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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 […]

UAE: Court Orders Doctors to Pay Blood Money to Patient’s Family

(Apr. 16, 2019) On March 29, 2019, the United Arab Emirates Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi upheld the rulings of a criminal court of first instance and an appellate court to grant the family of a deceased patient the right to receive blood money. The Federal Supreme Court issued a decision ordering two Asian […]

Japan: Law Requiring Surgery for Legal Change of Gender Ruled Constitutional

(Apr. 12, 2019) On January 23, 2019, Japan’s Supreme Court held that a law requiring that transgender people undergo gender-change surgery in order to have their gender changed on official documents is constitutional. (Supreme Court, 2018(ku) No. 269 (Jan. 23, 2019) (click on the two characters beside the PDF icon), Supreme Court of Japan website […]

Russia: Russian President Signs Anti-fake News Laws

(Apr. 11, 2019) On March 18, 2019, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed two laws passed by the Russian parliament aimed at countering the creation and dissemination of fake news. (Federal Law on Amending Article 15-3 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information, Mar. 18, 2019, Pravo legal media website (in […]

Syria: Women’s Rights in Light of New Amendments to Syrian Personal Status Law

(Apr. 8, 2019) On February 5, 2019, the People’s Assembly of Syria approved amendments to more than 60 articles of the Personal Status Law issued by Legislative Decree No. 59 of 1953. (President al-Assad Issues Law Amending Certain Articles of Personal Status Law Issued by Legislative Decree No. 59 of 1953 and Its Amendments, SYRIAN […]

Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Orders Criminal Investigation into Fake News Involving the Court

(Apr. 1, 2019) On March 14, 2019, Minister Dias Toffoli, the President of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF), announced that he had enacted an Administrative Act (Portaria) ordering the opening of a criminal investigation into fake news and internet threats targeting the STF and its ministers and family members. (President of […]

Brazil: New Law Prohibits Marriage of Persons Under 16 Years of Age

(Mar. 22, 2019) On March 12, 2019, Brazil enacted legislation to prohibit underage persons from marrying. The new law—Law No. 13,811 (Lei No. 13.811, de 12 de Março de 2019, Presidency of the Republic website)—amends article 1,520 of the Civil Code to establish that only persons who have reached the age of marriage determined in […]

Egypt: Grand Imam Issues Religious Opinion Calling Polygamy Oppression of Women

(Mar. 18, 2019) Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (the main religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world), stated on March 2, 2019, that the Qur’anic teachings concerning polygamy have been misunderstood and distorted, with the result that polygamy has been used in a way that is unfair to women. El-Tayeb argued that […]

China: Measures Prohibiting Hiring Discrimination Against Women Issued

(Mar. 15, 2019) On February 21, 2019, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) published on its website the Circular on Further Regulating Recruitment Activities to Promote Equal Employment for Women. The Circular was jointly issued by the MOHRSS, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People’s Court, and several […]

Finland: Finnish Parliament Revokes Underage Marriage Exception

(Mar. 12, 2019) On February 19, 2019, the Finnish Parliament adopted changes to its Marriage Act, revoking the exception that persons not yet 18 may marry with special prior approval from the Ministry of Justice. (Press Release, Eduskunta [Parliament], Marriage with Underage Individuals Prohibited (Feb. 20, 2019) (in Swedish), Parliament website.) The parliamentary press release […]