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Malaysia: National Human Rights Action Plan Launched

(Apr. 16, 2018) On March 1, 2018, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, officially launched the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). (Press Release, Office of the Prime Minister, Action Plan Malaysia’s Commitment on Human Rights – PM (Mar. 1, 2018).) The development of the NHRAP was approved by the Cabinet in 2012 and was subsequently […]

New Zealand: Legislation Enabling Wiping of Historical Homosexual Convictions Enacted

(Apr. 11, 2018) On April 3, 2018, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill, and it was signed into law on April 9. (Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill, NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT (last visited Apr. 11, 2018); Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions […]

Switzerland: Abolition of Marriage Tax Penalty Proposed

(Apr. 5, 2018) On March 21, 2018, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss government) adopted a legislative proposal to abolish the “marriage tax penalty” (marriage penalty). The proposal is designed to resolve the decades-long controversy surrounding the issue. (Swiss Federal Council, Botschaft zur Änderung des Bundesgesetzes über die direkte Bundessteuer (Ausgewogene Paar- und Familienbesteuerung) [Message […]

Saudi Arabia: Riyadh High Court Waives Requirement for Women to Fully Cover Their Faces in Courthouse

(Feb. 8, 2018) For the first time in its history, the High Court of Riyadh is no longer requiring women to fully cover their faces when they visit the Riyadh courthouse. (Fatimah Al-Dabees, Riyadh Court Waives Condition of Covering the Face and Is Satisfied with Hijab, OKAZ (Dec. 25, 2017) (in Arabic).) The Chief Justice […]

Egypt: Parliament Discusses New Bills Criminalizing Atheism and Homosexuality

(Jan. 26, 2018) On December 24, 2017, the Committee on Religion of Egypt’s Council of Representatives discussed a bill that would make atheism a crime punishable under the Egyptian Penal Code. (Egyptian Parliament Discusses Plans to Criminalise Atheism, EGYPTIAN STREETS (Dec. 24, 2017).) Previously on November 9, 2017, an Egyptian lawmaker proposed a bill criminalizing […]

Israel: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Constitutionality of FATCA’s Implementation

(Jan. 25, 2018) On January 2, 2018, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, issued its reasoning for its decision of September 12, 2016, rejecting a petition challenging the constitutionality of the Income Tax Ordinance (Amendment No. 227) Law, 5776-2016 (Amendment Law). The main decision was rendered by Justice Hanan Melcer, with […]

Netherlands: Human Rights Institute Rules Police Administrative Staffer Can Wear Hijab with Uniform

(Dec. 1, 2017) On November 20, 2017, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de rechten van de mens), an independent supervisory body established in 2002 that took over the tasks of the Dutch Equal Rights Commission, issued a non-binding ruling to the effect that the Dutch police were wrong to prohibit a Muslim […]

Germany: Personal Status Act Must Allow Third Gender Option for Intersex People

(Nov. 20, 2017) In a decision published on November 8, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the Personal Status Act is incompatible with the German Basic Law, the country’s constitution, to the extent that it only allows the registration of a female or male gender at birth or no gender entry […]

Indonesia: Constitutional Court Opens Way to Recognition of Native Faiths

(Nov. 17, 2017) On November 7, 2017, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia) issued a decision that will allow Indonesians who follow native faiths to list their religions on official forms.  According to Justice Arief Hidayat, several articles in the Law on Population Administration are discriminatory and “contradict the 1945 Constitution and these articles […]

Austria/European Court of Human Rights: No Discrimination If Heterosexual Couple Is Denied Access to Registered Partnership

(Nov. 16, 2017) On October 26, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held in a five to two decision that there is no violation of article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) when registered […]