Watchlist

 

  • Continúa la persecución de los líderes de los movimientos de protesta rurales a medida que se profundiza la crisis en Nicaragua

    • Tres activistas ecologistas campesinos se encuentran detenidos y sufriendo malos tratos a la espera de juicio 
    • Un informe de las Naciones Unidas confirma que el gobierno sigue atacando a los líderes campesinos
    • Personal de Naciones Unidas ha sido expulsado de Nicaragua tras el informe realizado sobre las violaciones de los derechos de los manifestantes 
    • Más de 320 personas han muerto desde el inicio de la represión violenta de las protestas en abril
    • Grupos de derechos humanos instan a las autoridades a retirar todos los cargos y liberar a los líderes campesinos

     

  • Five countries added to watchlist of countries where civic freedoms are under serious threat

     

    • Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, and Venezuela join global watchlist
    • Escalating rights violations include killings, attacks on protesters, media restrictions and arbitrary detentions of human rights defenders
    • International community must pressure governments to end repression

    Five countries from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America have been added to a watchlist of countries which have seen a rapid decline in fundamental freedoms in recent weeks and months. The new watchlist released by the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society across the globe, identifies growing concerns in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, and Venezuela.

    Activists and civil society organisations in these countries are experiencing an infringement of their civic freedoms as protected by international law. These violations include the use of excessive force by security forces during peaceful protests and journalists being arbitrarily detained and harrassed in both Sudan and Venezuela. In Serbia, space for independent media is under concerted attack while massive anti-government demonstrations are taking place. In Saudi Arabia, authorities continue the crackdown on women human rights defenders, who are being subject to arbitrary detentions and ill treatment for their activism on gender issues. While, in Afghanistan, there has been a record high number of civilian casualties (3,800 in 2018). The upcoming July presidential elections pose additional security risks and a threat to shrinking civic space, as over 400 civilians and voters were killed or injured (including eight candidates), during last October’s parliamentary elections.

    “It is deeply concerning to see escalated threats to basic rights in these countries,” said Marianna Belalba Barreto, CIVICUS Civic Space Research Lead. “It is critical that these five governments wake up to their failure to respect international law and take swift action to respect their citizens’ most basic freedoms in a democratic society and create an enabling environment for civil society organisations” Belalba said. “We also call upon neighbouring states and international bodies to put pressure on these countries to end the repression and ensure positive steps are taken to guarantee the safe space for civil society to continue their legitimate work”

    Large-scale anti-government demonstrations have been ongoing across Sudan since 19th December 2018 calling for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down in the context of a growing frustration over the harsh economic and social situation. In response, the authorities have launched a violent campaign targeting protesters, including doctors, teachers, journalists, women activists and opposition political leaders. With the declaration of a state of emergency, civic space restrictions continue to increase with hundreds of protesters on trial and dozens sentenced in summary trials on charges of participating in demonstrations.

    Serbia has witnessed sustained protest since December 2018. Protests started after an opposition politician was assaulted by unknown assailants wielding metal rods. For the most part, authorities in Serbia have largely ignored or attempted to downplay the scale of the protests. However on 17th March 2019 after 14 consecutive weeks of demonstrations, police in Belgrade used excessive force to disperse protesters that were calling for greater press freedom and fair elections. After encircling the Presidential building, clashes between protesters and police broke out, leading to the use of tear gas by Serbian authorities. Ten people were arrested in the confrontation. The government has also orchestrated a smear campaign against protesters  labelling opponents of the government as “paid” activists working against Serbian interests.

    Despite claims that the Saudi Arabian government is leading reforms to improve the situation of women in the country, Saudi authorities continue to persecute women activists. Since the crackdown began in May 2018, at least 22 women human rights defenders have been arrested and subjected to human rights violations because of their activism on gender issues. Reports indicate that several detained rights defenders have been subjected to torture including sexual assault and harassment.

    In Venezuela, since January 2019, massive anti-government protests have continued to take place in the country. The government has responded by using excessive force against demonstrators, arbitrarily detaining protestors, including teenagers, as well as detaining and harassing human rights defenders and journalists. Just between 21 and 25 January, at least 41 people died in circumstances linked to the protests,and more than 900 people were arbitrarily detained. For years, protesters in Venezuela have been met with excessive force by authorities, as people take to the streets to demand a change in government, the pattern of repression will likely intensify. Human rights organisations working to deliver humanitarian aid are especially targeted with harassment, and in some cases, their offices have been raided. It is estimated that more than three million venezuelans have fled the country due to the humanitarian crisis and denial of basic rights such as health and food.

    Since the beginning of 2019, at least three journalists have been killed in Afghanistan. The country was the world's deadliest for journalists in 2018 with 13 reporters and 2 other media professionals killed. Citizens risk being killed and attacked for participating in government elections and civil society is currently excluded from peace negotiations between the Taliban and the United States (U.S.), and parallel peace talks in Moscow. Women’s groups and persecuted communities are campaigning to have their voices heard in the peace process, and to ensure that any agreement guarantees human rights and democratic freedoms.

    In the coming weeks, the CIVICUS Monitor will closely track developments in each of these countries as part of efforts to ensure greater pressure is brought to bear on governments. CIVICUS calls upon these governments to do everything in their power to immediately end the ongoing crackdowns and ensure that perpetrators are held to account.

    See full CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist Summary


    For more information and to speak with regional and country specific contacts, please message:

    Marianna Belalba Barreto, CIVICUS Civic Space Research Lead

     

  • La crisis en Nicaragua persiste: Declaración en la ONU

    Declaración en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas de Amaru Ruiz, Fundación del Río

    La crisis en Nicaragua persiste hasta la fecha, la represión sistemática de las manifestaciones ha suprimido efectivamente las movilizaciones, debido a esto el monitor Civicus ha incluido a Nicaragua en la lista de países de la Lista de Vigilancia. Los defensores de los derechos humanos, los periodistas y los opositores políticos se enfrentan a la criminalización y el acoso de agentes de seguridad y grupos civiles pro-gubernamentales. A fines de 2020, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos informó que aún había más de 100 presos políticos en Nicaragua. 

    Si bien cientos de presos políticos fueron liberados en 2019 y 2020, muchos de ellos aún están siendo sometidos a vigilancia, represalias y re-encarcelamiento. En los últimos meses ha habido un aumento en el uso de cargos penales comunes, como posesión de drogas y armas, para condenar a quienes se perciben como opositores al gobierno mientras niegan su condición de presos políticos.  

    Las autoridades nicaragüenses han tratado de silenciar a la prensa independiente, incluso mediante la detención de periodistas y el estrangulamiento. Desde finales de 2020, los legisladores pro-gubernamentales han incrementado los ataques contra la sociedad civil, promulgando una serie de leyes diseñadas para reducir el espacio para las libertades de asociación, reunión y expresión. Este es el caso de la "Ley de Agentes Extranjeros, la Ley Especial de Delitos Cibernéticos y una reforma al Código Penal del país que permite la prisión preventiva sin cargos por hasta 90 días. 

    El informe sobre libertad de asociación realizado por Fundación del Rio y Fundación Popolna, puso de manifiesto el proceso de deterioro sistemático del ambiente habilitante para las diversas formas de organizaciones sociales, con patrones de falta de acceso a la justicia y el debido proceso. Esta situación está conduciendo a un eventual cierre forzoso de varias las organizaciones civiles nicaragüense y la salida del país de organizaciones internacionales que no están dispuestas a someterse al marco legal de criminalización que se ha institucionalizado. 

    Con las elecciones aun sin garantias y programadas para finales de este año, nos preocupa seriamente que la represión se intensifique, poniendo a los defensores de los derechos humanos y a la sociedad civil en general en mayor riesgo. 

    Los estados miembros del Consejo de derechos humanos deben apoyar una resolución firme que exija un mayor monitoreo por parte del alto comisionado para promover los procesos de rendición de cuentas y evitar que la situación se deteriore aún más a medida que Nicaragua se dirige hacia las elecciones. 


    Calificación de su espacio cívico: 'Reprimido' del CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Nicaragua: UN must take action as over 100 activists remain in prison

    Statement at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council delivered by Amaru Ruiz, Fundación del Río

    The crisis in Nicaragua persists and systematic repression of demonstrations has effectively suppressed mobilisations. As a result, the CIVICUS monitor has included Nicaragua on its Watchlist of countries. Human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents face criminalisation and harassment from security agents and pro-government civilian groups. At the end of 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported that there were still more than 100 political prisoners in Nicaragua.

    While hundreds of political prisoners were released in 2019 and 2020, many are still subjected to surveillance, retaliation and re-imprisonment. In recent months there has been an increase in the use of common criminal charges, such as possession of drugs and weapons, to convict those perceived as opponents of the government while denying their status as political prisoners.

    The Nicaraguan authorities have tried to silence the independent press, including by arresting journalists and seeking to curtail their activities. Since late 2020, pro-government lawmakers have stepped up attacks on civil society, enacting a series of laws designed to reduce the space for freedoms of association, assembly and expression. Such laws include the Foreign Agents Law, the Special Law on Cyber ​​Crimes, and an amendment to the country's Penal Code that allows preventive detention without charges for up to 90 days.

    A recent report on freedom of association by Fundación del Rio and Fundación Popolna revealed the process of systematic deterioration of an enabling environment for social organisations, with patterns of lack of access to justice and due process. This situation is leading to the eventual forced closure of several Nicaraguan civil organisations and the departure from the country of international organisations unwilling to submit to the legal framework of criminalisation that has been institutionalised.

    With elections set for later this year, we are seriously concerned that repression will escalate, putting human rights defenders and broader civil society at even greater risk.

    The member states of the Human Rights Council should support a strong resolution calling for greater monitoring by the High Commissioner to promote accountability processes and prevent the situation from deteriorating further as Nicaragua heads toward elections.


     Nicaragua is rated as 'Repressed' by the CIVICUS Monitor

     

  • Persecution of rural protest movement leaders continue as crisis deepens in Nicaragua

    • Three campesino environmental activists mistreated in detention, awaiting trial
    • UN report confirms continued targeting of campesino leaders by government
    • UN staff expelled from Nicaragua after UN report on protesters’ rights abuses
    • More than 320 people killed since violent crackdown on protests began in April
    • Global rights groups urge authorities to drop all charges, release campesinoleaders

       

    • Six countries added to watchlist of countries where civic freedoms are under serious threat

      • Bangladesh, Maldives, Cameroon, DRC, Guatemala, Nicaragua join global watchlist
      • Escalating rights violations include killings, attacks on protesters, media, opposition
      • Neighbours, international community must pressure governments to end repression

      Six countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa have been added to a watchlist of countries which have seen an escalation in serious threats to fundamental freedoms in recent weeks and months.

      The new watchlist released by the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society across the globe, identifies growing concerns in Bangladesh,  Maldives, CameroonDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Activists and civil society organisations in these countries are currently experiencing a severe infringement of civic freedoms, as protected by international law.

      Violations include brutal attacks by police on peaceful protests in Nicaragua and Bangladesh; the murder of human rights defenders in Guatemala; the killing of protesters and a brutal state campaign against activists and the political opposition in the DRC; and the prosecution of human rights defenders and journalists on fabricated charges in Cameroon, amidst an escalating civil conflict.

      “It is deeply concerning to see escalated threats to basic rights in these countries,” said Cathal Gilbert, CIVICUS Civic Space Research Lead.

      “It is crucial that these six governments wake up to their failure to respect international law and take swift action to respect their citizens’ most basic freedoms in a democratic society,” Gilbert said.

      “We also call upon neighbouring states and international bodies to do put pressure on these countries to end the repression.”

      Over the past year, authorities in Bangladesh have used repressive laws to target and harass journalists and human rights defenders, restrict freedom of assembly and carry out the enforced disappearances of opposition supporters. The human rights situation has deteriorated further ahead of national elections scheduled for late 2018. Members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling party Bangladesh Awami League (BAL), have attacked student activists, academics and journalists with impunity.

      In Nicaragua, at least 300 people have been killed since protests began in April 2018, with hundreds more kidnapped or missing. The demonstrations were initially sparked by regressive changes to the social security system but grew to include calls for President Daniel Ortega to resign in the wake of his brutal repression of peaceful protests. While large-scale marches have subsided in recent days, some continue amid a tense political situation as the Ortega government continues to silence critics despite agreements struck with international bodies, and an undertaking to allow an IACHR investigation into the violence. Attacks on protestors are perpetrated both by state forces and armed groups aligned with the government.

      This year, between January and July alone, at least 18 human rights defenders (HRDs) were killed in Guatemala. There were also two assassination attempts and 135 other attacks, with 32 of those aimed at women HRDs. In early August, United Nations Special Rapporteurs issued a statement raising the alarm at the spike in killings in 2018. Reports from Guatemala indicate that the space for civil society has worsened due to land disputes and actions by corporate interests, the source of targeted violence against specific groups of activists.

      Despite the announcement that Congolese president Joseph Kabila will not run for a third term, tensions are still high in the DRC, ahead of scheduled elections in December.  In recent months, protestors, youth movements, human rights defenders, journalists and the political opposition have all faced widespread state repression, including arrests. In June this year, CSOs and UN Special Rapporteurs expressed serious concerns about a planned new law that would give authorities power to dissolve non-governmental organisations (NGOs) over public order or national security concerns.

      In Maldives, a widespread crackdown on dissent began in February 2018 when a court ordered the release of opposition leaders. This decision led to the arbitrary arrest of judges, scores of opposition politicians and activists as well as the use of unnecessary force by police to disperse peaceful demonstrations. There are also documented cases of people being ill-treated in detention. With elections due on 23rd September 2018, civic space is likely to become increasingly contested. Already in May 2018, the Electoral Commission moved to bar four opposition leaders from running in the upcoming presidential elections.

      In Cameroon, an escalating conflict in the country’s Anglophone regions between armed separatists and the government has sparked a mounting humanitarian crisis. It began as protests in 2016, resulting in state repression of protests and the arrest and prosecution of protest leaders. The conflict intensified in recent months with killings and human rights violations committed by both sides. At least 100 civilians, 43 security officers and an unknown number of armed separatists have reportedly been killed, according to an International Crisis Group report. NGOs and human rights defenders have also been targeted.

      In the coming weeks, the CIVICUS Monitor will closely track developments in each of these countries as part of efforts to ensure greater pressure is brought to bear on governments. CIVICUS calls upon these governments to do everything in their power to immediately end the ongoing crackdowns and ensure that perpetrators are held to account.

      ENDS.

      For more information, please contact:

      Cathal Gilbert

      Grant Clark

       

    • Tanzania, Kenya, Angola Join Watch List of Countries of Concern

      Attacks by the authorities on protesters, critics, NGOs and the media in Angola, Kenya and Tanzania have led global civil alliance, CIVICUS, to add the nations to its Watch List of countries where there are serious and ongoing threats to civic space.

      The updated Watch List, which is regularly reviewed in response to current events, was released today.