Five years since genocide, the world must act to ensure justice for Rohingya

In marking the five-year commemoration of the genocide committed against the Rohingya in 2017, 384 civil society organisations reaffirm our commitment to continue to stand in solidarity with and seek justice for the Rohingya, to ensure the full restoration of their rights in Myanmar, and to end the impunity of the Myanmar military. The plight of the Rohingya must not be forgotten.


Over 150 organisations demand international community stand against raids and closures of 7 Palestinian organisations

Amid Israel’s escalating attacks targeting their work, a group of more than 150 Palestinian, regional, and international organisations express our full solidarity with the designated seven leading Palestinian civil society organisations, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees (HWC),the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).


Malaysia: Ismail Sabri’s government is undermining fundamental freedoms

Ismail Sabri

One year after Ismail Sabri took over as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, ARTICLE 19 and CIVICUS are concerned about systematic attempts by his government to restrict and undermine fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.


Joint Letter to Bahrain King: Free 400-day hunger striker Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace

King of Bahrain, Shaikh Hamad bin 'Issa Al Khalifa

Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa

Your Majesties,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you concerning Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, an academic, activist and blogger imprisoned in Bahrain whose health is declining rapidly. We respectfully urge you to secure Al-Singace’s immediate and unconditional release, and in the meantime, ensure he receives proper medical care, is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and that his academic work is transferred to his family.

Abduljalil Al-Singace, 60, is serving a life sentence for his role in peaceful protests calling for democratic reform in Bahrain in 2011. He has been imprisoned for almost 12 years solely for exercising his human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Al-Singace has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021 and has now exceeded 400 days without solid food. We are deeply concerned by the current state of his health as his blood sugar has reached an extremely low level. We are especially concerned that in flagrant disregard of his physicians’ orders, the delivery of multiple essential prescribed medicines has either been delayed or denied, including pills necessary for his nervous system and bodily functions, and eye drops.

Al-Singace suffers from post-polio syndrome and multiple other health problems, including severe intermittent headaches, a prostate problem, arthritis in his shoulder joint, tremors, numbness, and diminished eyesight. In January 2022, his neurologist requested a CT scan, but the authorities have reportedly refused the request to have the procedure performed at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, run by the Health Ministry. Instead, the authorities insist that the test be conducted at the King Hamad Military Hospital. But he does not believe that he would receive adequate and timely healthcare at King Hamad Military Hospital, given that he has yet to be informed of the result of an MRI scan of his shoulder taken there in October 2021. This delay amounts to a deliberate failure to provide healthcare in line with Bahrain’s obligations under international law. Given his fragility and pre-existing health problems, this denial of healthcare puts his life at risk and may lead to irreversible damage. Therefore, we call on the government to immediately provide him with adequate healthcare.

Al-Singace’s hunger strike is in response to the prison authorities’ confiscation of his book on Bahraini dialects of Arabic that he spent four years researching and writing by hand. 

On 18 July 2021, the authorities transferred him from Jau prison to the Kanoo Medical Centre, where he continues to be held. The same month, the Bahrain Ministry of Interior Ombudsman declared that his book could not be turned over to his family until a “legal decision” about its contents was made. In November 2021, a legal decision clarified the apolitical nature of the book, but government authorities have yet to return the book to his family. In March 2022, an Ombudsman representative visited Al-Singace, made baseless allegations about the book's content and asked him to edit and resubmit the book for the authorities to review.

In July 2022, the UN Human Rights Committee repeated its call to the government of Bahrain to release Al-Singace along with other unjustly imprisoned human rights defenders including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel. Today, on 13 August, Al-Singace marks 12 years since his initial arrest in 2010. He was subsequently unjustly re-imprisoned after a brief hiatus of 21 days in early 2011 and was re-arrested on 17 March 2011 during the uprising. Today also marks the 401st day of Al-Singace’s hunger strike.

We call upon you to release Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace immediately and unconditionally. We also urge you to ensure he receives his medication without delay and has access to adequate healthcare, in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent, and is protected from torture and other ill-treatment. We also call on you to ensure that his work is immediately handed over to his family.


  1. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
  2. Amnesty International
  3. Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) 
  4. ​​Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) 
  6. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  7. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  8. English PEN
  9. European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
  10. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
  11. Human Rights Watch
  12. Freedom House
  13. PEN International 
  14. Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED)
  15. Scholars at Risk


Upon his return from London with his family, Dr. Al-Singace was arrested at the Bahrain International Airport on 13 August 2010. A detailed account of his torture allegations can be found in a report by Human Rights Watch published on 1 September 2010, which states:

“Al-Singace, who had spent the previous 15 days in incommunicado detention, told al-Buainain of having been handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time. Al-Singace said that his captors beat him on his fingers with a hard instrument, slapped him around, and pulled and twisted his nipples and ears with tongs.”

When the Arab spring erupted in Bahrain, government authorities released Al-Singace on 24 February 2011. However, he was soon rearrested 21 days later, on 17 March 2011. Since then, Al-Singace has remained in arbitrary detention.

In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry documented in a report that the police subjected Dr. Al-Singace to nightly beatings for two months while they held him in solitary confinement. The commission said that the  authorities targeted his disability by confiscating his crutches, making him “stand on one leg for prolonged periods” and by pushing his crutch “into his genitals.” The commission also found that the  authorities “threatened him with rape and made sexually explicit comments about his wife and his daughter.”


Guinea: Release human rights defenders and lift restrictions on freedom of assembly

The use of violence and the killing of demonstrators to disperse ongoing protests in Guinea entrenches impunity and is a major setback for the fragile transition, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today. Human rights groups report that at least five people were killed and several injured as the armed forces in Guinea used violence to disperse protesters on 28 and 29 July 2022. 


FIJI: Contempt proceedings over highlighting spelling mistake inject climate of fear

Amnesty International and CIVICUS call on the Fiji government to drop contempt charges against a lawyer in Fiji for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression. On 27 June 2022, Fiji’s Attorney General filed charges for contempt of court against senior lawyer Richard Naidu for highlighting on social media an error in a court judgment where the word ‘injection’ was used instead of ‘injunction’. Amnesty International and CIVICUS believe that the charges are an excessive and politically motivated response to pointing out a spelling error in a court judgment and violate the right to freedom of expression.


Uganda: Reverse the suspension of LGBT organisation

CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world is seriously concerned about a recent decision by the Ugandan authorities to suspend the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), an organisation that has for years championed the rights of LGBT people in Uganda. 

On 5 August 2022, Stephen Okello, Executive Director of the National Bureau for NGOs, a government agency that regulates the operations of NGOs, suspended the operations of SMUG with immediate effect, accusing it of working illegally, without a valid NGO Permit. The government of Uganda is obliged to protect and promote the rights of its citizens and create an enabling environment for civil society organisations to operate by removing any undue restrictions on the right to freedom of association. 
“The suspension of this organisation is a new low for human rights in a country that has continuously failed to respect fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association. This is intended to silence civil society voices committed to defending human rights of LGBT community in Uganda. Ugandan authorities should immediately reverse this decision and allow SMUG to resume their work,” said Mawethu Nkosana, LGBTI Advocacy  Lead for CIVICUS., 

The closure and suspension of Sexual Minorities Uganda follows several attacks, restrictions, and harassments imposed on NGOs, particularly LGBTQ organisations.  Uganda is a deeply “conservative and religious” society where LGBT people face general hostility. Homosexuality remains illegal and gay people face arrest, ostracism and violence. The country's parliament once passed an anti-gay law that handed out life sentences for some categories of homosexual offences. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has always criticised and attacked gay people as disgusting and social deviants running “social imperialism”. 

The NGO Bureau has imposed the current restrictions on SMUG at a time when the government has deliberately closed one of the biggest basket funds - Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), a major funder of civil society organisations in Uganda. CIVICUS calls on the government of President Yoweri Museveni to rescind the suspensions of SMUG, respect its international human rights obligations, and create an enabling environment for all civil society organisation and human rights defenders.

The CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society in countries across the globe, rates civic space – the space for civil society – in Uganda as repressed


Sri Lanka: end government crackdown on peaceful protesters

Anti government protesters gather in the street during protests in Galle Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images 1407702727

We, the undersigned organizations, condemn the Sri Lankan authorities' violent crackdown and increasing reprisals against peaceful protesters in Sri Lanka. This includes arrests, intimidation and the brutal attack on the protest camp in Colombo on 22 July 2022. The Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that security forces do not use excessive force and will respect the rights of peaceful protesters at the ‘Gotagogama’ site, which authorities have ordered to be vacated by 5:00 pm on 5 August 2022.[1]


28 CSOs condemn the continued blocking of Al-Manassa’s website and dozens of other news websites

The undersigned civil society organisations condemn the blocking by the Egyptian authorities of three links to access the Al-Manassa website within approximately 72 hours, starting from Thursday, 14 July. The blocking occurs as part of a series of continued restrictions on the website, which is one of the few independent news sites operating from inside Egypt. The undersigned organisations call on the authorities to lift the blocking of Al-Manassa, stop its repeated targeting, and bring to an end the censorship imposed on other news websites.


Joint statement: the European Union must address reprisals against human rights defenders in India

The joint European Union (EU)-India press release, which provides a summary of the topics discussed during the 10th EU-India human rights dialogue which took place on 15 July 2022 in New Delhi, fails to adequately address pressing issues of security and reprisals faced by human rights defenders in India, five human rights organisations said today. The organisations expressed their disappointment in the EU’s apparent failure to raise concern about the systematic attacks on civil society actors in India.

While both parties reiterated their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in the joint EU-India press release, there was no mention of any concrete action to be taken to ensure the ending of reprisals and persecution against human rights defenders, the release of jailed defenders and to prevent the adoption and abuse of restrictive laws, including anti-terror laws.

The joint EU-India press release from the dialogue makes specific mention to “the importance of safeguarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors, including human rights defenders and journalists, and respecting freedom of association and peaceful assembly”. While this is an important acknowledgment, it must be backed by corresponding action to end persecution and immediately release jailed human rights defenders.

Indian rights defenders need immediate support and an end to systematic attacks, threats and arbitrary arrests. Of the 16 defenders arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case, 13 remain in jail. On 5 July 2021, 84-year-old Stan Swamy died in custody due to the lack of medical treatment. There has been no public acknowledgment of the State’s complicity in his incarceration and death. Six defenders out of these arrested for participating in the peaceful campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act remain in jail. In November 2021, Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez was arrested and remains incarcerated on spurious charges. In June 2022, Teesta Setalvad was jailed as a direct reprisal for her campaign for accountability and justice for victims of the 2002 Gujarat riot. Many other defenders, including indigenous women seeking justice, are jailed and labelled as terrorists due to their human rights work. The joint EU-India press release fails to address any of these cases, or to acknowledge the general worsening of the human rights situation in India.

The targeting of defenders is well-known, and has a direct impact on their safety, their families, and the communities they represent. Vague commitments on human rights and safeguarding freedoms and defenders no longer suffice. The scale of the violence and punishment for peaceful defense of human rights in India requires a proportionate and public response and a demand for accountability for continued violations. In the face of the blatant disregard for national standards and international commitments, particularly important in light of India’s global presence and membership to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the EU must take a public stand on patterns of reprisals and individual cases.

The joint EU-India press release also recognizes “the importance of strengthening national and international human rights mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights and the important role of national human rights institutions, civil society actors and journalists”. However, it falls short of addressing laws in India that are routinely used to target human rights defenders and the failure of the National Human Rights Commission of India to proactively intervene in cases where defenders are targeted. The use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) and their impact on the human rights defenders’ ability to work safely requires more direct and public attention. The FCRA has been used to block much needed funds, freeze bank accounts, and subject NGOs to investigations, creating a chilling effect for civil society.

We acknowledge the EU-India human rights dialogue as an opportunity for both parties to speak on important issues of human rights. However, recognition of the work of human rights defenders and of marginalized communities in the country will be visible based on tangible outcomes, including public statements that reflect clear human rights benchmarks. Failure to do so is a missed opportunity and may serve to further embolden India to violate human rights with impunity.

We call on the EU and member states to ensure that there is strong follow up to the dialogue and a commitment to hold India accountable for its treatment of human rights defenders in the country. The targeting of defenders through the use of national institutions, including arbitrary arrests and judicial harassment, must be strongly condemned and individual cases should be publicly raised. The EU must also support human rights defenders by observing trials and undertaking visits to defenders in prisons. Effective protection for human rights defenders requires adhering to concrete human rights standards and taking action beyond the annual human rights dialogue between parties.


  • Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  • Front Line Defenders
  • World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  • International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Civic space in India is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor. 


Myanmar: Execution of four democracy activists highlights junta’s brutality

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the execution carried out by the military junta against four pro-democracy activists in Myanmar. We call on the international community, including ASEAN states, to publicly denounce these grave violations committed by the junta and to hold them accountable for their crimes.


Malawi: respect human rights and allow peaceful protest

The government of Malawi must stop the clampdown on peaceful protests and respect the rights of its citizens to voice concerns which is in line with the country’s national and international human rights obligations, said the global civil society alliance CIVICUS, today. On 20 July 2022, Malawians took to the streets to express their views against “selective justice” by the country’s judiciary over corruption cases and the high cost of living. Protesters are concerned by the selective application of the rule of law, and judiciary’s failure to prosecute corrupt politicians.

Malawian authorities have resorted to using extreme violence and brutal attacks to respond to the protests. About 76 protesters, including human rights activists, were arrested by police on 20 July 2022, after participating in a peaceful protest in Lilongwe, and subsequently charged for inciting violence, unlawful assembly, and contempt of court. Protesters argue that the government’s stance on combating corruption is slow and often selective, leaving highly connected politicians free while less connected citizens are harassed and not given due justice as guaranteed by the constitution. Many protesters were brutally beaten and detained in police stations, with reports of serious torture in the detention facilities.

In response to the protests, security forces brutally arrested four leaders of the Human Rights Ambassadors group, which organised the demonstrations. Police used teargas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition to quell the protests.

“The government of President Lazarus Chakwera is starting to resort to the same levels of violence as the previous government. More protests are planned for the future and the Malawian authorities must respect the right of its citizens to express themselves about issues affecting them as enshrined in the Malawian constitution and international human rights frameworks that Malawi is party to.” said Paul Mulindwa, Advocacy and Campaigns Africa Lead for CIVICUS.


In March, activists supported by peaceful citizens organised an anti-corruption demonstration in Lilongwe. In response, police tear-gassed, arrested and detained many of the peaceful protesters. Malawi is a constitutional republic and has ratified and domesticated several regional and international human rights instruments. However, Malawi’s police have in recent times used violence and brutal force against protesters. Persistent cases of reported corruption continue to hinder rule of law, justice and economic development of citizens. Significant human rights abuses by police include degrading treatment of women, such as rape; arbitrary arrest or detention; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and serious acts of corruption. The inadequate justice system, along with dire socio-economic conditions and widespread perception of pervasive corruption, continue to undermine good governance, a culture of human rights, justice and equality, as promised by President Chakwera to the people of Malawi in 2019.

Civic space in Malawi is rated as Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor


Maldives: amend provision in the evidence act that compels journalists to reveal sources

The undersigned 10 organizations call on the government of Maldives to repeal or amend the deeply problematic provision in the Evidence Act (Act No. 11/2022) that compels journalists to reveal sources on court orders and to ensure the rights to privacy, freedom of expression and the press in line with international human rights law.


CIVICUS calls for the release of Eswatini MPs before the anniversary of their detention

  • Calls for the release of Eswatini MPs Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube
  • 25 July marks their one-year anniversary in detention 
  • MPs feature in  #StandAsMyWitness global human rights campaign
  • Regional SADC conference to address political unrest postponed

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Eswatini members of parliament Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube ahead of their one-year anniversary in detention.

Bacede and Mthandeni were detained on 25 July 2021 following protests demanding political reforms and charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act and for flouting Covid-19 regulations. They feature in CIVICUS’s global #StandAsMyWitness campaign, calling for the release of activists in prison or facing pre-trial detention after protecting and promoting human rights. 

“CIVICUS calls for the immediate release of Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, and all charges against them dropped. As MPs, it is their duty to peacefully demand democratic reform and speak out against repression - freedom of speech is not a crime. Their detention has been politically motivated, fuelled by a crisis sweeping Eswatini - they should not spend another night behind bars,” said David Kode, CIVICUS Advocacy and Campaigns Lead.

Pro-democracy and anti-police protests swept Eswatini in June 2021 after the unexplained death of 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye, allegedly at the hands of the police. Over 1,000 people were arrested and the security forces called in to stamp out dissent. Political unrest followed and in recent months the landlocked Southern African country has experienced a so-called ‘winter revolution’ - journalists have been targeted and there have been clashes between the authorities and protesters calling for government and monarchical reforms.                                                                      

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit to discuss political unrest sweeping the country was due to take place on 21 July but cancelled when Eswatini’s King Mswati III failed to appear in person. Campaigners believe King Mswati, Africa’s last absolute monarch, has thwarted calls for reform and suppressed political activism for years. His failure to attend the recent SADC conference was seen as a further blow to democracy.

“We urge King Mswati to come to the table and start a national political dialogue with members of the opposition and civil society leaders as soon as possible; we call on Eswatini to stop suppressing dissent and silencing protesters and urge the government to overhaul rights and democracy in the country, starting with the release of all activists and human rights defenders currently behind bars,” said Kode.

Human rights defenders across the world are risking their lives for social, political, economic, gender and environmental justice. There are currently 21 human rights defenders in CIVICUS’s #StandAsMyWitness campaign - collectively, they have been in prison for half a century. 

Aswell as Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, they include Bahrainian political activist Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja, sentenced after pro-democracy protests in 2011; Mexican Kenia Hernandez, an Indigenous land rights campaigner sentenced to a decade of imprisonment in 2022; and human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov from Tajikistan, sentenced to 28 years in 2015.

“CIVICUS renews our calls to governments to release activists and human rights defenders. We urge people around the world to join the #StandAsMyWitness campaign and fight for their freedom - sign a petition, post on social media or lobby your government. Activists behind bars are asking you to #StandAsMyWitness.” 

So far, #StandAsMyWitness has teamed up with activists and civil society organisations across the world and successfully seen the release of 20 human rights defenders.

Those released include Loujain al-Hathloul from Saudi Arabia, a women’s rights activist convicted for driving a car; celebrated Indian human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj; and Kazakhstan’s Asya Tulesova, arrested for knocking off a police officer's hat.

To find out more about the #StandAsMyWitness campaign, visit CIVICUS’s campaign webpage: Stand As My Witness.


Sri Lanka: Brutal attack against peaceful protesters by security forces

Joint Statement

Five human rights organizations strongly condemned the brutal attack against unarmed peaceful protesters by Sri Lankan forces in Colombo in the early hours of 22 July 2022 . Since March 2022, thousands of people including human rights defenders, journalists, and members of civil society have been protesting peacefully across the country against the government’s mismanagement of the economy amid a deepening economic and financial crisis that has led to skyrocketing prices and shortages of fuel, food, and other basic necessities. On numerous occasions, the authorities responded with unnecessary and disproportionate force, arrest, misinformation, and threats against protesters, including human rights defenders. The violence on 22 July 2022 occurred less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the country’s new President. Mr. Wickremesinghe succeeded Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country on 13 July and resigned a day later. The unnecessary and disproportionate force used against unarmed civilians is a clear violation of Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations under international law and is inconsistent with international human rights standards.

Protesters across the country have been peacefully demanding accountability, an end to corruption, and the abolition of the executive presidency, which protesters say it serves to centralize state power. Human rights defenders in the North and East of Sri Lanka have been demanding accountability for many years without redress. In recent days, protesters have also been calling for the resignation of Ranil Wickeremasinghe, widely believed to be an ally of his predecessor. Shortly after being sworn in as President, on 18 July, Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a State of Emergency in the country curtailing freedom of assembly and judicial safeguards of those arrested.

At around 1:30am on 22 July 2022, security forces including members of the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force, police, and the Special Task Force, surrounded the “Gota Go Gama” (GGG) protest site in Colombo which had been occupied by demonstrators for over a hundred days. Witness accounts and footage from the protest site revealed the extent of the violence used by security forces against the protesters, with some of them being beaten and dragged, while others pleaded for mercy. Nine protesters were arrested and granted bail on the same day. At least 14 protesters were hospitalized. Among those arrested was a well known human rights lawyer. Journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders including women, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community were assaulted. Materials and electronic devices belonging to protesters were destroyed. Troops barricaded all entrances to the protest site and used violence and threats to prevent access to journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, and medical personnel. The violence took place after the protesters had already announced their decision to peacefully handover the Presidential Secretariat building at 2 pm the same day to the government. This building had been occupied by protesters since 9 July 2022. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka have condemned the violence against protesters.

Reprisals, including through the use of force against peaceful protesters, have increased especially in response to the demonstrations. Human rights defenders and survivors in the North and East have long faced worse reprisals and violence with relatively less attention. In Colombo, on 9 May 2022, pro-government mobs attacked peaceful protesters in Colombo and at least 1,500 people were arrested in connection with the violence. On 9 July 2022, around 11 journalists were severely injured while covering the protests.

We are gravely concerned about the security forces’ violent crackdown on peaceful protests in Sri Lanka. We condemn the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force and call for an independent, impartial, and thorough inquiry into such actions and to hold those responsible accountable. and to release protesters who have been arrested.


  • Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  • Front Line Defenders
  • International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  • South Asians for Human Rights

Civic space in Sri Lanka is rated as Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor


Sri Lanka: State of emergency must not be used to curtail fundamental freedoms

CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, is concerned with the declaration of a state of emergency by the prime minister’s office in Sri Lanka on 13 July and again by the Acting President on 18 July. Our organisation urges the Sri Lankan authorities to refrain from using the state of emergency to stifle dissent and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced on 9 July 2022 that he would step down on 13 July to ensure a ‘peaceful transition of power’ after about 100,000 protesters gathered outside the president’s official residence, amid the worst economic crisis in decades. He then fled Sri Lanka and appointed prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe to be acting president. This led to thousands of anti-government protesters storming Wickremesinghe's office on 13 July calling for him to step down as police and troops fired tear gas and water cannons. Protesters also broke into the main state television station and briefly took over broadcasts.

In response, the authorities announced a state of emergency, the third since the anti-government protests began in March 2022, under the pretext of safeguarding national security. Police imposed an indefinite curfew across the Western Province, which includes Colombo, "to contain the situation". Wickremesinghe also announced that a committee consisting of the chief of defense staff, army, navy, and air force commanders, and the inspector general of police had been appointed to ‘restore order’ and called the protesters ‘fascists’.

Another state of emergency was declared across the island on 18 July ‘in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community’. The Sri Lankan parliament is scheduled to deliberate to elect a new president on 20 July.

During previous states of emergency in April and May 2022 to quell the protests, human rights groups documented various abuses by security forces including the arbitrary arrests of protesters,  use of excessive  and lethal force, the targeting of activists, violence against journalists who were reporting on the situation, and restrictions on access to social media.

“It is alarming that the authorities have once again resorted to using emergency regulations to stifle protests in the name of national security. During previous states of emergency, we witnessed the arbitrary arrests of hundreds, excessive force against protesters and even incidents of torture or ill-treatment in detention. The authorities must lift the state of emergency immediately, end all restrictions on fundamental freedoms and stop the vilification of protesters,” said Cornelius Hanung, Asia Advocacy and Campaigns Officer of CIVICUS.

The violations against protesters are part of a broader trend of attacks on civic space under the Rajapaksa administration that civil society has documented in recent years including the targeting of activists and critics, the use of the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the harassment of Tamil war victims’ families and civil society organisations and failure to hold officials accountable for conflict-era crimes under international law.

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Sri Lanka must adhere to its obligation to uphold fundamental freedoms enshrined in the treaty, particularly freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.

“We condemn the continued use of excessive force against protesters under the pretext of maintaining law and order and other abuses by security forces. Any new government must ensure an independent and impartial investigation into all these violations and perpetrators must be held accountable. Continued impunity will only further erode human rights and the rule of law” Cornelius Hanung said.

In June 2022, Sri Lanka was added by the CIVICUS Monitor to a watchlist of countries that have seen a rapid decline in civic freedoms.

Civic space in Sri Lanka is rated as Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor


Indonesia: Draft law of criminal code negatively impacts fundamental freedoms

Statement in Indonesian

Joint statement: Hold public consultations on the revised draft of the Criminal Code and repeal restrictive provisions

We, the undersigned organizations, are alarmed by provisions in the draft amendments of the Indonesian Criminal Code, recently made public, that will negatively impact civic space and fundamental freedoms in the country. We call for these provisions to be repealed and for the Indonesian government and parliament to conduct public consultations before adopting the draft amendments.

On 6 July 2022, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights handed over the finalized draft of the amendment of the Criminal Code to the parliament for further discussions. Civil society groups had raised concerns since 2019 around the inaccessibility of the draft amendments to the public, rendering meaningful participation in the decision-making process impossible.

The fact that the draft has been made available only recently shows the government’s lack of commitment to uphold transparency and inclusivity for all stakeholders, including civil society, to engage and voice their concerns.  Our organizations believe that this clearly undermines fundamental democratic principles that Indonesia has always claimed to the world it stands for.

In the recent draft, it is apparent that provisions that will undermine civic space still exist. These include Articles 218 and 219 (defamation and insults against the President and Vice President), Articles 240 and 241 (defamation and insults against the government), as well as Article 351 and 352 (defamation and insults against public authorities and State institutions) which will carry the punishment of imprisonment for committing such offenses.

All these provisions are vaguely and broadly drafted, giving the government and its authorities unfettered discretion that will significantly curb freedom of speech and expression in the country. This will substantially create a chilling effect on those exercising their rights while simultaneously creating a culture of self-censor and a climate of fear.

The draft also contains provisions (Article 256) that will criminalize individuals who organize peaceful protests without notification with fines and up to six months imprisonment. The provision will create further barriers to peaceful demonstrators who have already been facing harassment and violence by state authorities in numerous instances documented by CIVICUS.

Civil society groups in Indonesia have been advocating for the repeal of such provisions from the current draft since 2019, without success, as the government has remained adamant to push them through. If parliament adopts the current draft, this will be considered a significant breach of Indonesia’s human rights obligations, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a party. The Covenant recognizes that limitation of fundamental freedoms should only be done when strictly necessary and in a proportionate manner. Such vague and overbroad provisions are clearly not consistent with the ICCPR.

We note that during the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle for Indonesia in 2017, the recommendation to repeal or amend and end prosecutions of problematic articles in the Criminal Code has been conveyed several times by many countries. Yet to date, these recommendations are still far from full implementation, given that the government preserved the emblematic articles instead. Given the upcoming review session of Indonesia, which coincided with Indonesia’s Chairship to the G20 Summit, we urge the government to meaningfully implement those recommendations to ensure civic spaces are preserved without further harm to those who are exercising their fundamental freedoms.

Our organizations call on the government to repeal all the problematic provisions from the draft amendment of the Criminal Code, provide adequate time for civil society and other stakeholders to review and provide feedback on it before adoption and ensure the law is in line with Indonesia’s human rights obligations. Adopting the draft as it currently is will only accelerate the democratic backsliding being witnessed in the country.


  1. AccessNow
  2. ALTSEAN-Burma
  3. Amnesty International Indonesia
  4. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, legally registered as Southeast Asia Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Caucus (ASC), Inc
  5. Asia Democracy Network
  6. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
  7. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  8. Association for Civil Rights in Israel
  9. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
  10. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  11. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  12. Franciscans International
  13. Free Expression Myanmar
  14. Human Rights Law Centre
  15. Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
  16. Karapatan Alliance Philippines
  17. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
  18. Manushya Foundation
  19. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)
  20. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  21. The Legal Resources Centre
  22. The William Gomes Podcast, United Kingdom
  23. Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
  24. Yayasan Perlindungan Insani Indonesia
  25. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)

Civic space in Indonesia is rated as Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor 


Egypt: Uphold rights to free expression at environmental summit


36 organisations urge Egyptian authorities to end crackdown on civil society organisations and peaceful protests for a successful COP27

Egyptian authorities should ease their grip on civic space and uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly to enable a successful climate summit, known as the COP27, in Egypt, 36 organisations said today.


Sierra Leone: stop violence against peaceful protesters and respect democratic rights of citizens

The government of Sierra Leone must stop the brutal repression of peaceful protests and respect the rights of its citizens to engage in demonstrations which is in line with the country’s international human rights obligations, said the global civil society alliance CIVICUS today. Over the past few weeks Sierra Leoneans took to the streets to express their views about the unprecedented economic hardship, brazen political intimidation, human rights violations, and high levels of corruption. They also expressed concerns over the selective application of the rule of law, and government’s control of the judiciary. The ongoing protests for democratic and economic reforms is a culmination of years of socio-economic challenges and marked increases in the cost of living.


India: Halt harassment and release human rights defender Teesta Setalvad

Free Teesta Protests Gallo

CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, condemns the recent arrest of Teesta Setalvad and calls on the government of India to stop targeting human rights defenders. The arrest is the latest attempt by the Modi government to criminalise activists and undermine civic space in the country.


Singapore: Drop investigations and cease harassment against human rights defenders

Seven (7) human rights organisations urgently call on the Singaporean authorities to drop their criminal investigations of human rights defenders Kirsten Han and Rocky Howe and cease harassing them through legal processes for their work.


Ecuador: Human rights at risk as protests are violently repressed

The use of violence to restrict ongoing protests in Ecuador and the refusal of the government to heed the demands of the protesters further threatens fundamental freedoms, Global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today. 


Civil Society holding the line in contested times: 2022 CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report

Published at the halfway point of 2022, the State of Civil Society Report shines a light on a time of immense upheaval and contestation. Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine has directly blighted the lives of millions but is also sending echoes of disruption around the world, as soaring food and fuel prices pile further misery on communities already hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic and extreme weather caused by climate change.

The report finds hope, however, in the many mobilisations for change around the world: the mass protests, campaigns and people’s movements for justice, and the many grassroots initiatives defending rights and helping those most in need. Civil society is striving by all means available to make a difference.

Five key trends

The report identifies five key current trends of global significance:

  1. Rising costs of fuel and food are spurring public anger and protests at economic mismanagement
  2. Democracy is under assault but positive changes are still being won
  3. Advances are being made in fighting social inequality despite attacks
  4. Civil society is keeping up the pressure for climate action
  5. Current crises are exposing the inadequacies of the international governance system


1. Rising costs of fuel and food are spurring public anger and protests at economic mismanagement
Governments around the world are failing to protect people from the impacts of massive price rises worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Public anger at a dysfunctional economic system, poverty and economic inequality and corruption is rising. Mass protests are the result. In Sri Lanka, widespread protests against economic mismanagement led to resignation of the prime minister. In Iran people are demanding fundamental change as food prices soar. In Kazakhstan over 200 people were killed with impunity following protests over fuel price rises. But people will continue to protest out of necessity even in the many countries where fundamental freedoms are repressed and state violence is inevitable.

2. Democracy is under assault but positive changes are still being won
Institutions and traditions of democracy are under increasing attack. Coups are imperilling hard-fought gains. The military has gained power in multiple countries, including Burkina Faso and Sudan. In several others, including El Salvador and Tunisia, elected presidents are removing democratic checks on power. Entirely fraudulent elections have been held in countries as different as Nicaragua and Turkmenistan. Autocratic nationalists have triumphed in elections in countries including Hungary and the Philippines. But at the same time there have been successful mobilisations to defend democracy, not least in the Czech Republic and Slovenia, where people voted out political leaders who fostered divisiveness in favour of fresh and broad-based alternatives. Progressive leaders promising to advance social justice have won power in countries such as Chile and Honduras. In many contexts, including Costa Rica and Peru, a prevailing sentiment of dissatisfaction is leading to a rejection of incumbency and willingness to embrace candidates who run as outsiders and promise disruption.

3. Advances are being made in fighting social inequality despite attacks
In politically turbulent times, and despite severe pushback by anti-rights groups, progress has been achieved in advancing women’s and LGBTQI+ rights. The USA, where neoconservative forces are emboldened, is ever more isolated on sexual and reproductive rights as several other countries in the Americas, including Colombia and Mexico, have eased abortion restrictions following civil society advocacy. Opportunistic politicians continue to seek political advantage in vilifying LGBTQI+ people, but globally the normalisation of LGBTQI+ rights is spreading. Most recently, the people of Switzerland overwhelmingly voted in favour of an equal marriage law. Even in hostile contexts such as Jamaica important advances have come through civil society’s engagement in regional human rights systems. But when it comes to fighting for migrants’ rights, only Ukrainian refugees in Europe are being received with anything like the kind of compassion all such people deserve, and otherwise the dominant global sentiment is hostility. Nonetheless, a new generation is forging movements to advance racial justice and demand equity for excluded people.

4. Civil society is keeping up the pressure for climate action
A young and diverse generation is the same social force that continues to make waves on climate change. As extreme weather gets more common, the brunt of the climate crisis continues to fall disproportionately on the most excluded populations who have done the least to cause the problem. Governments and companies are failing to act, and urgent action on emissions cuts to meet the size of the challenge is being demanded by civil society movements, including through mass marches, climate strikes and non-violent civil disobedience. Alongside these, climate litigation is growing, leading to significant legal breakthroughs, such as the judgment in the Netherlands that forced Shell to commit to emissions cuts. Shareholder activism towards fossil fuel firms and funders is intensifying, with pension funds coming under growing pressure to divest from fossil fuels.

5. Current crises are exposing the inadequacies of the international governance system
Russia’s war on Ukraine is the latest crisis, alongside recent conflicts in the Sahel, Syria and Yemen, among others, to expose the failure of global institutions to protect people and prevent conflict. The UN Security Council is hamstrung by the veto-wielding role of Russia as one of its five permanent members, although a special session of the UN General Assembly yielded a resolution condemning the invasion. Russia has rightly been suspended from the UN Human Rights Council, but this peak human rights body remains dominated by rights-abusing states. If the UN is to move from helping to prevent crises rather than trying to react to them, effective civil society engagement is needed. The world as it stands today, characterised by crisis and volatility, needs a UN prepared to work with civil society, since civil society continues to seek and secure vital progress for humanity.

About the report

This is the 11th annual State of Civil Society Report, published by global civil society alliance CIVICUS. This year’s report takes a shorter and more accessible format. It draws from stories published by our rolling commentary and analysis initiative, CIVICUS Lens, and from over 120 interviews with civil society activists, leaders and experts who are close to the important issues of the day. 


CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. CIVICUS has over 10,000 members across the globe.

Andrew Firmin, Editor in Chief, CIVICUS

Ines Pousadela, Senior Research Advisor, CIVICUS

For media inquiries and interviews please contact


Brazil: Ensure justice for Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips and act to protect Indigenous rights defenders


Authorities in Brazil must thoroughly investigate the brutal murders of Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips in the Javari Valley (Amazonas state) and act to protect Indigenous territories and defenders, global civil society alliance, CIVICUS said today.

Pereira and Phillips went missing on 5th June as they returned from a reporting trip on the Itaquaí River, in the northern Amazonas state. The response of the Brazilian authorities to their disappearance was slow, and initial search efforts were largely led by Indigenous defenders of the União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari (UNIJAVA). Late last week, authorities confirmed that Pereira and Phillips’ bodies were found after a suspect confessed his involvement in the crime. The pair were ambushed by members of an illegal fishing operation in protected areas of the Javari Valley, which Phillips had reportedly photographed a day earlier. 

These devastating killings are not an isolated event as Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries for land and environmental defenders. At least 20 environmental defenders were killed in 2020, according to Global Witness. These attacks reflect the Bolsonaro government neglect toward Indigenous territories and his administration’s active effort to dismantle Brazil’s environmental governance institutions. Shortly before his killing, Pereira had spoken to a journalist about Bolsonaro’s efforts to undermine Brazil’s Indigenous affairs agency (FUNAI), of which he had taken unpaid leave after being sidelined for leading a successful operation against illegal mining inside Yanomami territory. Maxciel dos Santos, another Indigenous protection agent, was shot and killed in the Amazonas state in September 2019. The murder remains unsolved three years on.

Bruno Pereira was a civil servant who formerly headed the effort to protect Indigenous peoples who live in voluntary isolation. He had recently been working directly with Indigenous peoples of the Javari Valley on the protection of their territories through UNIVAJA. Dom Phillips was a British journalist who lived in Brazil for over a decade, and whose reporting increasingly focused on the Amazon rainforest and environmental issues. He was conducting interviews and research for a book about the rainforest’s protection.

We stand in solidarity with Indigenous rights defenders and the families of Pereira and Phillips as they demand justice. Today, environmental groups, Indigenous organisations and civil servants have scheduled protests in front of FUNAI buildings. CIVICUS joins their calls for a thorough investigation to hold all perpetrators accountable. Inquiries must also be made into the role of the Brazilian State in allowing criminal networks to operate with impunity, enabling attacks on Indigenous territories and human rights defenders. We call on the international community to express their support for environmental and Indigenous rights defenders in Brazil, and the journalists’ whose important work shines a light on the risks they face.

The CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society in countries across the globe, rates civic space – the space for civil society – in Brazil as obstructed. 


In his electoral campaign, President Jair Bolsonaro vowed to “end all activism in Brazil.” Since he took office in 2019, Indigenous communities and environmental and land rights defenders have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks, as the government emboldens criminal groups that engage in illegal logging, mining, land grabbing and other activities. Other widely documented attacks include public vilification of CSOs, criminalisation of activists and attempts to monitor critics and discredit the media.


Egypt: Mohamed El-Baqer: 1000 days of arbitrary detention


Human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer must be released immediately and unconditionally, stated 19 human rights organisations. His detention is arbitrary, aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights work and is only putting his life and psychological well-being at serious risk.


Open call to all international actors: Do more to stop internet shutdowns shrouding torchings and killings in Myanmar

Content note: this statement contains references to violence, murder, and potential war crimes.


India: Joint statement on the deteriorating health of G. N. Saibaba in Nagpur Central Jail

Seven human rights organisations expressed concerns about the deteriorating health of the activist and Delhi University professor Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba in Nagpur Central Jail, Maharashtra State, and called on the Indian authorities to provide urgent access to health care.


European Commission work programme 2023: The need to include the development of a European Civil Society Strategy

 CIVICUS joins call to the European Commission for the development of a European Civil Society Strategy

Ms Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission

cc: Ms Vera Jourova Vice-President of the European Commission

Mr Didier Reynders Commissioner for Justice

We, civil society organisations acting at local, national and European level, call on the European Commission to include in the work programme of 2023 a proposal for a European Civil Society Strategy1.

Civil society organisations, such as citizens’ associations, NGOs and public benefits foundations, and human rights defenders are instrumental to make effective the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and the rights proclaimed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, on a daily basis, both at European and national level.

Our action strives to leave no one behind and is crucial in the area of culture, social care, education, health, anti-corruption, environment, anti-discrimination and much more.

We intervene as democratic antibodies when rights, democracy and the rule of law are under attack.

Our role is key to build public spaces, upscale participatory democracy and channel citizens’ participation.

Our rapid mobilisations and recommendations have been and are essential in the context of the multifaceted crises affecting our societies which each time exacerbate the many vulnerabilities people are confronted with, such as the financial crisis in the early 2010s, the COVID-19 pandemic, the humanitarian crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the environmental catastrophes resulting from the climate emergency.

Unfortunately, evidence from the field2 shows growing obstacles and attacks affecting civil society’s ability to act in full capacities and independence, as research3 and the findings of the European Commission rule of law report4 confirm. As a result of these attacks, our collective European future is jeopardised. 

The ongoing measures and actions taken at the European level in support of civic actors’ activities have mostly been limited in scope and impact. It is now urgent to provide an overarching solution to fill the gaps of existing policies and mainstream positive practices.

The call for a civil society strategy has been a long-term demand of CSOs at European and national level5. This demand is now supported by a European Parliament resolution on the shrinking space for civil society in Europe (2021/2103(INI)) voted with a large majority on 8 March 2022, and recommendation 36.8 of final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe6

We urge the European Commission to consider all this, and in consequence to give substance to the mandate of the Vice President of the European Commission for values and transparency and resources for carrying out a regular, open and transparent civil dialogue - along the provision of Article 11 of the Treaty - and safeguard civil society space by developing, in cooperation with CSOs and human rights defenders, a comprehensive European civil society strategy before the end of the current five-years term.

We remain at your disposal to discuss the overall content of such a strategy, and the steps to be started immediately.

For further communication, you can contact the initiators of the letter: Civil Society Europe (Carlotta Besozzi, ) and European Civic Forum (Alexandrina Najmowicz, ).

 1 European Civic Forum, TOWARDS VIBRANT EUROPEAN CIVIC AND DEMOCRATIC SPACE, The case for a European civil society strategy and preliminary reflections on the gaps, challenges and opportunities to be addressed (2022).

2 European Civic Forum, Civic Space Watch report 2021 - ACTIVIZENSHIP #6 (2022); Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Bringing human rights and Article 2 values to life: the roles, challenges and solutions for civil society (2022); Civil Society Europe, Contribution to 2022 Rule of Law Report (2022); CIVICUS, People Power under attack 2021 (2022): European Youth Forum, Safeguarding civic space for young people in Europe (2022).

3 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Protecting civic space in the EU (2021); Civic space – experiences of organisations in 2019 (2020); Civil society space: views of organisations (2018); Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU (2018).

4 European Commission, 2020 Rule of law report - Communication and country chapters (2020); 2021 Rule of law report | European Commission (2021).

5 Including though CSOs joint statement Civil Society on the Frontline - 5 points for EU action 2019-2024 (2019), Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation, Recommendations for a Comprehensive European Policy and Strategy on Civil Society (2022), final output of the Civil society convention for the future of Europe (2022), Recharging Advocacy for Rights in Europe (RARE)’s Advocacy brief on an European strategy for civil society: recognition, inclusion, protection (2022), HRDN Submission to the European Commission in the framework of the 2nd Annual Rule of Law Review Cycle (2021).

6 Conference on the Future of Europe, Report on the final outcome (2022), p.79.




Zimbabwe: Release abducted activist Obert Masaraure immediately

CIVICUS calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately release Obert Masaraure, an activist and human rights defender. Obert is the president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), which works, among others, to defend the labour rights of teachers. 


Philippines: Government must stop judicial harassment against human rights groups

CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, is alarmed by the ongoing judicial harassment against members of three human rights groups that have been accused of perjury for seeking legal protection from the Supreme Court against government harassment and intimidation.


Kazakhstan downgraded as civic freedoms deteriorate

Russian / Русский

  • Failure of authorities to independently and impartially investigate the Bloody January' 2022 protests, when 200 people were killed and thousands injured
  • Widespread allegations of arbitrary detentions of peaceful protesters, torture and ill-treatment and due process violations in connection with the January events
  • The January events used as a pretext by authorities to target civil society activists, opposition supporters, and journalists

Kazakhstan has been downgraded from Obstructed to Repressed  by the CIVICUS Monitor. A repressed rating is the second worst a country can receive and indicates that fundamental civic freedoms, including the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, are severely restricted. 

The CIVICUS Monitor is a research collaboration tool that rates and tracks respect for fundamental freedoms in 197 countries and territories; rating changes are conducted after a thorough assessment of the state of civic freedoms in the country and come after regular monitoring.

Kazakhstan has been downgraded to ‘repressed’ due to widespread violations of the  freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and expression  during the ‘Bloody January’ protests and in their aftermath.  

“This downgrade comes on the heel of the rapid decline in civic space seen following the January events and is a culmination of a longer-term trend in which civic freedoms have deteriorated in Kazakhstan. It reinforces our concerns about the situation there,’’ said Aarti Narsee, Civic Space Research Officer at CIVICUS. 

In January 2022,  peaceful protests over a sharp increase in fuel prices began in Kazakhstan's Mangystau region and spread to other regions, with thousands of people voicing demands for broader social and political change. Under circumstances which remain unclear, protests escalated into violence. Security forces responded with excessive and lethal force to the protests and the subsequent unrest, and as a result of these events, over 200 people were killed and thousands injured. 

Authorities detained over 10,000 people, including people who were peacefully protesting in connection with the January events. 

Over 5,000 criminal cases have been initiated relating to these events. The CIVICUS Monitor and its research partners International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) are seriously concerned that those charged with rioting and other criminal offences following the January events include activists believed to have been targeted in retaliation for their peaceful and legitimate civic engagement. Additionally, there are widespread allegations of due process violations and torture and ill-treatment of people detained, with eight detainees having died in custody, according to official information.

We are particularly concerned about the failure of authorities to independently investigate the ‘Bloody January’ events, with the investigation process initiated by the government lacking impartiality. While  President Tokayev has vowed that all allegations of abuse in detention will be investigated, authorities have also failed to carry out thorough, impartial and effective investigations into such allegations and to adequately protect victims. It is of further concern that there have been reports about acts of intimidation and harassment of civil society actors working to document and assist victims of violations.

“The authorities must investigate all violations reported in connection with the January events, in full accordance with international standards, and hold accountable all those responsible for unlawful detentions, excessive use of force, torture and other abuses. The authorities must not obstruct civil society efforts to document violations and assist victims but should instead cooperate with such initiatives in the interests of promoting access to truth and justice,’’ said Brigitte Dufour, Director of IPHR.

The CIVICUS Monitor, IPHR and KIBHR are also concerned that the right to peaceful assembly is continuously being restricted in Kazakhstan. The revised law on assemblies, adopted in 2020 de-facto retains the requirement to obtain advance permission for holding assemblies, although it formally provides for a notification procedure. Peaceful protests are regularly dispersed, with protesters being detained and penalised.

Journalists continue to work at the risk of intimidation and harassment, including politically motivated legal cases. During the January events, media workers faced a series of harassment, including physical attacks perpetrated by security forces and non-state actors, resulting in several journalists being injured and one person affiliated with a media outlet being killed. None of those responsible for these attacks are known to have been held accountable.

Authorities have increasingly cracked down on opposition movements, including the two banned movements, the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and the Koshe (Street) Party, and the unregistered Democratic Party of Kazakhstan. People affiliated with these groups are being detained, questioned and prosecuted because of their peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. In a high-profile case, Democratic Party leader Zhanbolat Mamai is currently  facing spurious criminal charges believed to have been initiated to penalise him for his opposition activities.

The continued pattern of persecution of government critics runs contrary to President Tokayev’s recent pledges to create ‘’a new Kazakhstan’’ and promote ‘’political modernization’’.

“If the authorities truly want to create a new Kazakhstan, they should stop persecuting civil society activists, opposition supporters, independent journalists and others who criticise the government and demand democratic and social change. They should release all individuals recognised as political prisoners by human rights groups, and drop the cases against those charged in retaliation for their legitimate exercise of fundamental freedoms,’’ said Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director of KIBHR.




Kazakhstan is now rated Repressed  by the CIVICUS Monitor. There are a total of 50 countries in the world with this rating (see all). This rating is typically given to countries where civic space is heavily contested by power holders, who impose a combination of legal and practical constraints on the full enjoyment of fundamental rights (see the full description of ratings).

*** IPHR and KIBHR cooperate with the CIVICUS Monitor on the preparation of regular updates on civic space developments in Kazakhstan.


Bangladesh: Arbitrary de-registration of prominent human rights group Odhikar another blow to civil society

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are extremely alarmed by the decision of the government to arbitrarily revoke the registration of Odhikar, a leading human rights organisation in Bangladesh. This move is another blow to civil society and human rights defenders who have been facing systematic repression by the Sheikh Hasina regime.


Thailand: Government must immediately and unconditionally drop royal defamation charges against youth activists

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Asia Democracy Network are alarmed by the ongoing judicial harassment against youth pro-democracy activists in Thailand for exercising their rights to expression and peaceful assembly.

As the State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Thailand should guarantee an enabling environment for the public, including human rights defenders and activists, to convey their legitimate criticism instead of criminalising them. 

Two youth pro-democracy activists, Netiporn 'Bung' Sanesangkhon and Nutthanit' Bai Po' Duangmusit, were detained on 3 May 2022 after the Court revoked their bail for their involvement in conducting two polls on the monarchy in February and March 2022. Their requests for bail have been denied.

Recently, the Court granted bail for two other youth activists facing royal defamation charges (Section 112 or Lese Majeste). Activist, Tantawan 'Tawan' Tuatulanon, was granted bail on 26 May 2022 but ordered to wear a monitoring device and not leave her house premises without a court order. Tawan is known for her affiliation with the pro-democracy Draconis Revolution group, continuously advocating to abolish Section 112 (Lese Majeste). She was detained in March 2022 for questioning the monarchy in a live streaming broadcast on social media and faces five counts of resisting officers in the execution of their duty, violating the Computer Crimes Act and royal defamation. While she was initially given bail it was revoked on 20 April 2021 after the police claimed that she had attempted to commit a similar offence following a Facebook post commenting about a royal motorcade and going near the motorcade. Following the prolonged detention by the Court, she went on a 30-day hunger strike. On 20 May, the Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court denied her bail again after prosecutors said they had just received a case file.

The other activist, Sophon 'Get' Surariddhidhamrong was arrested on 1 May 2022 for giving a critical speech during a protest march in the Ratchadamnoen area 10 days earlier. He was denied bail by the South Bangkok Criminal Court and was in a hunger strike for 22 days before the bail granted on 31 May. He faces two other royal defamation charges for his speeches in the Chakri Memorial Day Protest in April and the Labour Day rally on 1 May. Despite being granted bail, the royal defamation charges against Tawan and Get remain.

The cases add to the long list of prosecution under Section 112, which the Thailand Prime Minister revived in 2020 after not being used for three years. Statistics from the Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR) have revealed that at least 190 individuals had been subjected to royal defamation charges between 18 July 2020 and 30 April 2022. At this time, apart from the activists mentioned, at least 5 others are still detained awaiting trial - namely Weha Sanchonchanasuk (since 10 March), Kataporn (since 10 April), Kongphet (since 10 April), Parima (since 11 April) and Pornpoj Chaengkrachang (since 11 April). Also, two activists, Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Sombat Thongyoi, who have sentenced to imprisonment are currently in the appeal process.

The royal defamation charges are not the only law the Thailand government has used to stifle fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Other draconian provisions used include sedition charges under Section 116, charges under the Emergency Decree, charges under the Public Assembly Act, Computer Crime Act, and Contempt of Court, to name a few.

The prolonged pre-trial detention under the royal defamation charge violates Thailand's international human rights obligation under the ICCPR. Article 9 of the Covenant stipulates the State Party's obligation to conduct a trial on criminal offences within a reasonable time. Detention for those awaiting trial should not be mandatory for all defendants charged with a particular crime. Further, the state is obligated to re-examine if the pretrial detention has to be continued, whether it is reasonable and necessary for lawful purposes in the light of possible alternatives. The arrest or detention of legitimate activities of exercising guarantees rights, such as freedom of expression, is considered arbitrary.

Our organisations call for the immediate and unconditional release of these activists and for the government to guarantee a safe and enabling environment for Thai people to express their opinion without fear of reprisal. This includes abolishing provisions and laws, including on royal defamation and sedition charges which are often used to stifle critics.

Civic space in Thailand is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor 


Malaysia: Two years on, still no protection & accountability for Rohingya HRD Zafar Ahmad from harassment and threats

We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned about the situation of stateless Rohingya refugee and human rights defender Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, President of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization (MERHROM), who has been vilified and has received death threats since April 2020 after he was falsely accused of demanding Malaysian citizenship and equal rights for the Rohingya in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Hong Kong: Chow Hang Tung remains in detention for one year since her arrest

Today, we mark a year since the arrest of human rights defender and lawyer Chow Hang Tung.


UAE: Release all prisoners of conscience now

Joint letter calling on the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to intervene immediately in favour of the release of prisoners of conscience.

Your Highness,

We, the undersigned organisations, write to you to urge Your Highness to release prisoners of conscience in UAE prisons and to address this issue decisively.

We appeal to Your Highness as President of the United Arab Emirates to treat the issue of prisoners of conscience as a high priority and consider it an urgent humanitarian situation that requires your direct and immediate intervention.

Your Highness- the absence of such policies, rooted in human rights standards, is a stain on the country’s international reputation and runs counter to the Emirati government's image of the UAE as a country that believes in the values of tolerance and openness. It is the primary responsibility of Your Highness to uphold constitutional principles by putting an end to all human rights violations.

We call on Your Highness to assume full moral and legal obligations and to work for the respect of human rights. Therefore, we appeal to you not only to release all prisoners of conscience in UAE jails but also to ensure that such violations will not be repeated.

Pending their release, we hope that Your Highness will work to demonstrate your commitment to human rights and compliance with international standards for prisoners by granting prisoners of conscience their rights, such as medical care and regular family visits, and ending all forms of violations they are being exposed to.

With great respect and appreciation


  1. ALQST for Human Rights
  2. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
  4. Emirates Detainees Advocacy Centre
  5. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor
  6. European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
  8. Geneva council for rights and liberties
  9. Gulf Centre for Human Rights
  10. HuMENA for Human Rights and Civic Engagement
  11. International Campaign for Justice and Human Rights
  12. International Centre for Justice and Human Rights
  13. MENA Rights group
  14. Skyline International for Human Rights


Ethiopia: Civil society calls for the immediate release of detained journalists

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release 11 journalists and media workers arrested and detained since May 19 in Amhara state and the capital Addis Ababa for doing their work.


Guinea: Civil society calls for the lifting of a ban on assemblies

The decision made by Guinea's transitional authorities to ban public demonstrations in public spaces for the duration of the transitional period seeks to undermine further the right to protest and prevent Guineans from expressing their views about issues affecting them. 


Madagascar: Drop all charges against environmental rights defender Jeannot Randriamanana

Ahead of the next appeals hearing in the case involving Malagasy environmental human rights defender Jeannot Randriamanana scheduled for 14 June 2022, the global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls on the authorities to drop all charges against him and stop persecuting human rights defenders. 


The DRC: CIVICUS calls for the immediate release of journalists Patrick Lola and Christian Bofaya

CIVICUS calls on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) authorities to immediately release journalists and activists Patrick Lola and Christian Bofaya, arrested for doing their job. Patrick and Christian have been arbitrarily detained without charge for five months in the central prison of Mbandaka, the provincial capital of Equateur.


India: Chronology of harassment against human rights defender Khurram Parvez

Khurram ParvezHuman rights defender Khurram Parvez, 44, is the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which is a coalition of various campaign, research and advocacy organisations based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir which monitor and investigate human right abuses. He is also the Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD) a collective of non-governmental organisations from ten Asian countries that campaign on the issue of enforced disappearances.

Khurram has documented serious human rights violations in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, including enforced disappearances and unlawful killings. He was detained in November 2021 and is accused of being in contact with individuals linked to a Pakistani militant group. He is facing multiple charges  under the Penal Code and draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (UAPA), related to conspiracy and terrorism, which CIVICUS believes have been trumped up by the authorities because of his activism.

He has faced systematic harassment to advocate against human rights violations in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir. In September 2016, the Indian authorities arrested him a day after he was barred from travelling to Switzerland to attend the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was charged under the draconian Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows detention without charge for up to two years. He was released after 76 days in detention.

In October 2020, nine simultaneous raids were conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the houses and offices of several human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and newspapers in Jammu and Kashmir - including the house of Khurram Parvez.

Updated Jan 2023


22 November 2021: Officials from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), assisted by the local police, conducted raids on the house of Khurram Parvez and the JKCCS office in the city of Srinagar, in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, for approximately 14 hours. Parvez’s mobile phone, laptop, and several books were seized. On the evening of the same day, Khurram Parvez was taken for questioning to the premises of the NIA in Srinagar. At around 6pm, his family members received a phone call from NIA officers who requested them to bring him clothes. Upon arrival at the premises of the NIA they were given an arrest memo for Parvez, which was issued on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the NIA on 6 November 2021.

According to the arrest memo, Khurram Parvez faces charges of “criminal conspiracy”, “waging war against the government of India”, “punishment for conspiracy to wage war against the government of India” (Sections 120B, 121, and 121A of the Indian Penal Code, respectively), and “raising funds for terror activities”, “punishment for conspiracy”, “recruiting any person or persons for commission of a terrorist act”, “offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation” and “offence of raising funds for terrorist organisations” (Sections 17, 18, 18B, 38, and 40 of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), respectively).

24 November 2021: Khurram Parvez was taken to New Delhi where he remained detained under NIA’s custody.

30 November 2021: Appeared at the NIA court.

2 December 2021: United Nations human rights experts expressed concern over the arrest of Khurram Parvez under the stringent UAPA anti-terror law and called for his release. They said: “We are concerned that one month after Mr. Parvez’s arrest, he is still deprived of liberty in what appears to be a new incident of retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and because he has spoken out about violations.”

4 December 2021: Khurram Parvez appeared before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court in New Delhi, after 12 days under NIA’s custody. Judge Parveen Singh extended his detention for another 20 days and ordered that he be transferred to the Tihar maximum security prison, in New Delhi.

25 December 2021: Judicial custody extended for 30 days until 21 January 2022.


24 January 2021: Judicial custody extended for 40 days. His family was barred from meeting him due to COVID-19.

12 February 2022: The court extended his judicial custody for a further 40 days.

24 March 2022: An NIA Court extended his judicial custody for 50 days.

27 March 2022: The NIA carried out another raid of the residence of Khurram in Srinagar.

13 May 2022: The NIA filed a charge sheet against Khurram Parvez and seven others before the NIA Special Court in New Delhi. He was charged under Sections 120B and 121A of the Indian Penal Code (“criminal conspiracy” and “punishment for conspiracy to wage war against the government of India”, respectively), Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (“taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant”) and Sections 13, 18, 18B, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) (“unlawful activities”, “conspiracy”, “recruiting any person or persons for commission of a terrorist act”, “offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation” and “giving support to a terrorist organisation”, respectively). 

In the chargesheet the authorities accused him and others of supporting a Pakistan based proscribed militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) to fund and recruit operatives for providing support in planning and execution of terrorist activities in various parts of India including Jammu & Kashmir.

21 June 2022: A resolution introduced in the US Congress House of Representatives condemning human rights violations in India highlighted the case of Khurram Parvez

6 July 2022: Khurram’s first hearing at the NIA Special Court in New Delhi took place. Lawyers were asked if they had received his chargesheet and other documents. The court also set the date for the next hearing

16 November 2022: Khurram's case was raised by the UN Secretary General in its report on reprisals against individuals seeking to cooperate or having cooperated with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.

21 November 2022: One year anniversary of Khurram's detention. 12 NGOs issue a statement calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

22 November 2022: UN experts issued a statement stating that the arrest and detention of Khurram Parvez has a chilling effect on civil society, rights activists and journalists in the region, They reiterated their call for his immediate and unconditional release by the Indian Government.


19 January 2023: Khurram Parvez won the Martin Ennals Award, one of the world’s most prestigious human rights prizes. The organisation said that Khurram “relentlessly spoke the truth and was an inspiration to civil society and the local population.”

India is rated 'Repressed' by the CIVICUS Monitor.


Algeria: Global Campaign urges authorities to lift restrictions on civic space

CIVICUS joins 37 other organisations today in announcing a 10-day campaign against the increasing government repression of individuals and groups defending human rights in Algeria.

A year ago, Algerian authorities shut down the “Hirak” pro-democracy protests in most of the country. Since then, the number of unfounded terrorism prosecutions has soared, problematic amendments to the Penal Code were adopted, legal actions were initiated against civil society organisations and opposition political parties, and the crackdown on human rights defenders and the media has intensified, while authorities have continued to obstruct independent unions’ registration and activity. 

#NotACrime is an online campaign aiming to draw attention to the ways in which Algerian authorities have increasingly attempted to stifle dissenting voices and independent civil society. Launched by 38 Algerian, regional and international organisations, the campaign will be conducted between 19-28 May on the organisations’ respective social media accounts.

The campaign calls on Algerian authorities to end their repression of human rights, immediately and unconditionally release those detained solely for the peaceful  exercise of their human rights and allow everyone to freely enjoy their rights. Those suspected of responsibility for grave human rights violations should be brought to justice in fair trials, and the authorities should provide access to justice and effective remedies for victims. The campaign calls on all individuals, organisations and relevant parties to contribute in collectively demanding an end to the criminalisation of the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Algeria, using the #NotACrime hashtag. 

At least 300 people have been arrested since the beginning of 2022 (as of 17 April) for exercising their right to free expression, peaceful assembly or association, according to Zaki Hannache, a human rights defender, though some have since been released. Arrests and sentencing of peaceful activists, independent trade unionists, journalists and human rights defenders have continued unabated, even after the protest movement was shut down. Algerians jailed for their speech have repeatedly carried out hunger strikes - El Hadi Lassouli since 3 May for instance - above all to protest their arbitrary imprisonment. According to the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), these figures underrepresent the reality because many cases are not communicated due to fear of reprisal.

The death in detention of Hakim Debbazi on 24 April, after he was placed in pretrial detention on 22 February for social media postings, shows what is at stake when people are detained  simply for exercising their human rights. 

While international scrutiny has remained scarce, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in her update to the Human Rights Council on 8 March 2022 , expressed concern over "increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms" in Algeria and called on the government "to change course." Ahead of the examination of Algeria’s human rights record in November by the UN Human Rights Council, within the Universal Periodic Review process, the undersigned organisations express serious concern and hold Algerian authorities responsible for the dangerous backsliding in Algeria, notably in the rights to express one’s opinion, assemble and associate peacefully, and share and access information. 

The campaign will extend until the anniversary of the death of Kamel Eddine Fekhar, a human rights defender who died in detention on 28 May 2019 after a 50-day hunger strike to protest his imprisonment for expressing views critical of the government. He had been charged with undermining state security and inciting racial hatred. On 11 December 2016, a British-Algerian journalist, Mohamed Tamalt, also died in custody following a hunger strike during his imprisonment for Facebook posts deemed offensive by the authorities. Algerian authorities have failed to adequately investigate both of their deaths.

Exercising the fundamental freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and expression, and defending human rights is #NotACrime. 


  1. Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-France)
  2. Action for Change and Democracy in Algeria (ACDA)
  3. AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
  4. Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH)
  5. Amnesty International 
  6. ARTICLE 19
  7. Autonomous General Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA, Algeria)
  8. Autonomous National Union of Electricity and Gas Workers (SNATEG, Algeria)
  9. Autonomous National Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP, Algeria)
  10. Burkinabè Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CBDDH)
  11. Burundian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CBDDH)
  12. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) 
  13. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  14. Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden)
  15. Collective Action-Detainees (Algeria)
  16. Collective of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA)
  17. Confederation of Trade Union Workers' Commissions (CCOO, Spain)
  18. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation 
  19. DIGNITY - Danish Institute against Torture
  20. Euro-Mediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED)
  21. Euromed Rights
  22. Free Algeria
  23. Front Line Defenders
  24. General Confederation of Labour (CGT, France)
  25. Human Rights League (LDH, France)
  26. Human Rights Watch 
  27. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  28. International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles
  29. International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)
  30. Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CIDDH)
  31. Justitia Center for Legal Protection of Human Rights in Algeria
  32. MENA Rights Group
  33. Public Services International (PSI)
  34. Riposte Internationale (Algeria)
  35. Shoaa for Human Rights (Algeria)
  36. Syndicate Union – Solidaires (France)
  37. Tharwa N’Fadhma N’Soumer (Algeria)
  38. Trade Union Confederation of Productive Forces (COSYFOP, Algeria)

 Civic space in Algeria is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor 


Cambodia Should Scrap Rights-Abusing National Internet Gateway

We, the following 32 human rights organisations, call on the Cambodian authorities to revoke the Sub-Decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway (NIG).


Sri Lanka: Security forces must exercise restraint and protect the right to protest

CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, calls on Sri Lankan security forces to refrain from using excessive force and prevent further deaths and injuries amid increasing violence around protests and guarantee a safe and enabling space for peaceful protesters to voice their concerns.


ASEAN: Decision on humanitarian assistance on Myanmar must include all related parties

Decision on humanitarian assistance on Myanmar must include all related parties to avoid aid weaponisation by the junta

We, the 765 undersigned Myanmar regional and international organisations, are gravely concerned by the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar that puts the military junta in control of humanitarian aid distribution in Myanmar. Our organisations believe that this decision will enable the military junta to weaponise humanitarian aid to gain legitimacy and commit more human rights atrocities against the people of the country. 

We urge ASEAN to redirect course in the informal meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers that is being held ahead of the ASEAN - US Special Summit and meet with the National Unity Government (NUG), Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs), and local civil society organisations to develop cross-border humanitarian assistance delivered by a trusted local humanitarian and community-based organisation.

We are dismayed that the meeting initiated and held by Cambodia as ASEAN Chair 2022 on 6 May 2022 only engaged with the Myanmar junta’s Task Force led by the State Administration Council (SAC). The meeting excluded the presence of the National Unity Government, formed by elected representatives of the 2020 elections and civil society and EAOs. Under the pressure of the Myanmar junta, the regional bloc also disinvited the United Nations Special Envoy to Myanmar, H.E. Noeleen Heyzer, to the meeting, despite a false claim made by the Cambodian government indicating her presence was among the stakeholders that attended. 

We are concerned that ASEAN, under the Cambodia Chairship, while opening its door to the military junta, has been continuously reluctant to engage with the NUG and other related parties, in direct contradiction to the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) agreed by the ASEAN, which calls for inclusive dialogue. We previously condemned the visit made by Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia and the current ASEAN Envoy to Myanmar, undertaken without agreement from other ASEAN leaders, to meet with the junta leader but not with the NUG and detained President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the civil disobedience movement, and ethnic armed groups. Five months after Cambodia’s ‘rogue diplomacy’, ASEAN continues to be exclusionary. 

We are alarmed by the regional bloc’s decision to allow the military junta-led Task Force to make decisions on how aid is delivered to Myanmar through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). Given the junta’s ongoing attacks against aid workers and civilians, we are appalled that ASEAN continues to regard the military junta-led Task Force as capable of delivering aid to all communities in Myanmar, including EAO areas. Junta’s promises are politically motivated promises that should not be trusted given the non-compliance record of the junta to the ASEAN 5PC after over a year since the agreement was made. 

The decision of ASEAN to forge ahead with its plan to deliver humanitarian assistance with the Myanmar military junta-led Task Force ignores the calls made by the people of Myanmar and civil society organisations worldwide that urge the international community to prioritise the provision of cross-border humanitarian aid through local civil society and humanitarian organisations without the junta’s intervention. We reiterate our position that no meaningful solution will be generated by ASEAN if the regional bloc keeps excluding all related parties, namely the NUG, UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, and civil society. The decision will only bring regress and risk ASEAN aiding and abetting the military’s atrocities on the ground.

We noted that ASEAN Foreign Ministers are holding an informal meeting today on 11 May 2022, prior to the ASEAN – US Special Summit in Washington DC, to discuss the implementation of ASEAN 5PC. We urge the ASEAN and its leaders to:

  • Immediately review and reconsider the decision made in the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar
  • Immediately and effectively suspend the military junta and its representatives from any strategic meeting of ASEAN for its non-compliance to the 5PC, particularly pertaining to the provision of humanitarian aid
  • Conduct dialogue with the NUG and EAOs, and local civil society organisations to develop cross-border humanitarian assistance delivered by trusted local humanitarian and community-based organisation 
  • Conduct dialogue with the UN Special Envoy to synergise efforts to address human rights and the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar
  • Review and amend the role and appointment mechanism of the ASEAN Special Envoy so that the mandate can assure its representation for ASEAN and effective coordination with all stakeholders in support of the will of the people of Myanmar. 

Lastly, we specifically call on the ASEAN founding members, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, to move beyond the 5PC as it has failed to bring progress. The leaders must prove their commitment to upholding the will of the people of Myanmar to achieve peace and democracy and to hold the military junta accountable for grave human rights violations.  

For more information, please contact Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice, .

List of Signatories

The signatories list below includes the following 451 organisations and 314 Myanmar organisations that have chosen not to disclose their names.

  1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)
  2. 8888 New Generation (Mohnyin)
  3. Aa Linn Eain Literary Force (Japan)
  4. Academy Zenith (Education)
  5. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)
  6. Active Youths (Kalay Myo)
  7. Ah Nah Podcast - Conversation with Myanmar
  8. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC)
  9. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand
  10. All Burma Student Democratic Front - Australia Branch
  11. All Religions Strike Column
  12. All Sagaing Township Basic Education Students' Union
  13. All Schools of Aungmyaythazan Township Strike Group
  14. All Young Burmese League (AYBL)
  15. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
  16. ALTSEAN-Burma 
  17. Anti-coup Forces Coordination Committee (AFCC)
  18. Anti-Dictatorship in Burma - DC Metropolitan Area (ADB-DCMA)
  19. Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement
  20. Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network (AMMDN)
  21. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
  22. Asia Democracy Network
  23. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
  24. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
  25. Asian Dignity Initiative
  26. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  27. Asian Resource Foundation
  28. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) 
  29. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP)
  30. Association of United Nationalities in Japan (AUN-Japan)
  31. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
  32. Auckland Kachin Community NZ
  33. Auckland Zomi Community
  34. Aung Myay Tharzan Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  35. Aung Pin Lal Main Strike Group
  36. Australia Burma Friendship Association, Northern Territory
  37. Australia Karen Organisation
  38. Australia Karen Organization WA Inc.
  39. Australia Myanmar Doctors, Nurses and Friends
  40. Australia Myanmar Youth Alliance (AMYA)
  41. Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation
  42. Australian Chin Community (Eastern Melbourne Inc)
  43. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)
  44. Back Pack Health Workers Team
  45. Bago Basic Education Students' Union
  46. Bamar Community Tasmania
  47. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) 
  48. Bank Trade Unions Federation of Myanmar - BTUFM
  49. BEHS-1, Hpa-An Basic Education Students' Union
  50. BEHS-1, Mandalay Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  51. BEHS-11, Aungmyethazan Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  52. BEHS-24, Mahaaungmyay Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  53. BEHS-4, Mandalay Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  54. BEHS-8, Aungmyethazan Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  55. Best Friends Forever Group
  56. Blood Money Campaign
  57. Burma Action Ireland
  58. Burma Campaign UK
  59. Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
  60. Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC)
  61. Burma Medical Association 
  62. Burman Suomalaiset (Finland)
  63. Burmese Canadian Network
  64. Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)
  65. Burmese Community in France
  66. Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)
  67. Burmese Community, Australia
  68. Burmese Friendship Association
  69. Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)
  70. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  71. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand
  72. Burmese Women's Union
  73. Campaign for a New Myanmar
  74. Canberra Karen Association
  75. CDM Support Team Mandalay
  76. Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia 
  77. Chanayetharsan Basic Education Students' Union
  78. Chanmyathazi Township People Strike Group
  79. Chin Community of Auckland
  80. Chin Community of Western Australia Inc.
  81. Chin Community SA
  82. Chin Community Tasmania
  83. Chin Human Rights Organization 
  84. Chin MATA Working Group
  85. Chin Resources Center
  86. Chin Youth Organization (Matupi)
  87. Chin Youth Organization, Australia 
  88. Citizens of Burma Award (New Zealand)
  89. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participations
  90. Co-operative University Student Strike Group 
  91. Coalition of Mandalay Engineers 
  92. Colorful Spring
  93. Combat Support Corps-Japan (CSC-Japan)
  94. Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  95. Committee Representing Mandalay Region Hluttaw
  96. Cooperative University Student Strike Column 
  97. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
  98. CRPH Funding Ireland
  99. CRPH Support Group, Norway
  100. CRPH, NUG Support Team Germany-Deutschland
  101. CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia
  102. Daik-U Basic Education Students' Union
  103. Daung Sit Thi 
  104. Dawei Basic Education Students' Union
  105. Dawei Youth’s in Japan (DYJ) 
  106. Dawei Youths' Revolutionary Movement Strike Committee 
  107. Defense of Human Rights & Public Service, Pakistan
  108. Democracy for Burma
  109. Democracy for Myanmar - Working Group (NZ)
  110. Democracy Movement Strike Committee - Dawei 
  111. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization
  112. Democratic Youth Council
  113. Demoso Basic Education Students' Union
  114. Dragon Dawn (Charity Organization)
  115. Education Family Strike Group
  116. Educational Initiatives Myanmar
  117. Equality Myanmar
  118. Ethnic Youth General Strike Committee (Mandalay)
  119. European Karen Network
  120. Falam Community, Australia 
  121. Family Private School Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  122. Federal FM Mandalay
  123. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)
  124. Federation of General Workers Myanmar 
  125. Federation of Workers' Union of Burmese Citizens (in Japan)
  126. Federation of Workers’ Union of the Burmese Citizens (Japan)
  127. Free Burma Action Committee - Chico
  128. Free Burma Action Committee (Central Valley)
  129. Free Burma Action Committee (Sacremento)
  130. Free Burma Action Committee (San Francisco & Bay Area)
  131. Free Rohingya Coalition
  132. Freedom for Burma
  133. Future Light Center
  134. Future Thanlwin
  135. General Strike Committee of Nationalities 
  136. Generation Wave
  137. GenY For Revolution - Japan (GenY)
  138. Global Action For Myanmar Peace and Federal Democracy
  139. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
  140. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (Japan)
  141. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (Korea)
  142. Golden Heart Organization
  143. Grass-root People 
  144. Helping Hands for Burma (H2B)
  145. HER (Art, Recycling Center)
  146. Hinthada Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  147. Hlaing Thar Yar Basic Education Students' Union
  148. Hope For Youth - Kyushu Japan
  149. Hopin Basic Education Students' Union
  150. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
  151. India For Myanmar
  152. Indonesian Legal Aid Foundations (YLBHI)
  153. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney
  154. Info Birmanie
  155. Initiatives for International Dialogue
  156. Inter-Faith Strike Column
  157. Interfaith Youth Coalition on Aids in Myanmar (IYCA-Myanmar)
  158. Interim Teachers' Union -Thanlyin Technological University 
  159. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  160. International Karen Organisation
  161. International Society of Myanmar Scholars and Professionals (ISMSP-MM)
  162. Japan Myanmar Future Creative Association (JMFCA)
  163. Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (JACDB)
  164. Justice 4 Myanmar - Hope & Development
  165. Justice For Myanmar
  166. Justice Movement for Community-Innlay
  167. Kachin Affairs Organization - Japan (KAO Japan)
  168. Kachin Association Australia
  169. Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc.
  170. Kachin Human Rights Watch
  171. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  172. Kanbung Youth (Matupi)
  173. Kanpetlet Land Development Organization
  174. Karen Community in Netherlands (KCNL)
  175. Karen Community, Australia 
  176. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
  177. Karen Human Rights Group
  178. Karen National League Japan-KNL
  179. Karen Peace Support Network
  180. Karen Swedish Community (KSC)
  181. Karen Women’s Organization
  182. Karenni Federation of Australia
  183. Karenni Human Rights Group
  184. Karenni National Society (KNS) Japan
  185. Karenni National Women’s Organization
  186. Karenni Society New Zealand
  187. Karenni/Kayah Community
  188. Katha Basic Education Students' Union
  189. Kayan Internally Displacement Supervising Committee 
  190. Kayan Rescue Committee
  191. Kayin Community Tasmania
  192. Keng Tung Youth
  193. Khanthar Farmers Network
  194. Khumzup Local Development Committee
  195. Kobe Myanmar Community 
  196. Korean House of International Solidarity (KHIS), Korea
  197. Kyaukse Basic Education Students' Union
  198. Kyaukse University Students' Union
  199. Kyauktada Strike Committee (KSC)
  200. Labor Union Federation
  201. Labutta Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  202. Land in Our Hand (LIOH)
  203. Langkho Basic Education Students' Union
  204. Lashio Basic Education Students' Union
  205. Latsinu Women Agency
  206. Launglon Basic Education Students' Union
  207. League For Democracy in Burma (L.D.B Japan)
  208. Letpadan Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  209. LGBT Union Mandalay 
  210. LGBTIQ Strike Group
  211. Loka Ahlinn
  212. Los Angeles Myanmar Movement
  213. Magway People's Revolution Committee 
  214. Mahaaungmyay Township People Strike Group
  215. Mandalar College Students Strike Group
  216. Mandalar University Students Union
  217. Mandalay Alliance Coalition Strike Group
  218. Mandalay Based University Student Unions 
  219. Mandalay Civil Society Organization 
  220. Mandalay Computer University Student Union 
  221. Mandalay Engineers Group
  222. Mandalay People Strike Group
  223. Mandalay Poets’ Union
  224. Mandalay Private Universities Students Union
  225. Mandalay Regional Youth Association
  226. Mandalay Technology University (MTU) Students Union
  227. Mandalay Universities, Degree and College Teachers and Staffs Strike Group
  228. Mandalay University Alumni Strike Group
  229. Mandalay University of Foreign Languages Students Union
  230. Mandalay Wholesale Centers Strike Group
  231. Mandalay Women Strike
  232. Mandalay Youth Strike Group
  233. Matu Chin Community, Australia
  234. Matu Forum Committee
  235. Matu Women Association
  236. Mawkmai Basic Education Students' Union
  237. Mawlamyine Basic Education Students' Union
  238. Medical Family Mandalay (MFM)
  239. Meikhtila Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  240. Metta Campaign - Mandalay
  241. Midwifery Training School Students Union (Mandalay) 
  242. MIIT Student Strike Column
  243. MilkTeaAlliance Calendar Team
  244. MilkTeaAlliance Galleries
  245. MilkTeaAlliance Malaysia 
  246. Minbu Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  247. Mindat Chin Community
  248. Mindat Community, Australia
  249. Mindat Emergency Response Team (MERT)
  250. Minority Affairs Institute - MAI (Myanmar)
  251. Mizo Community, Australia
  252. Mogaung Basic Education Students' Union
  253. Mohnyin Basic Education Students' Union
  254. Mon Families Group
  255. Mon National Council
  256. Mon Youth For Federal Democracy
  257. Monywa Basic Education Students' Union - ABFSU
  258. Monywa People Strike Steering Committee 
  259. MRJ (Maraja)
  260. Mudon Basic Education Students' Union
  261. Muslim Youth Network
  262. Muslim Youths Association 
  263. Mya Taung Strike Group
  264. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability
  265. Myanmar Buddhist Community of South Australia
  266. Myanmar CDM Association
  267. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)
  268. Myanmar Community Ireland
  269. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
  270. Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee (Australia)
  271. Myanmar Democratic Force in Denmark
  272. Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM)
  273. Myanmar Development Support Group (MDSG)
  274. Myanmar Diaspora Group (Finland)
  275. Myanmar Emergency Fund (Canada)
  276. Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia (MEAA)
  277. Myanmar Engineers - New Zealand
  278. Myanmar Global Support Foundation
  279. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)
  280. Myanmar Institute of Information and Technology (Mandalay) Students Union
  281. Myanmar Labour News
  282. Myanmar Medical Online Campus 
  283. Myanmar Nationalities’ Support Organization - Japan (MNSO)
  284. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  285. Myanmar People Residing in Canberra
  286. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia (MPAA)
  287. Myanmar Railway Division (3) CDM Staffs Strike Group
  288. Myanmar Student Association Ontario (MSAO)
  289. Myanmar Students' Association Australia (MSAA)
  290. Myanmar Students' Union in New Zealand
  291. Myanmar Youth and Student Association, Japan-MYSA
  292. National University of Arts and Culture 
  293. National Youth League for Politics and Leadership 
  294. National Youth Organization
  295. Netherlands Myanmar Solidarity Platform
  296. Network for Advocacy Action
  297. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)
  298. New Rehmonnya Federated Force
  299. New Zealand Doctors for NUG
  300. New Zealand Karen Association
  301. New Zealand Myanmar Ethnics Council
  302. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.
  303. No (12) Basic Education Middle School Student Union 
  304. No (7) Basic Education High School Alumni Strike Group
  305. No.12 Basic Education Middle School (High Branch) Basic Education Students' Union
  306. Northern Spectrum Youth Association
  307. Nursing Training School Students Union (Mandalay)
  308. Nursing University (Mandalay) Student Union 
  309. Nyaunglebin Basic Education Students' Union
  310. Okinawa Myanmar Association
  311. Olive Organization
  312. Open Development Foundation
  313. Overseas Mon Association - New Zealand
  314. Padaung Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  315. Pan Pa Wash People Strike Column
  316. Paramedical Technical University (Mandalay) Student Union 
  317. Patriotic War Veterans of Burma (PWVB)
  318. PEC Private School Basic Education Students' Union
  319. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Korea
  320. People’s Hope Spring Revolution (PHSR)
  321. Perth Myanmar Youth Network
  322. Phayagye Peace Strike Column
  323. Phayagyi Peace Strike Group 
  324. Private pre school Teachers’ Association 
  325. Progressive Voice
  326. Pyay Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  327. Pyigyidagon Strike Group
  328. Pyin Nyar Nan Daw Private School Basic Education Students' Union
  329. Pyin Oo Lwin Basic Education Students' Union
  330. Pyinmana Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  331. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)
  332. Queensland Kachin Community (QKC)
  333. Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective (QMYC)
  334. Queensland Rohingya Community
  335. Red Campaign Nirvana Exhortation Group
  336. Remonya Association of WA (Mon Community)
  337. Representing The Arrested People Strike
  338. Revolution Tokyo Myanmar (R.T.M)
  339. Rohingya Action Ireland
  340. Rohingya Women Webinar Series
  341. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand
  342. Saga Myanmar Overseas Student Association
  343. Saitama Pamphlet Campaign (SPC)
  344. Sangha Union Strike Group
  345. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women on the Border Areas
  346. Save Myanmar - USA
  347. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)
  348. SEA Junction
  349. Sein Pan Strike Column
  350. Seinban Strike Group
  351. Seven Star
  352. Shan Community (New Zealand)
  353. Shan Community in Japan (SCJ)
  354. Shan MATA
  355. Shan Women Development Network
  356. ShizuYouth for Myanmar
  357. Shwe Chin Thae Farmers Network
  358. Shwe Minn Tha Foundation (Myanmar)
  359. Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA)
  360. Sintgaing Basic Education Students' Union
  361. Sisters 2 Sisters
  362. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
  363. Skills for Humanity
  364. Southcare Medical Centre
  365. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expressions Network (SAFENET)
  366. Southern Youth Development Organization
  367. Southerner News Agency
  368. Spring Revolution Interfaith Network (SRIN)
  369. Spring Revolution Myanmar Muslim Network (SRMMN)
  370. Spring University Myanmar (SUM)
  371. Strike Column of Representatives of Arbitrarily Arrested People
  372. Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB)
  373. Students for Free Burma (SFB)
  374. Support for Myanmar
  375. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (The Netherlands)
  376. Swedish Burma Committee
  377. Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity
  378. Ta'ang Legal Aid
  379. Ta’ang Women’s Organization 
  380. Taekwando Sport Association 
  381. Taekwondo Federation
  382. Tai Youths Network Japan (TYNJ)
  383. Taiwan Alliance for Myanmar (TAM)
  384. Tampawadi People Strike Group
  385. Tanintharyi MATA
  386. Tanintharyi People’s Voice
  387. Taunggyi Basic Education Students' Union
  388. Technological Teachers’ Federation (TTF)
  389. Technological University (Yadanabon Cyber City) Students Union
  390. Technological University Mandalay (TUM) Students Union 
  391. Tha Pyay Nyo Periodical 
  392. Thapaynyo News Letter
  393. Thaton Basic Education Students' Union
  394. The Institution of Professional Engineers Myanmar
  395. Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar Organization
  396. Twitter Team for Revolution 
  397. U.S. Campaign for Burma
  398. Uakthon Local Social Development Organization
  399. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  400. United Myanmar Community of South Australia 
  401. University of Computer (Mandalay) Students Union
  402. University of Dental Medicine (Mandalay) Students Union
  403. University of Medical Technology (Mandalay) Students Union
  404. University of Medicine (Mandalay) Students Union
  405. University of Nursing (Mandalay) Students Union
  406. University of Pharmacy (Mandalay) Students Union 
  407. University of Traditional Medicine (Mandalay) Students Union
  408. University Youth Prayer Committee (YUPC)
  409. US Advocacy Coalition for Myanmar (USACM)
  410. VEC Private School Basic Education Students' Union
  411. Victorian Burmese Care Community (VBCC)
  412. Victorian Myanmar Youth
  413. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
  414. Voice For Justice (VFJ)
  415. We Love Motherland-MM (Malaysia)
  416. We Pledge CDM (Australia)
  417. We Support (Japan)
  418. Western Australia Myanmar Democratic Network
  419. Wetlet Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  420. Winemaw Civil Society Network
  421. Women Activists Myanmar
  422. Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar (WAC-M) 
  423. Women Alliance Burma 
  424. Women’s League of Burma 
  425. Wundwin Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  426. Yadanabon University Students Union
  427. Yadanapone University Student Union (Ya. Ta. Ka. Tha) 
  428. Yadanar Foundation
  429. Yangon Medical Network 
  430. Yedashe Basic Education Students' Union-ABFSU
  431. Yokohama Pamphlet Campaign (YPC)
  432. Young Changemakers Community
  433. Youth Poets’ Union
  434. YUOE Debate Club
  435. Zabuthiri Basic Education Students'       Union-ABFSU
  436. Zo Community, Australia
  437. Zomi Association Australia Inc.
  438. Zomi Community Queensland
  439. Zomi Community South Australia
  440. ခိုင်မြဲသစ္စာဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေး ကော်မတီ
  441. ပြည်သူ့ရင်သွေးနွေဦးတော်လှန်ရေး
  442.  ပြည်သူရင်သွေးနွေဦးတော်လှန်ရေး(ဂျပန်)
  443.  မြင်းခြံလူထုလှုပ်ရှားမှုကော်မတီ
  444.  မြန်မာ့ ဖက်ဒရယ်ဒီမိုကရေစီ အောင်နိုင်ရေးအဖွဲ့ပေါင်းချုပ် - ကိုရီးယား
  445.  မြန်မာ့ ဖက်ဒရယ်ဒီမိုကရေစီအောင်နိုင်ရေးအဖွဲ့ပေါင်းချုပ် (MFDMC)
  446. ရေအေးမိတ်ဖက် ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေးကော်မတီ
  447. အနာဂါတ်အလင်း ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေးကော်မတီ
  448. အလင်းရောင်ပန်းတိုင် ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေးကော်မတီ
  449. အလင်းသစ္စာဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေးကော်မတီ
  450. အလင်းသစ်ပရဟိတ
  451. အားမာန်သစ် ဖွံ့ဖြိုးကော်မတီ


Myanmar: Regional bloc must move beyond the failed consensus

One year on, since adopting the Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states have not achieved any progress in addressing the human rights and humanitarian crisis perpetrated by the military junta.


India: Human rights defender Khurram Parvez marks 150 days arbitrarily detained on baseless charges

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Amnesty International condemn the way in which the authorities have targeted and harassed human rights defender Khurram Parvez through the misuse of the justice system, 150 days on, from his arbitrary detention. Our organisations call on the government of India to immediately and unconditionally release him and drop the baseless charges that have been brought against him.


Human rights situation in Africa: a special focus on shrinking of civic space

CIVICUS statement at the 71st Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights


Spotlight on Cameroon: Reverse the suspension of journalists

CIVICUS condemns the decision by Cameroon's National Communications Council to suspend journalists Séverin Tchounkeu (CEO) and Cédrick Noufele (Editor-in-chief and presenter), who are working with the privately-owned broadcaster Equinoxe TV for one month.


Hungary: Orbán and Fidesz party election victory spells further concerns for civic freedoms 

  • ‘Biased and unbalanced news coverage’ during election favouring the ruling party
  • Civil society face orchestrated smear campaigns 
  • Government passes decree which bans independent journalists from accessing hospitals

Global alliance CIVICUS and the Civil Liberties Union for Europe are concerned about civic freedoms in Hungary following Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz Party’s landslide victory in April’s parliamentary elections, which were declared free but not fair. 

A new research brief provides a snapshot of the recent decline in civic freedoms under the Orbán government which has repeatedly targeted civil society, independent journalists and LGBTQI+ rights.

The government has politically captured key media regulatory bodies resulting in diminishing space for independent media to operate, with the public media sector now a de facto mouthpiece of the government.  The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) found that the elections were not fair as there was “biased and unbalanced news coverage” in favour of the ruling party.

Threats to LGBTQI+ rights have continued unabated, with the government passing several laws that restrict and target these rights. Although the results of the government’s referendum on its ‘anti-LGBTQI+ propaganda’ law, which took place at the same time as the election, was declared invalid, 16 LGBTQI+ rights CSOs who campaigned against the referendum have been fined by the National Election Committee. 

In the build up to the elections, Magyar Nemzet, a leading pro-government daily online site,  published secret recordings of interviews which were aimed at discrediting civil society and independent media and reshared by the Hungarian government. Similar methods were used to  smear civil society activists critical of the government during the previous general elections.  

“During his victory speech, the Prime Minister took a moment to pinpoint his enemies which include civil society, bureaucrats in Brussels and the Ukrainian President. This is a clear signal that Orbán and his party will only continue to diminish civic freedoms. There is no doubt that attacks on civil society, independent journalism and LGBTQI+ rights will worsen in the coming years,” said Aarti Narsee, Civic Space Research Lead, Europe, CIVICUS.

The government has also continuously attempted to intimidate civil society. Although it repealed the Lex-NGO foreign funding law, which was found in violation of EU law, it introduced a new bureaucratic measure which requires the State Audit Office to report annually on the financial status of certain NGOs. 

Surveillance of journalists is a tactic used by the government in an attempt to silence dissent, while denying independent media access to press conferences and information has become commonplace. The government recently went over a Supreme court ruling to pass a decree so that it can decide on press and media accreditation for journalists to access hospitals. It has repeatedly used the pandemic as a pretext to restrict access to information on COVID-19 for independent media. 

“A pluralistic media landscape and a healthy  civil society guarantee citizens' access to reliable information about public matters. The Orban government has been doing everything in its power to undermine or eliminate both. By dominating most of the media landscape and trying to silence independent voices, the governing Fidesz party hopes to cement its power for the coming decades to dismantle democracy and cover up widespread corruption,” said Orsolya Reich, senior advocacy officer, Civil Liberties Union for Europe.

The European Commission has triggered its new rule of law conditionality mechanism which could see it cutting funds to Hungary. We call on the commission to act swiftly against Hungary through this mechanism. 

“The European Union must stand up for the rights and principles enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and introduce strategies and legislation capable of reversing the democratic decline in Europe. It must design a well-thought-through European Media Freedom Act with strong guarantees and enforcement mechanisms, and a European civic space strategy capable of empowering democratic voices,” said Reich.

Hungary is currently rated Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor. There are a total of 43 countries in the world with this rating (see all). This rating is typically given to countries where civic space is heavily contested by power holders, who impose a combination of legal and practical constraints on the full enjoyment of fundamental rights (see full description of ratings). Hungary is one of two countries in the European Union with an Obstructed rating, the other is Poland.

More information

Download the Hungary country research brief here


Civil Liberties Union for Europe :Orsolya Reich,  





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