Tag Archives: Law & Politics

Japan News | LGBTQ+

Japan court issues first ruling on same-sex marriage rights

  • The Sapporo District Court found the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law.
  • Six plaintiffs had also sought damages for the lack of extension of marriage rights, which the court did not grant.
  • While homosexuality has been decriminalized in Japan since the late 19th century, the country remains the only Group of Seven nation that has not recognized full marriage equality.

Read

In landmark ruling, Japan court says it is ‘unconstitutional’ to bar same-sex marriage” (Reuters | March 2021)

Japan court says same-sex marriage should be allowed” (The Associated Press | March 2021)

Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional” (BBC News | March 2021)

Denmark News | Immigrants, Muslims & People of Color

Government of Denmark proposes bill further limiting residential concentration of “non-Western” people

  • Reducing the allowable concentration of residents of “non-Western” descent in neighborhoods to 30% and the availability of public housing in designated neighborhoods to 40%, Interior Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek claims the measure is intended to avoid the emergence of “religious and cultural parallel societies.”
  • The current version of the bill removes the controversial term “ghetto,” the legal classification for a neighborhood of more than 1,000 residents in which more than half were of “non-Western” origin and exhibiting other indicators of disadvantage (such as high unemployment or crime rates).
  • Fifteen neighborhoods currently fall into that classification, where crimes carry stiffer punishments and parents are required to enroll children over the age of one in day care or face loss of public financial support.

Read

Denmark plans to limit ‘non-western’ residents in disadvantaged areas” (The Guardian | March 2021)

Denmark’s ‘Ghetto List’ down drastically from last year” (The Copenhagen Post | December 2020)

Facing Eviction, Residents Of Denmark’s ‘Ghettos’ Are Suing The Government” (NPR | August 2020)

Canada News | Far-Right, Immigrants & People of Color

Canadian government assigns terrorist designation to far-right groups

  • The Proud Boys and the Atomwaffen Group join a list of dozens of organizations—primarily Islamist groups—that the Canadian government has classified as “terrorist entities” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
  • The designation enables seizure of the assets of the group and its members, movement restrictions, and the criminalization of material support, which civil liberties groups criticize as governmental overreach and, ironically, facilitating harm against religious and racial minorities.
  • In the wake of the January 6th events, Canadian Proud Boys chapters have seen their online presence evaporate, with webpages and social media platforms where they were active—such as Parler—shuttered.

Read

Canada declares the Proud Boys a terrorist group” (The Washington Post | February 2021)

Terror list a ‘problematic’ way to fight white supremacists, civil society groups say” (The Canadian Press via CTV News | February 2021)

Canadian Proud Boys in ‘panic’ as platforms go offline and government talks of terror listing” (Global News | January 2021)

View

Listed terrorist entities (Government of Canada)

Australia News | Immigrants, Muslims & People of Color

Demands for government to deal with far-right extremism grow in Australia

  • Groups such as the now-defunct United Patriot Front and the Lads Society and the current National Socialist Network have created space for White nationalists in Australia to organize both online and offline.
  • All 27 currently listed terrorist organizations are extremist Islamist groups, despite the fact that the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (AISO) reported that far-right terror accounted for 40% of its caseload; in the two decades since membership in a terrorist organization was criminalized in response to the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., no far-right group in Australia has been classified as a proscribed organization.
  • The increasingly transnational dimensions of far-right organizing have posed a particularly difficult challenge, including the influence of the mainstreaming of far-right politics in the U.S. and fallout from the 2019 Christchurch massacre in which an Australian national killed 51 in an attack on the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.

Read

How Australia’s anti-terror regime has failed to rein in far-right extremists” (The Guardian | January 2021)

‘Peddlers of hate’: Australia’s growing legion of far-right extremists hail US Capitol invaders” (The New Daily | January 2021)

Neo-Nazis go bush: Grampians gathering highlights rise of Australia’s far right” (The Sydney Morning Herald | January 2021)

Study

Listed terrorist organizations (Government of Australia)

Australian Security Environment and Outlook (Australian Security Intelligence Organization)

China News | Uyghur

Revelations of surveillance regimes in China detail wide range of repressive projects

  • An investigation of a database used by the Ürümqi City Public Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau reveals elements of the internment regime, the use of informants, and the monitoring of phone, financial, medical, and online records of Uyghur residents.
  • The investigation follows recent revelations of the development of facial recognition technologies designed to identify ethnicity and flag individuals for authorities.
  • Officials routinely detain Uyghur individuals as “preventative” security measures, often using trumped up accusations of religious extremism that effectively criminalize religious activities and other cultural practices.

Read

Revealed: Massive Chinese Police Database” (The Intercept | January 2021)

Patenting Uyghur Tracking – Huawei, Megvii, More (IPVM | January 2021)

Huawei tested AI software that could recognize Uighur minorities and alert police, report says” (The Washington Post | December 2020)

India News | Farmers

Internet blockages and hunger strike mark continuing conflict between Indian farmers and government

  • Tensions between farmers and the government have continued as encampments of tens of thousands, tractor parades, clashes with police, and a recently organized hunger strike have unfolded across the country, from New Delhi to Ghazipur.
  • The interior ministry announced that internet services on the outskirts of New Delhi had been temporarily suspended as protesting farmers continued to flock to the capital from around the country.
  • After a Sikh protester unfurled a religious flag during Republic Day clashes, pro-government media seized on the spectacle to deride the protests, and anti-Sikh sentiment has begun to disrupt—at least in part—popular support for the protesters.
  • Since November, the farmers’ movement has been protesting economic reforms that they argue benefit large agribusiness firms and private buyers over smaller producers, endangering their already precarious livelihoods.

Read

Farmers protest: Here are the top developments of the day” (The Indian Express | January 2021)

Indian farmers begin hunger strike amid fury against Modi” (The Associated Press | January 2021)

In Delhi, public support for protesting farmers is giving way to anti-Sikh prejudice” (Scroll.in | January 2021)

Farm bills: Are India’s new reforms a ‘death warrant’ for farmers?” (BBC News | September 2020)

Study

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (PRS Legislative Research)

Brazil News | Indigenous

Bolsonaro referred to Hague tribunal for ecocide and crimes against humanity

  • A Paris-based lawyer submitted a request for a preliminary tribunal on behalf of two prominent Indigenous leaders in Brazil, alleging environmental crimes and anti-Indigenous actions.
  • Under Bolsonaro, the Indigenous affairs agency has been stripped of land-oversight powers, incursions and raids on reserved land have more than doubled in the last two years, and poor COVID–19 response has left Indigenous people, already disproportionately affected by the disease, especially vulnerable.
  • On the environmental front, deforestation has accelerated to levels not seen in more than a decade, key environmental protections have been rolled back, and fines for environmental crimes have decreased by nearly 50%.

Read

Brazil’s Indigenous Leaders Sue President Jair Bolsonaro For Crimes Against Humanity” (The Huffington Post | January 2021)

Jair Bolsonaro could face charges in The Hague over Amazon rainforest” (The Guardian | January 2021)

Brazil’s collapsing health service, new COVID variant, raise Indigenous risk” (Mongabay | January 2021)

Study

“Pushing the whole lot through”: The second year of environmental havoc under Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (Observatório do Clima | January 2021)

U.S. Feature | Indigenous Asylum-Seekers

The U.S. Immigration System’s Indigenous Language Problem

The surge of asylum-seekers from Central America in the mid-2010s revealed critical language gaps in the asylum system: namely, the lack of competent Mayan-language interpreters. Language shapes each stage of the immigration process, from Border Patrol interrogations and detention to credible-fear interviews and post-approval integration. Non–Spanish-speaking indigenous children are at particular risk, with five of the six children who have died in Homeland Security custody having been indigenous and others traumatized by separation from their families in an unfamiliar language environment.

With three Guatemalan Mayan languages ranking among the top 25 languages used in immigration courts last year, the demand for interpreters exceeds supply, with the U.S. government relying on an uneven landscape of third-party companies and non-profit volunteers. The New Yorker highlights how skill deficiencies, U.S. President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and a strained asylum system have combined to produce unique vulnerabilities for indigenous asylum-seekers.

“The indigenous population was likely the least able to understand their rights, and may therefore have been more susceptible to losing their children and waiving away their own asylum rights.” 

Read

A Translation Crisis at the Border” (The New Yorker | December 2019)

Previous Coverage

Anyone Speak K’iche’ or Mam? Immigration Courts Overwhelmed by Indigenous Languages” (The New York Times | March 2019)

Indigenous immigrants face unique challenges at the border” (High Country News | June 2018)

Ancient Mayan languages are creating problems for today’s immigration courts” (Los Angeles Times | August 2016)

Connect

Asociación Mayab (English version)

The Mayan League

Malaysia News | UyghurS

Malaysian PM announces asylum provisions for refugee Uyghurs

  • Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamed indicated that the country would not honor extradition requests from China for Uyghurs fleeing persecution.
  • The announcement follows a statement from the foreign minister indicating that an inquiry into human rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • Hundreds took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest the ongoing incarceration of more than a million Uyghur Muslims in “political re-education” camps in northwest China.

Read

Malaysia not to extradite Uighurs seeking asylum” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

Malaysia to probe rights violations against Uighurs” (Andalou Agency | December 2019)

In KL, hundreds of Muslims protest against China’s treatment of Uighurs” (Malay Mail | December 2019)

Malaysia Feature | Refugees

The Hardships of Refugees in Malaysia

Although Malaysia has long offered refuge to persecuted Muslim populations, Malaysian law does not distinguish between asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. As a consequence, refugees experience high levels of legal precarity, severely limiting access to healthcare, employment, and educational opportunities. Immigration police frequently raid businesses in search of undocumented workers, and children are frequently pushed into work because of an educational system with limited resources to accommodate them. While more than 164,000 refugees in Malaysia are officially registered with the UN Refugee Agency, many more languish in the long registration queue. Today, activists are working to pressure the recently installed government to become a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol to improve protections and access to opportunity for those seeking life and livelihood in the wake of war and persecution.

Read

‘We have nothing’: A life in limbo for Malaysia’s Yemeni refugees” (Al Jazeera | March 2019)

Inside Malaysia’s ‘Living Hell’ for Refugee Children” (NewsDeeply | February 2018)

Study

UNHCR Figures at a Glance in Malaysia

New Zealand News | Muslim

New Zealanders rally in support of Muslim community as government takes action

  • Some 15,000 people attended a rally in Christchurch to honor the memory of the 50 who died in the recent terror attacks.
  • The country’s chief censor issued a ban on the attacker’s manifesto, classifying the document in the same way as other terroristic propaganda such as Islamic State materials.
  • More than 1,000 voluntarily turned in their weapons as the government moved to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing she expects legislation to be in place by mid-April.

Read

Thousands attend New Zealand vigil, rally to fight racism, remember Christchurch victims” (Reuters | March 2019)

Censor bans ‘manifesto’ of Christchurch mosque shooter” (The Guardian | March 2019)

Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to ban military style weapons” (BBC News | March 2019)

Brazil News | Indigenous

Brazilian president strips indigenous affairs agency of land reservation capability

  • President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree shifting the ability to create and define the boundaries of indigenous land reservations from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Bolsonaro previously announced intentions to loosen environmental and indigenous protections, even as farming and mining groups carry out armed attacks against indigenous communities.
  • The order was the first of Bolsonaro’s presidency, issued only hours after taking office.

Read

Bolsonaro strips agency of right to decide native land in Brazil” (Agence-France Presse, via Yahoo! News | January 2019)

Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro rolls back Indigenous tribe protections” (The Associated Press/Reuters, via ABC News | January 2019)

Brazil’s FUNAI Calls Army to Help Protect Isolated Indigenous Tribes” (The Rio Times | December 2018)

Connect

FUNAI

Palestinian Territories News | Women with Cancer

Israel denies Palestinians with cancer access to treatment as medication dwindles
  • The Israeli government has indicated that six Gazan women suffering from cancer can travel to the West Bank (despite its lack of treatment capability) or abroad for treatment.
  • The women had previously been denied exit from the Gaza Strip because they are related to members of Hamas—a common punishment disproportionately burdening women—and continue to be denied permit to travel to East Jerusalem, where Palestinian hospitals are located.
  • The Gaza Health Ministry also announced the termination of its chemotherapy treatments in Gaza hospitals due to depletion of medical supplies, which cannot be replenished due to the recent tightening of the Israeli military blockade.
Read

Israel Proposes Gaza Cancer Patients Be Treated in West Bank, Where Treatment Is Unavailable” (Haaretz | August 2018)

Roundup: Gaza suffers escalating medicine, humanitarian goods shortage by Israeli blockade” (Xinhua News Agency | August 2018)

Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment” (The New Yorker | June 2018)

Germany News | Asylum-Seekers

Report indicates attacks on asylum-seekers down in Germany
  • According to police, there were 704 cases of anti-refugee violence from January to June, down more than a third from 2017.
  • The 2018 attacks included 77 on asylum shelters and 627 direct attacks on refugees, resulting in 127 injuries.
  • The reduction has come as immigration debates continue to erupt along political fault lines, including the introduction of “anchor centers” for asylum-seekers awaiting judicial decisions and the limited restart of family reunifications.
Read

Fewer attacks on refugees and asylum shelters in Germany” (Reuters | August 2018)

Germany opens refugee ‘anchor centres’ amid criticism” (Al Jazeera | August 2018)

Family reunification for refugees resumes in Germany” (Deutsche Welle | August 2018)

Japan News | Women

Medical university in Tokyo found to have altered women candidates’ scores on entrance exam
  • A probe found that Tokyo Medical University, one of Japan’s most prestigious medical schools, systematically boosted male applicants’ scores while cutting female applicants’ in an effort to reduce women’s admission to the school.
  • Investigators discovered that scores on the exam had been affected for at least a decade, driven by admissions officers’ belief that parental obligations would interfere with women’s commitment to the profession.
  • The discovery was found amidst a broader investigation into corruption involving the alleged admission of a government official’s child in exchange for subsidies.
Read

Tokyo Medical University admits subtracting points from repeat male applicants’ scores and boosting others to secure donations” (The Japan Times | August 2018)

‘Makes me shake with rage’ – Japan probe shows university cut women’s test scores” (Reuters | August 2018)

‘Betrayed’: victims of Tokyo medical school scandal speak out” (The Guardian | August 2018)