Breaking the Chains: Daily Brief

Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions live in chains; pro-democracy protests in Kyrgyzstan and Belarus are being heard; migrants pushed back illegally in Greece; Egyptian authorities should investigate death in police custody; Kurdish authorities close offices of independent media outlet; Canadian child orphaned in Syria returns home; and International Monetary Fund should adopt policies that reduce poverty.

Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions live in chains around the world due to widespread stigma and a lack of mental health services, Human Rights Watch documents in a ground-breaking report. To join a global movement that believes all people should live in dignity, take the #BreakTheChains pledge.

In breaking news, Kyrgyzstan’s central election commission has annulled the results of last Sunday’s parliamentary election, meeting a key demand by pro-democracy protesters who had stormed parliament this morning.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host talks with Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Berlin today. Tsikhanouskaya had fled Belarus following disputed presidential elections that have led to weeks of protests.


Greek authorities are systematically expelling migrants, including those who have reached Greek territory, and abandoning them in open water. Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently investigate these illegal acts. 

Egyptian authorities should conduct a credible investigation into the death of 26-year-old Islam al-Australi in police custody and stop persecuting those trying to uncover the truth.

The Kurdish authorities’ illegal and seemingly politically motivated closure of two offices of private media outlet NRT follows a pattern of regional government attacks on the media and other critical voices.

A Canadian child orphaned in Syria is to be united with extended family in Canada. Meanwhile, 46 other Canadian nationals held in northeast Syrian camps and prisons, among them 26 children, remain in desperate need of repatriation.

And lastly: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has started locking countries into new long-term austerity-conditioned programs that threaten to worsen poverty and inequality. The Fund should rethink the conditions it is placing on its loans in the Covid-19 era, 504 organizations said in a statement released today.