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News and Views: April 2010

Court Upholdings “Defamation of Religions” Laws

April 20, 2010

On Monday 19 April, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court upheld the country’s controversial laws on “defamation of religions” or blasphemy. The legal provisions, which impose criminal penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment on individuals or groups that “deviate” from the basic teachings of the official religions, seriously threaten the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Indonesia, especially in relation to minority groups.

Secular Indonesia Outraged Over Aceh Mob Justice

A government prosecutor hands over a whip to the executioner during a public caning in Aceh Besar in January this year. There is growing outrage after a man and woman caught committing adultery on were beaten and possibly caned under Islamic law by a mob on Wednesday.

Indonesia on Friday promised a full investigation into the public humiliation, mob beating and possible caning under Islamic law of two people suspected of having an adulterous tryst.

Pakistan: ‘Karo Kari’ victim’s family in Islamabad to seek justice

With his clothes ragged, face tired and body trembling, Dhatti Bakhsh Baloch entered ‘The News’ office here and narrated the story of her teenage daughter, who was allegedly killed in September last year by her husband Wahid Bakhsh with the help of his brothers in the wake of the centuries-old tradition of ‘Karo Kari’.

Friday, April 02, 2010
By Saadia Khalid

Canada: Polygamy Law

Polyamorists, civil libertarians, supporters of Holocaust deniers square off against B.C. teachers, a Catholic family coalition, REAL Women

By Daphne Bramham

Children play at polygamist community Bountiful. Several groups with intervener status in the hearing on the constitutionality of anti-polygamy laws are concerned about the rights of children.
Photograph by: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun

It's a rare day when feminists, conservative Christians, anti-abortionists, Muslim women and child advocates join forces.

Yemen: Child forced into marriage dies

Mohammed al Qadhi, Foreign Correspondent SANA’A // Elham Mahdi al Assi, a 13-year-old girl, died from severe haemorrhaging and the rupturing of internal organs as a result of sexual intercourse, just five days after she was married. Her death follows a number of high-profile child marriage cases that have shaken Yemen and, activists hope, may go some way towards bringing about a law that would establish a minimum age for marriage.

ASEAN gets commission for children and women

ASEAN officials inaugurated Wednesday the Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), to augment the human rights body established last year.

Sri Wahyuni , The Jakarta Post , Hanoi

The ACWC has a mandate to, among others, develop policies, programs and innovative strategies vis-à-vis the rights of women and children in the region.

London: Equality Bill passes through parliament

April 7, 2010

The Equality Bill has passed through its final stages in parliament and will now become law after receiving royal assent.

The bill, which gives new protections to gay people, was sent for royal assent last night.

It is designed to consolidate and simplify existing equality laws, encompassing characteristics such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

A flagship feature of the bill is equality duty on all public bodies, which will require institutions such as schools, councils and the NHS to actively promote equality.