In advance of the 20th Session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which scrutinizes each country's human rights record every four years, CIVICUS has made four submissions on unwarranted restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly and human rights defenders in Bolivia, Egypt, Iran and The Gambia . The submissions further provide a number of substantive recommendations to the States Under Review to create an enabling environment for civil society and ensure greater protection to human rights defenders.
In Bolivia, CIVICUS and Fundación CONSTRUIR, raise concerns about legislative and extra-legal measures taken by the government to curtail or stigmatize civil society organizations as well as ongoing attacks, intimidation and harassment of journalists.
In Egypt, CIVICUS and Elma7 Rosa for Media, Arts and Advocacy, discuss the growing repression of civil society and free speech including persistent imprisonment, disappearances and attacks against peaceful protestors, dissenters and independent journalists since the revolution of 25 January 2011.
In Iran, CIVICUS’ joint submission with The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, gravely notes the government’s failure to remove unwarranted restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, and assembly since its previous examination under the UPR in 2010, including the continued use of arbitrary arrest and detention to silence human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists.
In The Gambia, CIVICUS examines the routine use of judicial persecution, arrests and detention of journalists and dissenters for exercising their right to freedom of expression and opinion. CIVICUS further highlights the recent adoption of a spate of restrictive legislation which impose draconian penalties against those who criticize the government.