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Finland: Parliament Revokes Law Exempting Jehovah’s Witnesses from Mandatory Military Service

(Apr. 18, 2019) On February 27, 2019, the Finnish Parliament voted to amend its mandatory military service law by revoking a more than thirty-year-old exemption for Jehovah’s Witnesses from basic military training. (Item in the Minutes PR 166/2018 rd, Government Bill for Parliament with Proposed Laws on Revoking the Act Exempting Jehovah’s Witnesses from Performing […]

Australia: Queensland Enacts Historic Human Rights Legislation

(Mar. 6, 2019) On February 27, 2019, the Queensland Parliament passed the Human Rights Bill 2018 (Qld), making it the third jurisdiction in Australia to enshrine human rights protections in such legislation. (Human Rights Bill 2018 (Qld), Queensland Parliament website; Jack Maxwell, A Human Rights Act for Queensland, OXFORD HUMAN RIGHTS HUB (Nov. 26, 2018).) […]

South Korea: Supreme Court Finds Conscientious Objection to Military Service Justifiable

(Nov. 16, 2018) On November 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of South Korea ruled that conscientious objection to military service is “justifiable” under article 88(1) of the Military Service Act. (Sup. Ct., No. 2016 do 10912 (Nov. 1, 2018) (in Korean), Supreme Court website; Military Service Act, Act No. 4685, Dec. 31, 1993, as amended by […]

India: Punjab Passes Amendments to Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure Making Sacrilege of Certain Religious Texts a Crime

(Sept. 10, 2018) On August 28, 2018, the Punjab Legislative Assembly (Punjab Vidhan Sabha) passed the Indian Penal Code (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 to introduce amendments to the Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure (applicable only in the state of Punjab) that make […]

Canada: Quebec Court Ruling Prolongs Stay of Uncovered-Face Provision

(July 27, 2018) On June 28, 2018, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled to stay the operation of section 10 of An Act to Foster Adherence to State Religious Neutrality and, in Particular, to Provide a Framework for Requests for Accommodations on Religious Grounds in Certain Bodies. The stay allows veiled Muslim women in the […]

Tajikistan: Law Prescribes Observation of National Traditions

(Apr. 2, 2018) On March 12, 2018, members of the Tajikistani legislature approved amendments to the Law of Tajikistan on Regulating Traditions, Celebrations, and Rituals in the Republic of Tajikistan. (Law of the Republic of Tajikistan No. 272 of June 8, 2007, Spinform website (in Russian) (by subscription).) Provisions of this Law, which allow government, […]

Uzbekistan: Rules for Observing Family Events

(Mar. 30, 2018) On March 15, 2018, the Senate (upper chamber) of the Oliy Majlis (Uzbek legislature) adopted the nonbinding Resolution on Regulating Celebrations of Weddings, Funerals, Family Festivities, and Other Events and published it for public comment on the government website. The Resolution is expected to enter into force on March 30, 2018, and […]

Iceland: Bill on Male Circumcision Headed for Review

(Mar. 26, 2018) The Icelandic Parliament may vote on a bill on male circumcision later this year (114. mál, lagafrumvarp (bann við umskurði drengja), Althingi (Icelandic National Parliament) website). The proposal would ban male circumcisions on children unable to give their own consent and be punishable by up to six years’ imprisonment. (Frumvarp til laga […]

Malaysia: Federal Court Rules that State Sharia Court Has Jurisdiction Over Apostasy Cases

(Mar. 6, 2018) On February 27, 2018, it was reported that the Malaysian Federal Court (the highest court in Malaysia) had dismissed an appeal by four people from the state of Sarawak who wished to have their apostasy cases considered in a civil court. (Sharon Ling, Federal Court Rules Jurisdiction to Hear Apostasy Cases Lies […]

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 […]