. Read more

Despite UN concerns Sri Lanka continues to detain critics, arrest protesters and entrench impunity

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

On 1st May 2021, newly elected lawmakers took office in the Legislative Assembly after ruling party Nuevas Ideas won a two-thirds majority in February 2021. On their first day, government allies in the Legislative Assembly voted to remove and replace the five judges on the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney-General. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

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

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

In recent months attacks on civic space have persisted in Pakistan which is rated as ‘repressed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor. The has been an unrelenting assault on the media, with journalists being attacked, criminalised and taken off the air. A stringent new media law is being proposed that will undermine press freedom and legal amendments have been proposed to criminalise criticism of the military. Leaders of the ethnic Pashtun movement continue to face judicial harassment while the authorities are deliberately stalling the functioning of the national human rights body Read more

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

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