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The Chinese government’s authoritarianism was on full display in 2020 as it grappled with the deadly coronavirus outbreak first reported in Wuhan province. Authorities initially covered up news about the virus, then adopted harsh quarantine measures in…
202012asia_china_wr
World Report Chapter
The government of Prime Minister K.P. Oli proposed new laws curtailing free expression, while stalling on promises to implement transitional justice for abuses committed during the civil conflict that ended in 2006.  The government continued to favor…
202012asia_nepal_wr
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Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the longest-serving ruler in the Arab World, died in January at age 79 after ruling since 1970. Qaboos recommended Haitham bin Tariq, the former culture minister, as his successor and the choice was quickly ratified by the…
Haitham bin Tariq, who became Sultan in January, at al-Alam palace in the capital Muscat on February 21.
World Report Chapter
The overall human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorated in 2020, including heightened restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Fighting between Myanmar’s military and several ethnic armed groups continued, with government forces…
202012asia_myanmar_wr
World Report Chapter
Singapore held elections in July, with the ruling People’s Action Party taking 83 out of 93 seats, with 61.2 percent of the popular vote. The opposition Workers’ Party won 10 seats—a record high for the opposition. The government continued to use harsh…
202012asia_singapore_wr
World Report Chapter
Bangladesh’s Awami League-led government doubled down on an authoritarian crackdown on free speech, arresting critics, and censoring media. Arrests under the abusive Digital Security Act (DSA) increased dramatically. Impunity for abuses by security forces…
202012asia_bangladesh_wr
World Report Chapter
By Kriti Sharma and Shantha Rau Barriga  Long before the Covid-19 pandemic grounded much of the world, lockdown, confinement, violence, and isolation was the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities around the world. Many are…
An illustration of a man sitting in ankle chains
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By Bill Frelick The Teitiota family from a little-known Pacific island didn’t intend to become a catalyst for expanding the concept of asylum; but they became one anyway. In 2015 New Zealand denied the family’s asylum claim and deported them, despite…
An illustration of a family walking through water
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By Heather Barr Strange men came to the place where Kang Yu-jin (names are pseudonyms) worked; looking for her after her ex-boyfriend impersonated her on social media, posting sexual images and saying she wanted to find men to have sex with. Lee Ye-rin’…
An illustration of a pointer icons flying towards a woman in a dress
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By Katharina Rall While the Covid-19 pandemic dominated the news for much of 2020, climate change—the other global crisis threatening catastrophic impacts on peoples’ lives—has continued to gain ground. The pandemic itself may have temporarily limited…
Illustration of a windmill with leaves for blades
World Report Chapter
By Lena Simet and Komala Ramachandra and Sarah Saadoun At the dawn of 2020, our world was already in crisis. High and rising economic inequality meant that someone born with few resources could see their basic human rights, like food and decent housing,…
An illustration of a woman and child standing outside of businesses with closed signs
World Report Chapter
The Covid-19 pandemic altered the lives of everyone in the European Union in 2020, with some member states more affected than others by the public health emergency and socioeconomic consequences of lockdown measures. Despite some efforts at the EU and…
A nurse holds hands with a Covid-19 patient at the intensive care unit of Casal Palocco hospital in Rome, October 20, 2020. 
World Report Chapter
Human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo under President Felix Tshisekedi took a downturn in 2020, against the backdrop of the gains made during his first year in office. Congolese authorities cracked down on peaceful protesters, journalists, and…
A man cleans his courtyard amidst ruins in Nioka, Ituri province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on September 15, 2020.
World Report Chapter
Serbia There was limited improvement in protections of human rights in Serbia in 2020. Journalists faced threats, violence, and intimidation, and those responsible are rarely held to account. Efforts to prosecute war crimes continued to focus on low-…
The Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
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Spain was hit hard by the public health and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government took steps to shore up social security support as unemployment and poverty rose. Violence against women rose during a nationwide lockdown imposed to…
An 81-year-old woman and her 84-year-old husband kiss through plastic, after remarking that it was the longest time they had spent apart in 59 years of marriage, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, June 2020. 
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Presidential elections scheduled for March were postponed to July due to concerns over unfair campaigning as a result of movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Initial proposals by the ruling party to hold the elections in May via a hastily…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
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Italy was the first country outside China to experience a major outbreak of Covid-19 and to declare a national state of emergency, and impose a strict lockdown, in early March 2020. The coalition government in power since September 2019 reversed some of…
Two men on the Sea-Watch 4, a nongovernmental rescue ship, look on as they approach a ferry off the coast of Palermo, Sicily, Italy, on September 2, 2020, where rescued migrants undergo quarantine.
World Report Chapter
The government used the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue its attacks on rule of law and democratic institutions. The government declared a state of emergency in March, seizing unlimited power to rule by decree without parliamentary and judicial…
Demonstrators march against the dismissal of the editor-in-chief of the Hungarian news website Index.hu in the streets of Budapest, Hungary, Friday, July 24, 2020.