Freedom of assembly

Statement Condemning Police Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The violent approach by the police when dispersing a peaceful protest in Kruščica caused 29 injuries and 23 people were arrested.

In late August, a group of local citizens had gathered to protest against the construction of a mini hydropower plant in Kruščica in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The approximately 250 police officers who violently tried to disperse the peaceful protest blocked the area, stripped women of their clothes and personal belongings, and violently dragged protestors into busses. Civil Rights Defenders condemns the police’s violence and misconduct and calls on the state to live up to its international obligations.

Moldova Pride Week Underway – Homophobic Comments by President Causing Concern

Moldova Pride

GENDERDOC-M a long-term partner of Civil Rights Defenders has launched the LGBT Community Festival “Moldova Pride 2017” running from the 16th to the 21st of May 2017 culminating with a Pride Parade that will take place in the country’s capital Chisinau on Sunday entitled “NO FEAR”. The week of events is aimed at increasing the level of visibility, respect and acceptance for LGBT people in Moldova who have often been discriminated against, marginalised and subjected to hate speech and physical attacks.

Open Letter- Criticising Proposed Law on Belief and Religion in Vietnam

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Civil Rights Defenders and scores of other civil society organisations have written to the President of the Vietnam National Assembly on Vietnam’s draft Law on Belief and Religion expressing their concerns regarding the proposed Law. The draft law, which has been revised several times has drawn strong criticism from many religious communities, is expected to be voted into law by the National Assembly at its session in October-November 2016.

34 Years Later, Vietnam Needs Larger Freedom

Vietnam flag

On the eve of the 34th anniversary of Vietnam becoming a party to key human rights treaties, the human rights situation in the country continues to be marked by the prosecution and imprisonment of human rights defenders, violence against activists and protesters, use of repressive laws to criminalise expression and assembly, and inadequate guarantees to ensure citizens’ right to participate in public affairs, including in land use and environmental decision-making.

Grave Restrictions on Fundamental Human Rights

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In a letter to the Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, Civil Rights Defenders together with eight undersigned civil society organisations expressed their serious concerns about the Ethiopian Government’s grave restrictions on fundamental human rights. This has been exemplified by the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region.

End of Sentence for Lawyer a Reminder of On-going Detention of Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam

Le Quoc Quan, a prominent human rights lawyer and blogger, left An Diem prison in Quang Nam province last Saturday after completing his 30-month sentence. Civil Rights Defenders considers the 2013 “tax evasion” charges against Quan reprisal against his writings on human rights abuses and democratic reforms, topics usually not reported by State-controlled media in Vietnam.

Convicted for homophobic attack

On 22 January, Russian LGBT activists held "We are for Traditional Values" demonstrations in protest of the federal bill to ban "propaganda of homosexuality", as a response to the authors, who cited Russian traditional values as the basis for banning "propaganda of homosexuality to minors." Photo: Maria Kozlovskaya.

An attack on a participant of a peaceful action on LGBT-rights has been met with legal consequences for the first time in Russia. Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the ruling and hopes that the verdict is a step in the right direction. In the aftermath of the so called ”propaganda laws” there has been an increase of aggression and violence towards LGBT-people in Russia. Despite this the courts usually treat the cases as hooliganism instead of hate-crimes.

Civil society suffocating under Putin’s rule

Over the past several years, Russia has adopted a series of laws that has impeded the work of NGO’s and severely worsened the overall human rights climate in the country. Freedoms of expression, assembly and association are constantly under threat and the increasing discrimination and aggression towards ethnic minorities, migrants, and the LGBT community is a real and serious on-going problem. Racism, homophobia and xenophobia are widespread among ordinary people and instigated in most cases by the Russian state.

(Svenska) Vill se stöd till vitrysk HBT-rörelse

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(Svenska) Svenska politiker och diplomater har inte engagerat sig för HBT-personers rättigheter i Vitryssland – kanske för att HBT-rörelsen i landet hittills varit svag. Men stödet utifrån är viktigt om homo-, bisexuella och transpersoner i Vitryssland ska våga verka för sina rättigheter. Det skriver Robert Hårdh, chef för Civil Rights Defenders och Alexander Bard, artist, i en debattartikel i Sydsvenskan.

Election will not be credible unless people can criticise the government

Photo: Aziz Elkhanoglu, Art for Democracy

In a joint call issued on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human rights organisations and press freedom campaigners warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines the democratic legitimacy of the government. Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected ahead of the election.

Natalia braclet protects LGBT-activist in the Balkans

Kristi Pinderi, LGBT activist from Albania, is one of the human rights defenders included in the Natalia Project.

Kristi Pinderi from Albania, is one of the first human rights defenders from the Western Balkans to be included in the Natalia Project security system. For him the bracelet represents a strong moral support in his day-to-day work: ”Behind the bracelet there is an entire system and organisation with people, institutions, and media ready and willing to act in case of an emergency. It is a way for human rights activists not to feel alone and it is definitely the best tool for empowering them”

Ee Sarom

Ee Sarom Photo Tina Axelsson

About 60.000 people were forcibly evicted in Cambodia in 2011 alone, local human rights group ADHOC reports. Those who refuse to abandon their house or dare to demonstrate face risk of arrest or violence, and human rights defenders working on housing rights are persecuted. In a country where many non-governmental organisations are afraid to support human rights issues, Ee Sarom, and his organisation, stands tall. ”Sometimes I am scared but I have to do my job”, says Ee Sarom.