harassment

Journalist detained, newspaper ordered to cease its operations

On 29th December 2020, armed security forces detained journalist and editor of the newspaper l’Indépendant Express Carlos Ketohou at his residence in Lomé and he was summoned to appear before the Criminal Investigations Central Service on 30th December 2020. The journalist was held for 4 nights on accusations of defamation and was released on 2nd January 2021 Read more

Journalist detained, newspaper ordered to cease its operations

Cuban government backtracks on talks with protesters and uses COVID-19 regulations to harass critics

As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in November 2020 the arrest of musician Denis Solís González led artists and activists with Movimiento San Isidro to mobilise for his release. On 26th November 2020, the Cuban authorities raided the movement’s headquarters and detained 14 activists who had been on hunger strike for several days. Read more

Cuban government backtracks on talks with protesters and uses COVID-19 regulations to harass critics

Media outlets and journalists face a wave of SLAPP suits and hateful attacks

Several protests were staged in relation to the governments COVID-19 response which included protests by restaurant and cafe owners as well as for medium sized businesses. In a concerning development, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND) warned of an upcoming wave of lawsuits against journalists and media workers filed by high-ranking politicians and public personalities. Sites such as Telegram, Index.hr and Virovitica.net are facing several SLAPP suits. In addition, Croatian journalist Anja Kožul was subject to a hate campaign. Read more

Media outlets and journalists face a wave of SLAPP suits and hateful attacks

President and deputies of the ruling majority in parliament verbally attack journalists

With the formation of the new government and the establishment of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society ceased to exist. A significant part of the competencies in the field of work of the Office will be transferred to the Ministry. The abolition of the Office marks the end of its role to ensure the participation of citizens in the preparation of legal regulations by ministries and local governments. In addition, the entire process was conducted in a non-transparent manner. As reported previously, the phantom portal of “Prismotra” continues to discredit the work of CSOs and individuals working on the protection and promotion of human rights. Journalists continue to face threats and harassment. In the latest cases documented, during a tour of the construction work of a COVID-19 Hospital, the President of Serbia attacked the independence and objectivity of the media. In addition, deputies of the ruling party in Parliament also verbally attacked journalists, branding them as "anti-Serbian". Read more

President and deputies of the ruling majority in parliament verbally attack journalists

While insisting it’s COVID-19 free, Turkmenistan renews efforts to clamp down on dissent

Turkmenistan’s government continued its policy of COVID-19 denial, claiming that the global pandemic had not reached the country, although independent Turkmenistan-covering outlets reported about a growing number of coronavirus infections. The authorities continued to use national, state-controlled media for propaganda purposes, while restricting access to foreign sources of information. Amid growing criticism of Turkmenistan’s government both on- and offline in recent months, the authorities continued to put pressure on outspoken activists living abroad, their relatives in Turkmenistan, and local residents suspected of ties with such activists. The reporting period also saw several new spontaneous protests initiated by residents of Turkmenistan who expressed their resentment at the shortages of basic food items sold at state-subsidised prices, and the shortages of cash at ATMs. Read more

While insisting it’s COVID-19 free, Turkmenistan renews efforts to clamp down on dissent

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

In November 2020, Brazil held countrywide local elections to elect city councillors and mayors. Politically-motivated attacks and assassinations increased by nearly 200 percent in 2020 in comparison to previous years. Read more

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

Several protests staged amid restrictions on assembly due to COVID-19

The Croatian Constitutional Court defended its choice not to review the constitutionality of laws passed that limited civic freedoms as part of COVID-19 pandemic measures. The Court claimed that the government had acted within its rights and with the intention of preventing the spread of the virus. Several protests took place during the reporting period including the annual Zagreb Pride March, protests over labour rights and against COVID-19 measures. In a separate development, COVID-19 continues to impact the media industry in Croatia. The Journalists’ Union of Croatia has pointed out that employers in the media sector are using COVID-19 as a justification to reduce the rights of media workers and journalists.

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Several protests staged amid restrictions on assembly due to COVID-19

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue

Human rights groups and the UN have raised concerns about human rights defender Idris Khattak a year on from his enforced disappearance. Human rights defender Muhammed Ismail, the Secretary-General of the Pakistan NGO Forum (PNF), and his wife Uzlifat Ismail continue to be targeted by the authorities. Enforced disappearances targeting students, activists, journalists and human rights defenders have continued relentlessly in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Read more

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue

Unabated attacks on LGBTI rights amid the pandemic

Minutes before the new COVID-19 restrictions came into effect amid the second wave, the government proposed a draft amendment to the constitution. In particular, two changes will reinforce institutionalised homophobia and transphobia. A sentence will be added to Article L and will define that: “the mother is a woman; the father is a man”. The second change, Article XVI (1) will include the provision that: “Hungary protects children’s rights to their identity in line with their birth sex, and the right to education according to our country’s constitutional identity and system of values based on Christian culture”. In addition, draft amendments to the Civil Code and the Child Protection Act were also submitted. If the relevant amendments pass, single parents will be able to adopt only under special circumstances and their adoption must be approved by the minister of family. Added to this, the Justice Committee of the Hungarian Parliament presented legislation that would abolish the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA), a body which has been successful in addressing discrimination against the LGBTI community, with the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights absorbing its activities, in order to provide a more efficient institutional structure. Experts say that it is no coincidence that the proposed legislative changes came at the same time that physical, public gatherings and demonstrations became prohibited in Hungary.


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Unabated attacks on LGBTI rights amid the pandemic

Police use excessive force on protesters

Since the most recent Monitor update of October 2019, Sudan has experienced frequent protests, with thousands gathering to demand change, especially in regards to socio-economic conditions and the lack of political reforms in the country.
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Police use excessive force on protesters