Religious symbols in schools: Passive and harmless or a powerful threat?

Olivia Rani Bessant - 9th October 2018

In Lautsi v Italy (2012), the applicant argued that the presence of crucifixes in state school classrooms violated students’ Article 9 ECHR right to religious freedom, but the ECtHR deemed the cross a ‘passive symbol’ and Article 9 respected. Yet in Dahlab v Switzerland (2001),an earlier case the applicant cited, banning a teacher from wearing her hijab […]

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Gender Recognition Reform – The Current Debate is Misconceived

Rachel Bowyer - 4th October 2018

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 (‘GRA’) allows transgender people in England and Wales to be legally recognised in their new gender. The government has acknowledged that the current process is problematic and is consulting on reforms. The debate around the reforms has been fraught and filled with tension. The Home Affairs Select Committee is investigating […]

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Justice Kennedy’s Gay Rights Legacy

Luke A. Boso - 3rd October 2018

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announced retirement left progressives reeling over what the Court’s inevitable rightward shift will mean for civil rights given Kennedy’s swing-vote status on cases implicating social issues.  Indeed, his presence was pivotal for gay rights.  Kennedy authored the Court’s most famous pro-gay decisions, many decided 5-4.  Kennedy’s gay rights legacy is complicated, however, […]

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The EU Can do More to Protect Religious Freedom

Adina Portaru - 1st October 2018

On 4 September 2018, the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance presented its fourth Annual Report on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The Report focuses on violations of freedom of religion or belief which happened outside the European Union in 2017, and sends out a clear message: the EU […]

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Transformative Constitutionalism: Indian Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Morality by Reading Down Section 377

Ajita Banerjie - 28th September 2018

In a historic judgment pronounced on 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court of India in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to be unconstitutional in so far as it penalizes consensual sexual relationships between same-sex adults, as covered previously on the OHRH Blog here. The judgment has, in […]

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LGBTQ+ and Women’s Rights under attack: Romania to hold referendum for “the traditional family”

Elena Brodeala - 18th September 2018

The Romanian Senate and the Constitutional Court gave the green light to a referendum on “the traditional family”. The referendum should take place on October 7, 2018. If it passes, the Romanian Constitution will define family as being based on the marriage between a man and a woman. This constitutional amendment is meant to limit […]

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Israel’s ‘Nation-State Bill’: a divergence from international law?

Madeleine Lusted - 14th September 2018

Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have long faced a humanitarian crisis because of expansionist Israeli policy. More recent victims, however, are the Druze minority, who form part of the country’s 20.9% Arab population. In 1957, the government designated them as a separate ethnic group at the request of its communal leaders. In July, Israel’s legislative body enacted […]

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Confronting Racism, Discrimination, and Segregation against Palestinians: the CERD’s First Inter-State Complaint

Loureen Sayej - 12th September 2018

In April 2018, the State of Palestine filed an interstate complaint against Israel with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in an effort “to protect its citizens from discrimination and other practices and policies that violate CERD obligations.” Setting a precedent, the State of Palestine’s communication is the first of its kind. […]

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Indian Supreme Court Decriminalizes Same-Sex Relations

Gautam Bhatia - 6th September 2018

In a landmark judgment delivered today, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized same-sex relations, and affirmed that the LGBT+ community was entitled to equal rights under the Indian Constitution. The case – Navtej Johar v Union of India – involved a constitutional challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (1860), which criminalized “carnal intercourse […]

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Patchy Implementation of the Law is Failing India’s Girls

Alexandra Tompson - 6th September 2018

India is suffering from a supposedly ancient yet timely problem. In violation of the law and Constitution, India’s girls are vanishing. It has been reported by government officials that more than 63 million women are missing across India, and more than 21 million girls are unwanted by their families. As per the Ministry of Health’s […]

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The Long and Winding Road of Caste Legislation in the UK

Michael Ford - 5th September 2018

The power to make caste discrimination an aspect of race discrimination, originally contained in s.9(5) of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA), was one of the few substantive supplements to the predecessor discrimination legislation. In 2013 it was transformed into a duty, as I outlined in an earlier blog post. Now, following the judgment of the […]

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