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Iceland/European Court of Human Rights: Dismissal of Defamation Claim Violated Right to Respect for Private Life

(Nov. 20, 2017) On November 7, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that the Icelandic Supreme Court had erred in ruling against a claim of defamation, and “had not struck a fair balance between the applicant’s right to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the Convention [for the Protection of Human […]

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 […]

Singapore: Bans on Two Clerics and Certain Books

(Nov. 9, 2017) It was reported on October 30, 2017, that Singapore has banned two foreign Islamic religious leaders from preaching during cruises and has prohibited the circulation of four foreign books in the country. The Islamic clerics have been denied permission to enter Singapore for the purpose of joining religiously themed sea cruises scheduled […]

Austria: Full-Face Veil Ban Enters Into Force

(Nov. 3, 2017) On October 1, 2017, a ban on full-face veils in public places and buildings entered into force in Austria.  According to section 1 of the Anti-Face Veil Act, the Act aims to “further integration by strengthening participation in society and by promoting peaceful coexistence in Austria.”  (Bundesgesetz über das Verbot der Verhüllung […]

Egypt: Draft Law Criminalizes Homosexuality

(Nov. 1, 2017) On October 25, 2017, members of the Council of Representatives (parliament) of Egypt proposed a draft law to criminalize what they describe as “acts of homosexuality.” Rayad Abdel Sattar, one of the Members of Parliament who submitted the draft law, stated that the main goal of the draft law is to constrain […]

United Nations: Rights Office Concerned About Arrests of LGBT Individuals

(Oct. 31, 2017) On October 13, 2017, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, expressing concern about the arrests of more than 180 people, thought to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), in three countries: Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Indonesia. There were 80 […]

Egypt: Fatwa Permits Females to Have Permanent Tattoos

(Oct. 18, 2017) On October 9, 2017, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt (the main, official religious scholar), Sheik Ali Gomaa, issued a new fatwa (religious decree) allowing women to have permanent inked tattoos on their bodies. However, the same religious decree bans males from getting permanent tattoos. (Getting Tattoo Permissible for Girls, Sin for […]

Israel: High Court Strikes Down Draft Exemption for Ultra-Orthodox

(Sept. 25, 2017) On September 12, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice with an extended bench, ruled eight to one to strike down amendment numbers 19 and 21 of the Defense Service [Consolidated Version] Law, 5746-1986, which had introduced a new framework for the deferment and exemption of Haredim (ultra-Orthodox […]

Israel: High Court Rejects Petition to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

(Sept. 11, 2017) On August 31, 2017, Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice, unanimously rejected a petition by Israel’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Task Force and individual petitioners. Petitioners had requested that the Court  recognize same-sex marriages and declare that sections 1-2 of the Rabbinical Court Jurisdiction Law, 5713-1953, […]

Canada: Senate Passes Landmark Transgender Rights Bill

(Sept. 11, 2017) On June 15, 2017, the Transgender Rights Bill C-16 passed the third reading in the Senate of Canada, with a 67-11 vote.  (Phil Heidenreich, Senate Passes Bill C-16 Which Defends Transgender Rights, GLOBAL NEWS (June 16 2017).)  The bill officially became law on June 19, when royal assent to it was granted. […]