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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Persecution of rights activists and voices of dissent in India

Vedika Pareek and Manya Oberoi - 8th October 2018

Recently, in a series of synchronized raids carried throughout India, various human rights activists and vocal critics of the ruling government were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), an anti-terror law. These arrests have been widely criticized for being politically motivated as they are aimed at curbing the right of free speech and […]

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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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South Africa decriminalises the private use, possession and cultivation of cannabis

Nabeelah Mia - 2nd October 2018

On 18 September 2018, after more than a decade of perseverance by Mr Gareth Prince, his efforts finally saw fruition:  the Constitutional Court of South Africa decriminalised the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis in private for personal consumption in Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others v Prince and Others.  The matter arose […]

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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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Poland’s Controversial Judicial Reforms in Bid to ‘De-communise’ the Country

Alexandra Tompson - 26th September 2018

Since coming into power, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has introduced controversial sweeping changes to the judiciary. Accusing Poland of undermining EU values and democratic principles, the EU Commission has been threatening to trigger Article 7  of the European Union Treaty: a process which would strip Poland of its voting rights. This week, the Commission […]

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Justice Kennedy’s Mixed Environmental Legacy Turns Tragic

Nicholas Stump - 25th September 2018

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a 1988 Reagan appointee, will leave behind a mixed environmental law legacy. Best known to the public as a crucial swing vote on issues regarding same-sex marriage and abortion rights, Kennedy’s influence on environmental law was no less impactful, as he sided both for and against ecological and public health […]

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Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Human Rights Legacy: Introduction to the Blog Series

Anne Marie Lofaso - 24th September 2018

Anthony McLeod Kennedy, born on January 23, 1936, to Irish Catholic parents, announced his retirement on June 27, 2018, after thirty years on the United States Supreme Court.  Known as the “swing vote” after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, Justice Kennedy’s retirement twelve years later, while not unexpected, has created political division in […]

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