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First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| Jurisprudence Arkive Year Alpha and Year Beta || September 24: 2015-September 23: 2016  and September 24: 2016-September 23: 2017 ||

 

The Government’s European Union Withdrawal Bill: Why Does It Pull Everything Towards the Central Executive and Away From Parliamentary and Democratic Scrutiny as Well as Away From the Devolved Democratic Bodies


|| September 09: 2017: University of Liverpool News: Professor Michael Dougan, Jean Monnet and Dr Michael Gordon Writing || ά. The European Union :Withdrawal: Bill will be a statute of major constitutional significance. It is the centrepiece of the legislative programme required to prepare the UK legal system for exiting the EU. The Bill would have the following key substantive effects: i: Repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and associated legislation, and thereby, creating a need for new legislation to describe the scope, status and effects of ex-EU law within the UK legal system, clause one; ii: Preserving the legal validity of domestic law, which is derived from EU law and is already operable within the UK legal system, clause two;

iii: Establishing the domestic legal force of EU legislation and other norms, which have existing effects in the UK legal system, clauses three and four; iv: Creating a new domestic category of those legal rules, which have been preserved or incorporated by the Bill, ‘retained EU law’ and establishing the continuing, but displaceable, supremacy of those rules over all other pre-exit domestic law, clause five; v: Establishing the framework, in which the meaning and effects of retained EU law is to be interpreted by the courts, including, the legal status of both pre and post exit judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, clause six; vi: Creating secondary legislative powers for the UK government to enable the alteration of domestic law in order: to address failures of or deficiencies in the operation of retained EU law, clause seven; to prevent any breach of the UK’s international obligations, clause eight and to implement any withdrawal agreement reached under Article 50 TEU, clause nine;

vi: Creating parallel secondary legislative powers for the involvement of the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in amending domestic law within their devolved legal competences, clause ten; vii: Altering restrictions on legislative competence in the scheme of devolution legislation applicable to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, replacing existing restrictions on the devolved legislatures and executives derived from EU law with those derived from the new domestic category of ‘retained EU law’, clause eleven; viii: The Act further provides for: the UK government to incur necessary financial costs associated with EU exit, clause twelve; the publication by the Queen’s printer of copies of retained EU legislation, clause thirteen; the definition of key legal terms, clauses fourteen and fifteen; the scrutiny arrangements to which delegated legislation produced under the Bill will be subject, clause sixteen; powers for the UK government to make necessary legislation in consequence of or in association with the coming into force of, the Bill, clause seventeen.

Overall Observations: The purpose of the Bill is to prepare the UK legal system for some of the immediate internal constitutional effects of UK withdrawal from the EU. In particular, the Bill seeks to guarantee a basic degree of legal certainty and continuity: first, by identifying those norms derived from EU law, which should continue to have certain legal effects in the UK legal system after exit from the EU; and secondly, by creating powers for the modification of retained EU law, to ensure those rules are drafted and will operate in an effective and coherent way within a state, which will no longer be a member of the EU itself.

If the UK is to leave the EU without inflicting serious disruption and uncertainty upon its own citizens and businesses, those should be understood as essential tasks, made all the more pressing by the limited time available, in which to complete the necessary work. Moreover, judged against the Government’s stated aims of providing legal certainty and continuity, the Bill has surely been designed to fulfil its essential purpose, albeit, through a highly complex process and subject to a range of outstanding technical queries, e.g, concerning the judicial interpretation and precise legal status of ‘retained EU law’ within the UK legal system.

Nevertheless, judged against other fundamental constitutional criteria, the Bill can be seen as the source of significant problems. The scheme set out in the Bill is based on an extensive centralisation of power to the UK government, as against the devolved institutions; as well as, a massive delegation of power to the UK government, flowing from Parliament. As such, the Bill’s approach generates considerable costs and risks: for the relationships between the UK government and those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; for the quality of scrutiny and oversight, that can be applied to delegated law-making by Parliament; and for the transparency and inclusiveness of the re-shaping of the UK legal system necessitated by EU exit. In that sense, the Bill has clear potential to destabilise key constitutional relationships or infringe key constitutional values, not least, those relating to democracy and legitimacy.

Some of those risks could well be mitigated as the Bill progresses through Parliament. But it is difficult to envisage any fundamentally different approach to that proposed by the Government, in order to deliver the necessary aims of legal certainty and continuity within the limited timescale available. As such, the Bill demonstrates the inevitable and high price to be paid for the Government’s strategic choices: protecting our economy and society from significant disruption and uncertainty will require us to sacrifice other constitutional values of, at least equal, if not greater, importance.

Selected Key Issues: Against that broader backdrop, one can identify a range of specific difficulties or challenges presented by the Bill. The following are, especially, noteworthy.

Until recently, the Government had repeatedly promised that any ‘significant policy changes’ would be made through substantive primary legislation rather than under delegated powers created through this Bill. However, it is now clear that the Government has adopted only a minimalist approach to what counts as ‘significant policy change’ for those purposes. Primary legislation will be proposed only for certain high level issues, which effectively require the re-regulation of entire policy sectors, e.g, agriculture, customs, trade. Yet, the delegated power to address failures and deficiencies in the functioning of EU law, contained in clause seven of the Bill, will still clearly involve making a wide range of policy choices of, potentially, considerable significance in their own right.

In that regard, the definition and scope of the delegated legislative powers contained in clauses seven-ten is very extensive, indeed. They can be used for purposes, which are not exhaustively specified, are subject to only standard limitations, can be sub-delegated by the government to other public authorities and in some cases, clause nine, can explicitly be used even to amend this enabling Bill itself. Thus, across an indeterminate, but potentially, very large number of situations, the delegated powers proposed in the Bill could be used to change or terminate individual rights and obligations; amend the criteria for:considerations relevant to:purposes of the exercise of various statutory powers; substitute existing decision-makers and:or change their decision-making processes; and indeed establish entirely new regulatory standards, e.g, to prevent a legislative vacuum in situations, where existing EU provisions would be effectively unworkable.

Given such exceptional delegated powers, one would expect a correspondingly rigorous and effective system of Parliamentary scrutiny and control. The Bill, indeed, proposes heightened parliamentary oversight of certain delegated legislation through an affirmative scrutiny process. However, the Bill’s definition of the measures deserving such heightened scrutiny is highly selective: there is a particular focus on secondary legislation, which creates new public bodies or functions; but little provision in respect of other delegated legislation, that could lead to significant regulatory changes. That is besides the sheer scale and complexity of the task facing Parliament, to sift and scrutinise such large volumes of draft measures, the importance or implications of which, may not be, immediately, obvious, within such restricted timescales.

The use of ‘retained EU law’ as a limit on legislative competence in relation to the devolved institutions has a strong centralising effect, concentrating decision-making power in areas of competence returning from the EU in the hands of the UK government. The criteria according to which powers:competence will then be repatriated to the devolved institutions are not specified in the Bill. However, those, that have, thus far, been suggested by the Government would have a further centralising tendency, in so far as, they focus on inherently vague and contestable concepts, such as, securing the UK single market or enhancing the possibilities for UK-wide trade deals and do so without any countervailing principles, such as, a domestic equivalent to the principle of subsidiarity.

The amendments to the devolution statutes included on the face of the Bill in clause eleven make it clear that, as a matter of constitutional convention, legislative consent will be required from the devolved assemblies for the Bill to proceed. As the Supreme Court confirmed in Miller 2017, this is not a legal obligation, that can be enforced in the courts, yet, it does impose a strong constitutional imperative on the UK government to engage constructively with the devolved institutions. To avoid a constitutional crisis, the government should state in advance how it intends to negotiate over the consent requirement and what the consequences of a failure to give consent would be, e.g, whether the government would legislate without consent or instead, limit the extent and applicability of the Bill.

Given the open texture of the delegated legislative powers and their capacity to alter a wide range of individual rights and obligations, the potential for judicial review of measures, provided for under the Bill, appears significant. Even if, those powers are used sensitively and with restraint, one should still anticipate the likelihood of extensive litigation. That could have the paradoxical effect of undermining, at least, in part, the goal of legal certainty, which it is the very purpose of the Bill to promote. ω.

: Professor Michael Dougan is Professor of European Law, Jean Monnet  Chair in EU Law and Dr Michael Gordon is a specialist in UK Constitutional Law, in the University of Liverpool’s School of Law and Social Justice:

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UN Human Rights Dialogue: Europe is Curbing Free Speech



|| June 23: 2017 || ά. On June 19, ADF International addressed increasing speech regulations by so-called 'hate speech' laws in a number of UN Member States during the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. The human rights legal organisation delivered an oral statement responding to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“Everyone should be free to speak without fear of being punished by the government. The number of Member States enthusiastically recommending the expansion of ‘hate speech’ laws is worrying. Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society. ‘Hate speech’ laws create a 'you-can’t-say-that' mindset, which silences debate and has a chilling effect on society. In a free society ideas should be fought with ideas, not criminal penalties.” said Mr Rubén Navarro, Senior UN Counsel for ADF International.

Across Europe, 'hate speech' laws have already had a devastating effect on freedom of speech. Ministers of religion have been arrested for preaching sermons from the Bible, journalists are routinely fined and even private conversations between citizens can result in criminal investigation. For example, in Poland, offending 'religious feelings' carries a two-year prison sentence, while in Sweden anyone who expresses 'contempt' toward a group of people, may be, jailed.

The intervention of ADF International pointed to the fact that there was no formal or universally shared definition of what constitutes 'hate speech', an issue cknowledged by the Council of Europe, the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union and UNESCO. “The European Court of Human Rights has affirmed the right to freedom of expression in numerous cultures and contexts across Europe.

Once the State starts censoring unpopular speech, there is no logical stopping point. Freedom of speech fosters vibrant civil society. Censorship creates fear. Citizens feel like they are treading on eggshells, not knowing whether or not their words, may, lead to arrest and prosecution.” said Mr Paul Coleman, Senior Counsel and Deputy Director for ADF International and Author of the book Censored: How European Hate Speech Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Swedish Midwife Ellinor Grimmark Turns to Human Rights Court



|| June 14: 2017 || ά. Today Christian midwife Mrs Ellinor Grimmark filed her application with the European Court of Human Rights against Sweden. Mrs. Grimmark had to seek work in another country because she refused to participate in abortions. The Swedish courts have failed to recognise her right to conscientious objection. She is the only midwife, who has suffered at the hands of the Swedish authorities. Ms Linda Steen was, also, denied a job as a midwife because she refused to participate in abortions.

“I chose the midwifery profession because I wanted to help bring life into this world. I cannot understand why the Swedish government refuses to accommodate my conscientious convictions. I am now working in Norway, where my conscience is respected, but no-one can explain why Sweden cannot do the same.” explained Mrs Ellinor Grimmark during a media background briefing in Strasbourg today. Three different medical clinics had refused to employ Mrs. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions about the dignity of all human life.

On April 12, the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal refused to protect freedom of conscience and found that Mrs. Grimmark’s rights had not been violated. It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to more than EUR150,000. ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.

“Ellinor Grimmark’s case could determine whether people, who value life at all stages of development will be able to pursue a medical career in the future. Sweden has failed to protect this midwife’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience guaranteed by international law.” said Mr Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.

“The desire to help bring life into this world is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of a profession, states should look to safeguard the moral convictions of medical staff.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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International Criminal Court May Open Probe Into Migrant-Related Crimes in Libya: ICC Prosecutor Told the Security Council

International Criminal Court:ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda briefs the Security Council on the situation in Libya. Image: UN Photo:Manuel Elias

 

|| May 08: 2017 || ά. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:ICC today told the United Nations Security Council that her Office was considering launching an investigation into alleged migrant-related crimes in Libya, including human trafficking. “My Office continues to collect and analyse information, relating to serious and widespread crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya.” said Ms Fatou Bensouda during a Security Council meeting on the North African country’s situation.

“I’m similarly dismayed by credible accounts that Libya has become a marketplace for the trafficking of human beings.” she added, noting that her Office is carefully examining the feasibility of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya, should the Court’s jurisdictional requirements be met. “We must act to curb these worrying trends.” she said. Ms. Bensouda said that reports indicated the country was at risk of returning to widespread conflict and such an outcome would not bode well for the rule of law in Libya and would surely aggravate a climate of impunity, which could in turn lead to widespread human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

Turning to specific cases before the Court, she said that her office had alleged Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the former Head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency under the Muammar Gaddafi regime, was responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The pre-trial chamber of the Court found reasonable grounds to believe that the Internal Security Agency, led by Mr. Al-Tuhamy, along with other Libyan military, intelligence and security agencies, arrested and detained persons perceived to be opponents of Mr. Gaddafi and his rule.

The prosecutor said that those persons were allegedly subjected to various forms of mistreatment, including severe beatings, electrocution, acts of sexual violence and rape, solitary confinement, deprivation of food and water, inhumane conditions of detention, mock executions and threats of killing and rape, in various locations throughout Libya.

Ms. Bensouda urged Libya as well as State or non-State parties to take immediate action to verify the suspect’s whereabouts and facilitate his arrest and surrender to the Court. She said that the Court 'unsealed' its arrest warrant for Mr. Al-Tuhamy to enhance the chances of justice being done.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Scots Moot at the Hague: May 17-20: But They Need Some Support to Get There and Invite the Country to Lend a Hand for Them to Gather the Funds

Image: University of Dundee

 

|| May 07: 2017: University of Dundee News || ά. The final-year law students from the University of Dundee will represent Scotland as they take on a prestigious international law moot at The Hague later this month. Each year, hundreds of law students from all over Europe compete against one another, representing their university and country at the Telders International Moot Court Competition, now in its 40th year. This year's event is taking place on May 17-20.

The moot, a mock judicial proceeding, will see the team dispute a fictitious case between two states and defend their position in front of a panel of judges from the International Court of Justice, the highest legal organ in the United Nations. The Dundee team consists of UK students Ms Ruby Davies, Ms Christie Allan, Ms Blythe Petrie and Ms Christiane Schleich. Ms Schleich is a German student on the Erasmus exchange programme from the University of Passau.

Ms Schleich said, "It is a great opportunity to apply the knowledge we have learnt over so many years and put them into practice, especially as an Erasmus student. I have improved my English as well as my law and I am very excited to compete against the German teams."

Ms Ruby Davies said, "We are all really delighted to represent Scotland at Telders. It is exciting to think that we will soon be in front of judges who we have all cited in essays for years. They are like legal celebrities to us."

The team was coached by Dr Jacques Hartmann, Senior Lecturer in International Law and Security at the University. Dr Hartmann said, “I am very impressed by the dedication and the hard work that the students have put into the preparation of the moot. I have no doubt that they will fare well."

The four students are raising funds to assist with the cost of participation in the competition, which takes place at The Hague on May 17-20. Donations can be made through this webpage.

Please, support these young people

The Team said about their Fundraising Bid: We are four final year undergraduate law students from the University of Dundee: Ruby Davies, Christiane Schleich, Christie Allan and Blythe Petrie, coached by Dr. Jacques Hartmann. We have been selected to represent Scotland in the Telders International Law Moot Competition. The competition will take place in May 2017 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

This year's case relates to diplomatic immunity, inviolability of embassy premises, reservations to treaties and legitimate counter-measures. In order to enter the competition, we need to fund our travel and accomodation costs as well as the entry fee. Anyone interested in sponsoring our team will be credited in the Telders International Law Moot publication which will be distributed to all participating parties and members of the audience. This would provide an excellent opportunity to promote the firm on an international level.

We would greatly appreciate any contributions. Help spread the word! ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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ASEAN Summit: Leaders Must Take a Stand Against the Philippines Bloodshed: Amnesty International

Permanent headquarters of the International Criminal Court at The Hague: Image: UN Photo:Rick Bajornas

 

|| April 26: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. With mounting evidence of government involvement in thousands of extrajudicial executions in the Philippines President Mr Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, Amnesty International is calling on regional leaders to take a stand against possible crimes against humanity as they meet at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations:ASEAN Summit in Manila this week.

“While they meet in their comfortable surroundings, ASEAN leaders should spare a thought for the thousands of people, who have been killed as part of Duterte’s brutal crackdown. The vast majority are from marginalised and neglected communities, making it effectively a war on the poor.” said Ms Champa Patel, Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International. “As the death toll mounts, so does evidence of the Philippines authorities’ role in the bloodshed.

That the Philippines is chairing the ASEAN Summit against this horrifying backdrop is a scandal, and should prompt the government to make independent and effective investigations into unlawful killings an immediate priority. They must send a clear message that there will be accountability and an end to such shocking violations.”

Amnesty International is calling upon ASEAN leaders to consider whether the mass killings in the Philippines amount to a 'serious breach' of the ASEAN Charter and in particular, whether they constitute non-compliance with the Charter’s pledge to human rights. Under Article 20:4 of the Charter, the ASEAN Summit, may, on such occasions meet and take action.

In an open letter to the Philippines Justice Secretary, Amnesty International is, also, urging the Philippines authorities to prioritise prompt, impartial and effective investigations into all drug related killings and to press criminal charges against anyone reasonably suspected of involvement, regardless of their rank or status in the police or government. The letter has been signed by over 20 representatives of the organisation, throughout the Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas regions.

Up to 9000 people have been killed by police or unknown armed persons since July 2016. High-ranking government officials and in particular, President Mr Duterte, have explicitly and repeatedly called on police, as well as private citizens, to kill people they suspect of using or selling drugs, rather than acting in accordance with national laws and respecting international human rights obligations.

Amnesty International has stated that unless key steps were promptly taken, the ICC should initiate a preliminary examination into unlawful killings in the Philippines’s violent anti-drug campaign and related crimes under the Rome Statute, including the involvement of government officials, irrespective of rank and status.

The ASEAN Summit is a semi-annual meeting of the leaders of the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss issues of mutual interest.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Discovery of More Mass Graves in Democratic Republic of Cong Must Be Investigated 

Permanent headquarters of the International Criminal Court at The Hague: Image: UN Photo:Rick Bajornas

 

|| April 19: 2017 || ά. Raising alarm over increasing reports of serious human rights violations in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that the scale and nature of the allegations could warrant an investigation by an international mechanism, such as the International Criminal Court:ICC. According the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR, between April 05 and 07, a team of UN human rights and police officials found 17 further mass graves in the Kasai Central province, which had been the location of clashes between security forces and the Kamuina Nsapu, a local militia.

“The discovery of yet more mass graves and the reports of continued violations and abuses highlight the horror that has been unfolding in the Kasais over the last nine months.” said Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release, highlighting the need to monitor the situation closely. “Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge the international community to support an investigation by an international mechanism, including the International Criminal Court.” he added. Fifteen of the recently discovered mass graves were in a cemetery in the town of Tshimbulu and two in the locality of Tshienke.

According to information received by the UN investigators, soldiers from the Forces armées de la Republique démocratique du Congo:FARDC had reportedly dug the graves, after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu between March 26 and 28. At least 74 people, including 30 children, were reported to have been killed by soldiers as a result of these clashes.

The militia, loyal to a local customary Chief, who was killed in August last year, has been accused of a number of crimes and human rights abuses, including killings and abduction, recruitment of children and targeting schools, hospitals and churches.

“It is absolutely vital that the Government takes meaningful steps, which to date, have been lacking, to ensure that there is a prompt, transparent and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by all parties.” said Mr Al Hussein.

The UN team, also, visited Kananga, a town in Kasai Central, where between March 28 and 30, FARDC soldiers were reported to have shot dead at least 40 people, including 11 children and 12 women, in the town's Nganza commune and injured at least 21 others. There are further allegations that at least two women and three girls had been raped by the soldiers during that operation.

The UN investigators were informed of the killing of three individuals, including a 17-year-old boy and a one-month-old baby during search operations by the Police Nationale Congolaise.

In the statement, High Commissioner Mr Al Hussein offered his Office's assistance in conducting a credible investigation into the reports and allegations but underscored that it must be provided with unfettered access.

“We reiterate our request for access to all sites of mass graves, as well as to all witnesses, including those in detention and other relevant information necessary to determine responsibility at all levels.” he added.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Juriscommuniprudence: That What the University of Sussex Law School Students are Doing

Image: University of Exeter



|| April 15: 2017: University of Sussex News  || ά. A group of legal students from the University of Sussex is helping local people safeguard and protect a piece of beloved community land as part of a Street Law Project to get students involved in community matters. Sussex Law School students have handed Westdene residents a plan, detailing what can be done legally to protect Redhill Playing Fields from the possibility of being developed on. For years the land, which lies at the top of Redhill Close, has been the subject of various housing development applications.

But with the land now in the ownership of of Brighton and Hove City Council, residents want to find a way of protecting it as much as is possible from future development. The residents contacted Street Law Brighton, where law students conduct research for communities on legal issues, saying they wanted to protect the land from further development, keep the name of the park as Redhill Playing Fields and not Gatton Park, as suggested by previous owner developer Bellway Homes and to ensure the upkeep of the park as now it is back in council hands.

Mr Michael Whitty, Chairman of the Westdene and Withdean Community Association, said, “The enthusiasm and commitment given by the law undergraduates at the University of Sussex is unquestionably invaluable. As local residents working on a voluntary basis we would have struggled to provide the high level, intelligent and informative report provided by the students and tutors. I hope we do justice to the work they have done and we manage to protect the site from building development in perpetuity.”

Local ward councillor Mr Nick Taylor has given his backing to the residents and University, saying they can count on his support. Mr Taylor said, ''It is good to see that local residents are benefiting from having a world class university on their doorstep. Residents and ward councillors have fought for years to preserve this much loved green space. It is clear there is no appetite for further development on this land and we must do everything we can to preserve it.”

The students’ carried out thorough research and their report highlights a number of legal avenues the residents can take, including, ensuring the playing fields are given special community protection, a ‘Local Designated Green Space’ through local and neighbourhood planning, registering the land as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, where the community can buy the land if the owner wants to sell, applying to the council to name the park Redhill Playing Fields and set up a Rubbish Collection Volunteering Scheme to ensure the park is looked after and maintained.

Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock, a Law Lecturer at the University, who leads the students’ research work, said, “Redhill Playing Fields is an extremely important community asset and the residents were very keen on finding a way of protecting it.

Through Street Law, our students have carried out wide ranging research and discovered a variety of ways the park can be protected. We have presented our findings to the residents, who are as a result, far better legally informed and who can now feel empowered to proceed in findings ways of safeguarding the land. Getting involved in a community project like this not only benefits local people, it, also, makes sure our students learn from the experience and furthers their education.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Sweden: Ellinor Grimmark Case: The Swedish Legal System Makes a Fundamental Error of Judgment: If This Has Happened Because of the Existing Swedish Laws Than Sweden Must Look at Its Laws: For If This Ruling is Anything to Go by This Falls Far Bellow the International Standard of Protection That is Awarded to a Person: Ms Grimmark Should Consider Taking the Case to the European Court of Human Rights: The Humanion Calls on the Best of Legal Minds Across Europe and the World to Come Forward and Join ADF in Supporting This Case

Image: ADF

|| April 12: 2017 || ά. Should a midwife have to choose between following her conscience or pursuing her career? On April 12 the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal, in refusing to protect freedom of conscience, found that midwives could be asked to make that choice. The judgment contradicts international law, protecting conscientious objection. Ms Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife, who filed the appeal, must now decide whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The question is this, has the court made this judgment within the existing Swedish laws, in which case, the Court is not the focal point of this judgment but the Judiciary of Sweden, that now must look at its existing laws for this judgment brings out the fact that Swedish legal system falls far, far, far bellow and way too far short, in ensuring the same level and degree of protection to a 'person's rights, that are protected under international and European human rights laws.

“The Court has failed to protect Ellinor Grimmark’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience, despite the clear legal protections, that exist in international law. Some have attempted to frame this case as one, that pits one human right against another. However, the only person, whose rights have been violated, is Ellinor Grimmark.” said Mr Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. The Humanion would encourage Ms Grimmark to seriously consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights and that ADF continues to support her and her case. Further, The Humanion calls on other legal organisations and practioners of law across Europe and the World to join ADF in supporting Ms Grimmark in her fight to achieve justice for the violation of her fundamental human rights. She does not fight for herself; no one fights for their human rights for themselves alone. She fights for all humanity, that must fight on in seeking to protect its absolute inviolability of its humanity, of its 'person', of its 'agency'. 

Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping had refused to employ Ms. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions about the dignity of all human life. However, in November 2015, a district court found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated.

It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000EUR. ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience, that exists under international law.

“The desire to protect life is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of a profession, states should look to safeguard the moral convictions of their staff.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has affirmed that ‘no person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion.” added Mr Clarke. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Sweden: If Human Beings are Not Able to Live by Their Conscience They are Brought Down to Simple Biological Physiologies: Should This Be the Choice Sweden Seek to Maintain That Says: Humans are Simply Biological Physiologies: That is the Question the Ellinor Grimmark Case is Posing Before the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal

Image: ADF

|| April 10: 2017 || ά. Should a midwife have to choose between following her conscience or pursuing her career? On April 12, the Labour Court of Appeal will decide this question for Sweden. The case of midwife Ellinor Grimmark has already attracted significant media attention, not least because her legal team exposed Sweden’s disregard for international law protecting conscientious objection. This does not require much argument and the case is prima facie. What is the primary function of Midwifery: as in the function of a knife to cut? Therefore, the test is this: is the knife's primary and sole-prima-existentia function not cutting? What then, when someone then, forces the knife, not to cut but do sawing, instead or in addition to cutting? Then it should not even apply to the argument for the sole-prima-existentia of the knife is not to saw.

The primary, sole prima-existentia of Midwifery is to enable, support and guide giving birth. The task, that requires midwives to conduct abortions, goes strictly against this test of sole prima-existentia. Therefore, to the point, any midwife could, hypothetically and legitimately, refuse to do any task, involving abortions because it does not involve giving birth but terminating birth. This is exactly the same case, if a Consultant refuses to take part in the taking of a life, in the case where the person decided to take their own life and, say, law forces the Consultant to enable that taking of life. Does the Consultant have a right to refuse simply based on the same principle of sole-prima-existentia of a doctor for a physician does not exist to take lives but enable and support lives to heal. The question of conscience arises secondarily in both these cases, which is equally applicable to both instances under our discussion and here is the problem with 'forcing' humanity to become nothing but biological physiologies, which is what happens if they are nor not able to follow their conscience.

This does not, however, take a view in favour or in opposition to the debate of abortions but simply  states the valid jurisprudential principle: a human being is a 'person' by international law, a 'person', that is by definition, comprised with and by an agency of a human mind, that cannot exist without its sanctity of conscience. Or in other words: a human agency of a person is inalienably inseparable from the conscience part of its existence. And if the conscience is ripped apart from the human person's agency than she:he simply ceases to be a person or human and becomes merely a biological physiology. Human rights, civil liberties and all fundamental freedoms do and will simply vanish if we do not adhere to this fundamental philosophical foundation, on which they are established.

Therefore, The Humanion sincerely hopes that the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal sees the danger this cases poses to this very foundation of international law and rule to uphold the human person and that person's inviolability, that is unqualified under the very foundation of, what we call law. No one can, should, must and must be allowed to violate this human person, this human agency. And in this, Ms Ellinor Grimmark has been violated on, at least, two accounts: on account of the test of sole-prima-existentia and on account of the freedom of conscience. And it is an admirable thing that ADF is supporting her with this case. The Humanion hopes that, should the Court rule to uphold the violations, ADF shall continue the fight with, on behalf of and by and for Ms Grimmark, for the most profound, most vital and most fundamental principle, yardstick and foundation of the very concept of law is challenged by these violations, that cannot, must not be accepted.

“Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a midwife.” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International. "We are hopeful that the Court, in accordance with international law, will protect Ellinor Grimmark’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience. Three different medical clinics in the district of Jönköping had refused to employ Ms. Grimmark because she would not assist with abortions in light of her convictions regarding the dignity of all human life.

However, in November 2015, a district court found that Ms. Grimmark’s right to freedom of conscience had not been violated. It required her to pay the local government’s legal costs, amounting to 100,000 EUR.

ADF International filed an expert brief in support of her case, highlighting the protection for freedom of conscience that exists under international law.

“Some have attempted to frame this case as one that pits one human right against another. However, the only person, whose rights have been violated is Ellinor Grimmark. Midwives in other countries are able to work in accordance with their consciences. This should be proof enough that Sweden stands without an excuse.” said Mr Clarke.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Teesside Law Clinic Receives National Recognition for Its Continued Pro-Bon Legal Work for Those Who Otherwise Have No Access to Legal Counsel

Image: Teesside University

 

|| April 07: 2017: Teesside University News || ά. The Law Clinic, based at the University’s School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, has been shortlisted for the third time in a row, for the Northern Law Awards 2017, which will be awarded on June 01. The Law Clinic has a dual purpose in providing law students with real practical experience of handling legal cases, while offering a service to the community in cases where people, may, otherwise find it difficult to afford legal advice and representation.

Andrew Perriman, Senior Lecturer in Law, Teesside Law Clinic, said, ''To be shortlisted is an incredible achievement and means that the Law Clinic has been a finalist for three consecutive years. No other organisation, educational institute or law firm can boast this accolade.'' The nomination was as a result of the Law Clinic’s work in offering advice to former steelworkers, who were not in a union, following the closure of the SSI site in Redcar.

A special meeting was called in Redcar by the Law Clinic for former SSI steelworkers, who were not in a union in order to offer free legal advice, guidance and representation from law students supervised by academics and lawyers. It came about after the Law Clinic was contacted by a number of former SSI workers with concerns about the consultation process involved when the Redcar site closed.

The Law Clinic offered advice to workers, who weren’t part of a union while they worked at the company to see if they were eligible for a protective award. ''The Law Clinic was approached by a number of ex-employees from the former steelworks formerly owned by SSI, following a case heard in the employment tribunal. Teesside Law Clinic students looked at the issues raised to see if assistance could be offered to those ex-employees, who were not members of a recognised trade union. We met with a number of those steelworkers affected by the closure to discuss their options and clarify some points of law.'''

The Law Clinic was commended by the Attorney General in 2015 for its work on a legal challenge on behalf of a client to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in a bid to secure fair payouts for historic abuse victims. Since its launch in 2012, Teesside Law Clinic has dealt with over 1,000 enquires including referrals from solicitors, the courts, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and MPs. The team has, also, recovered or saved in excess of one and a half million pounds for clients.The Northern Law Awards 2017 will be held in Newcastle on Thursday, June 01.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Bangladesh: Halt the Imminent Executions of the Three Men Who Tried to Kill the UK Ambassador: Amnesty International

World Day Against Death Penalty: Joint Declaration by the European Union and the Council of Europe

|| March 26: 2017: Amnesty International News || ά. Bangladesh must halt the imminent executions of three men sentenced to death for a grenade attack on the UK Ambassador, Amnesty International said. Prison authorities in Bangladesh today confirmed that the executions of Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon, all alleged members of the banned armed group Harkat-ul-Jihad, would be carried out soon. They were all convicted of and sentenced to death over an attack in 2004 which injured the then-UK High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury, and killed three people.

“These executions must be stopped immediately. While those found responsible for crimes after fair trials should be punished, the death penalty is never the solution. It’s dismaying that the Bangladeshi authorities are looking to take more lives in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’.” said Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. “The death penalty is always a human rights violation and is in no way a more effective way to tackle crime than life imprisonment. Sending these men to the gallows will not make Bangladesh safer, it will only add to the death toll.”

On March 19, 2017, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court rejected the three men’s final appeals. Their only remaining option is now to seek a presidential pardon to stop the executions. Bangladesh is among the minority of states globally that still implements the death penalty. In 2015, four people were executed in the country, while almost 200 people were sentenced to death.

“We urge President Abdul Hamid to pardon these three men and spare their lives. Bangladesh should, also, immediately impose a moratorium on executions with a view to full abolition of the death penalty. More and more countries around the world are coming around to the fact that taking lives neither deters crime nor is an effective mean to deliver justice.” said Olof Blomqvist.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the executions.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Who are Attending the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition 2017 in Vienna Austria: April 06-13

Image: Bahir Dar University

 

|| March 13: 2017: Bahir Dar University Ethiopia News || ά. Bahir Dar University:BDU Ethiopia is to participate in the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition 2017, taking place on April 06-13. BDU LLM students of Business and Corporate Law, School of Law are to represent the university in the 24th William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition in Vienna, Austria.

The Team will be represented by Ayene Mengesha Sisay, who is, also, an academic staff at the law school and Zena Abera Tesema. The William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition is one of the most prestigious International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition whereby more than 340 universities around the world will take part in this year only.

BDU and Cairo University are the only representatives from Africa in the competition. Such a global contest is the first for both BDU and Ethiopian universities in general. In the first phase, BDU’s LLM students have submitted written memorials both as an applicant and respondent, and it is after a very competitive screening of memorials submitted by different universities that our team has advance to the oral round.

Before participating in the oral litigation at Vienna, Austria in from April the BDU representatives will participate in the pre-moot event, organised at Heidelberg University, Germany, from March 31–April 05.

In the preliminary round of the oral litigation, BDU representatives will be facing the representatives of Universidad de Brazilia, Erasmus University, the Netherlands, New York University, USA and ILS Law College, Pune, India.

This academic engagement of BDU, through global ties and academic partnerships, is part of its vision of joining hands with institutions, working towards internationalisation of higher education and the assurance of its quality. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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It Appears UP is on the Up Again in South Africa So That Now They are Heading to Washington DC in April

Image: University of Pretoria


|| March 11: 2017: University of Pretoria South Africa News: Gift Kgomosotho Writing || ά. The University of Pretoria Faculty of Law proudly announces that its TuksLaw team has beaten the team from the University of the Witwatersrand in the final round of the South African leg of the 58th Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The national rounds were hosted at the offices of White and Case LLP International Law Firm in Johannesburg on Saturday, February 25. As a result, the University of Pretoria:UP team will represent South Africa at the international rounds of the competition in April 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The Jessup Competition is the largest and most prestigious moot court competition in the world.

The UP team consisted of Mary-Ann Gettliffe, LLM student, Ashley Makgatho, second-year LLB student and Tinotenda Kakora, final-year LLB student. Obviously, the team members needed a coach, who happens to be Gift Kgomosotho, an LLM student and researcher at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, ICLA. Professors Dire Tladi, Frans Viljoen, Christof Heyns and Wisiting Professor Stuart Maslen, ICLA served as judges in the internal practice rounds before this qualifying round of the competition. The team has won all the available categories, best memorials, best oralist, Gettliffe and best overall team.

As the team prepares for Washington, there will be further opportunities for staff and students to assist by acting as guest judges in the internal practice rounds. The 2017 compromis deals with environmental law, the sharing of natural resources and the equitable use thereof, cultural property and state responsibility.

Coach Gift Kgomosotho said upon the team's return to campus, ''I am very proud of Mary-Ann and Ashley. They have worked very hard for this. I admired the growth they showed between their try-outs and when they argued in court. Ashley was only a first-year when I selected him to be on the team; I saw raw potential that would turn into something great.

While I had previously worked with Mary-Ann in 2015, I have seen her improve greatly this time around. Our researcher and assistant coach, Tinotenda, whom I have worked with closely for the past two years, has been instrumental here. She continues to impress with her skill of juggling Jessup with all her other responsibilities. Coaching this team has been a great pleasure because of the participants' sheer commitment to the process.

We are very happy with what we have achieved and we realise that we shall have to do much more in preparation for the international rounds. Many thanks to everyone who acted as guest judges in our practice rounds. Most importantly, many thanks to Professor Heyns and Dean Boraine who made this possible.''

Kakora said that competing in the Jessup is no an easy feat. ''Having participated in the competition in 2016 I can appreciate the intensity and dedication it takes to win. However, the 2017 team more than rose to the occasion. The team sacrificed their holidays and free time during the semester and in addition to this, had to juggle schoolwork and other extra-curricular activities. Despite these challenges they performed extremely well.

''Being a master's student, an academic associate and working as a tutor off-campus, Mary-Ann's work ethic is nothing short of inspirational and her award for best oralist was certainly well deserved. I am also very proud of Ashley, who as a mere first-year law student, was able to not only grasp the complex concepts of international law, a module taught only at third-year level, but also to form cogent legal arguments and present them orally and in written form in front a of a panel of highly experienced and intimidating judges.

''I am very humbled to have worked with Gift Kgomosotho who, being a seasoned mooter himself, was able to coach and groom the team to a winning standard in a limited amount of time. I have learned a great deal from him and hope to use this knowledge should I coach a team one day. The team's performance at the South African qualifying round was excellent and I am excited to see how they perform internationally.''  The Faculty says that it is very proud of its team's accomplishments and wishes the best for them as they prepare to head to Washington DC.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UN Should Investigate Hate Speech Laws: ADF International

Image: ADF International

|| March 10: 2017 || ά. On Friday, March 10, ADF International expressed its views regarding the current UN Report on the Freedom of Religion or Belief during the General Debate at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. The report failed to expose existing violations of the freedom of religion or belief, conscience and expression in the US, Australia and Europe.

 “We see a massive curtailing of fundamental liberties in the West. While religious oppression may be fiercer in other regions of the world, we must not turn a blind eye to the developments in the US, Europe or Australia. Many have been pushed out of the public square because they refuse to abandon deeply-held convictions. An aggressive secular liberal polity, which claims to be objective and ideologically neutral, pushes people to choose between their religion and their profession.” said Rubén Navarro, Senior UN Counsel for ADF International.

“We have seen many cases of bakers, florists, photographers or venue providers, who have simply exercised their right to religious freedom. They have refused facilitating or promoting such concepts as same-sex unions or other ideas that stand in stark contrast to their faith. International law guarantees equal protection to all people.

It prohibits discrimination on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion. The UN should not simply accept that citizens lose their jobs, be slandered or even sent off to jail, because they refuse to violate their religious beliefs.” ‘Hate speech’ laws are another cause for concern. The report did not properly address these either, despite the growing tendency in the West to use legislation to curb free speech and silence debate.

In his Oral Statement Navarro mentioned the example of the Australian Archbishop of Hobart. He was summoned by a state tribunal, where he had to justify the distribution of a booklet on Catholic teaching on marriage at one of his diocese´s Catholic schools.

“We believe that a free and democratic society is based on a culture of debate and exchange of ideas. Prosecuting clerics or people of faith because they publicly speak about traditional religious doctrine on marriage, family and sexuality, opposes this democratic culture. It also violates their fundamental rights. We urge the UN and especially the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to investigate and report on these issues in greater detail in the future.” said Rubén Navarro. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Mental Anguish Adds Weight to Argument for Ending Capital Punishment: Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

World Day Against Death Penalty: Joint Declaration by the European Union and the Council of Europe

 

|| March 02: 2017 || ά. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein today reiterated his call to abolish the death penalty as it raises serious issues in relation to the dignity and rights of all human beings, including the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. “International and national bodies have determined that several methods of execution are likely to violate the prohibition of torture, because of the pain and suffering they are likely to inflict on the convicted person.” said Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, at the opening of the biennial high-level panel discussion on the death penalty, which was organised as part of the Human Rights Council’s current session.

“Studies of the severe pain and suffering caused by other methods has continued to extend this list, to the point where it has become increasingly difficult for a State to impose the death penalty without violating international human rights law.” he stated. He added that the long and highly stressful period that most individuals endure while waiting on ‘death row’ for years, or even decades and frequently in isolation, for an uncertain outcome, has also been referenced as constituting torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This 'death row phenomenon' has been recognised by the UN Human Rights Committee and other bodies at the international, regional and domestic levels, as well as by the California Supreme Court.

When the authorities fail to give adequate information about the timing of executions, they keep not only the convicted person but also his children and other family members in permanent anticipation of imminent death, he explained. 

''The severe mental and physical suffering which are inflicted by capital punishment on the person concerned and family members should now be added to the weight of the argument.” Mr. Zeid said, explaining that this is another reason why the death penalty should be abolished, besides its capricious and often discriminatory application and its failure to demonstrate any deterrent effect beyond that of other punishments.

Mr A Hussein recalled that a former Special Rapporteur has recommended that the Human Rights Council request a comprehensive legal study regarding the emergence of a customary norm according to which the death penalty constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It has been 10 years since the General Assembly resolution of December 2007 which urged States to adopt a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view towards its full abolition. Over this decade, the global trend against capital punishment has become increasingly strong, with almost three out of four countries now having either abolished it or stopped practicing it.

However, the overall number of executions in States that continue to resort to the death penalty has increased in the last two years, and some States in which a moratorium had been in place for many years have recently resumed executions. “I take this opportunity, once again to urge all States to end use of the death penalty.” Mr. Zeid said.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Slovakia: Unlawful Ethnic Segregation in Schools is Failing Romani Children

Image: Amnesty International
 

|| March 01: 2017: Amnesty International News  || ά. Romani children in Slovakia are being failed by a discriminatory primary school system which continues to segregate them and seriously hinder their education, condemning them to lives of poverty and exclusion, Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre:ERRC said in a new report published today. A Lesson in Discrimination: Segregation of Romani children in Primary Education in Slovakia shows that limited reforms and even the threat of fines from the European Union for breaching EU law, have done little to end the routine practice of placing Romani children in separate classrooms or schools.

Romani children are also routinely being assessed as having 'mild mental disabilities' and sent to special schools where the quality of education is inferior. “Almost two years after the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against Slovakia for discrimination and segregation in education, Romani children remain trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, marginalization and despair.” said ERRC President Ðorđe Jovanović. “Slovakia’s abject failure to address deeply ingrained prejudices within the education system is blighting the future of generations of Romani children from the moment they step into the classroom.”

The report, which focused on four locations in eastern Slovakia, reveals that Romani children are being placed in segregated Roma-only schools or classes, or special schools and classes for children with 'mental disabilities', which have reduced curriculums and limited career opportunities. Another contributing factor to segregation is the fact that non-Roma parents often remove their children from schools when they feel there are 'too many Romani pupils'. Slovak authorities have no effective plans or policies in place to tackle this phenomenon, known as 'white flight'.

Segregation often begins even before primary school, with Romani children routinely being assessed as not ready for primary education and placed in preparatory 'zero grade' classes instead. The education that Romani pupils receive at special schools and in segregated classes is of such poor quality that very few are equipped to continue their schooling beyond the age of 16. The small number that do, have few options other than vocational schools, hugely reducing their future employment options.

In one of the locations investigated, Romani boys who had enrolled at a private secondary vocational school run by a nearby manufacturing company described how they spend most of their time putting together electric plugs which the company then sells. Girls at the school are offered 'Practical Woman':Praktická Žena lessons, part of a nationwide programme in which Romani girls are taught to become 'good housewives' with lessons in cooking and housework.

Deep-seated prejudices and low expectations of Romani children among the teaching staff further hinder their educational opportunities. One teacher called the school she worked in 'a little zoo'. Another said that Roma 'procreate among themselves. Incest happens very often' before going on to describe her pupils’ 'unrealistic' dreams:

“All of them want to be teachers or doctors…it’s a huge difference between what they fancy to be and how they end up eventually. Although the older ones, especially boys, are more realistic and end up being bricklayers, for example.” The report found a deeply disturbing pattern of cultural bias among those responsible for assigning placements to special schools, resulting in the misdiagnosis of dozens of Romani children. In one of the locations researchers visited, around a third of Romani children had been diagnosed with a 'mild mental disability'.

One Romani mother interviewed described her shock when her son, who was judged by a psychologist to be 'very clever', was placed in a special school without explanation. Parents described how children at special schools are often not allowed to bring textbooks home and are routinely not given any homework. Many Romani children speak Slovak only as a second language, severely curtailing their opportunities to participate in wider Slovak-speaking society.

Several parents said that children were often instructed to draw and paint during Slovak language classes, and the father of one 17-year-old boy told us that when he finished at the special school he was still unable to read, write or speak Slovak. Amnesty International and the ERRC are urging the European Commission to push Slovakia to bring its policies in line with EU law on race discrimination, by issuing a ‘reasoned opinion’ against Slovakia, which is the final step before taking them to court.

“The segregation of Romani children is not only disturbing, it is unlawful. It is this, and not the hefty EU fines that will otherwise surely come their way, that should be motivating the Slovak authorities to put a stop to it.”


Background: In April 2015 the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Slovakia for an alleged breach of EU anti-discrimination legislation, which are ongoing. If it fails to comply with EU law on this issue Slovakia could be subjected to severe financial penalties.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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OHCHR Disappointed with the Thai Government’s Refusal to Criminalise Enforced Disappearance

Image: UN Photo

|| February 28: 2017 || ά. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR today urged the Government of Thailand to criminalise enforced or voluntary disappearance and torture. The announcement follows news last week that Thailand's National Legislative Assembly, the military-appointed parliament, decided not to enact a bill that would have done just that.

“The Assembly’s decision to reject the bill is very concerning, given the continued allegations of torture and disappearances in Thailand and it is deeply worrying that such actions may now continue without any legal redress.” Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva. Ms. Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR, characterised the decision to not enact the bill as 'a devastating blow' to the families of those who have disappeared.

Since 1980, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances recorded 82 cases of enforced disappearances in the country. Those include the disappearances of respected lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in 2004 and Karen human rights activist Pholachi 'Billy' Rakchongcharoen in 2014.

Speaking to the press, Ms. Shamdasani also raised concern about the increasing number of criminal cases brought against human rights defenders in Thailand for reporting allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New Legal Innovation Centre at Ulster University

Andrew Brammer, Allen and Overy Belfast; Ulster University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon;
Executive Director of Baker McKenzie Belfast, Jason Marty and Professor Jonathan Askin,
Brooklyn Law School. Image: Ulster University

 

|| February 22: 2017: Ulster University: Northern Ireland: United Kingdom News || ά. Ulster University today launched a new Legal Innovation Centre, which will be at the forefront of advancing the use of technology-driven innovation in legal services and legal education globally. The Centre, a collaboration between the School of Law and the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, is the first of its kind in the UK. It has been established with support from leading global law firms Allen and Overy and Baker McKenzie, both of which have established bases in Belfast in recent years. The Centre has also received sponsorship from Invest Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Ulster University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paddy Nixon, said, “There is a growing recognition of the crucial and ever-expanding role of technology in law. The Centre will undertake much-needed research on technological innovations to facilitate legal process improvement, and so promote greater economic efficiency and improved access to justice. The Centre will also enable those interested in LawTech, whether legal professionals, law students or others, to study the technological transformation of legal practice, and the implications of this change. In this way it will foster the emergence of legal technologists, ready for the challenges of legal service provision in the information age.

The legal sector is immensely important to our economy and in recent years Northern Ireland has attracted significant investment from several global law firms which has created a hub of legal expertise with a focus on innovation. This new Centre will underpin the strength of our legal sector and further enhance Ulster University’s global reputation for law and computer science research excellence.”

Commenting on the Legal Innovation Centre, Jane Townsend, Partner and Head of A and O’s Legal Services Centre in Belfast, said, “Legal service is a knowledge-led business and technology is pivotal to everything we do. Across our firm, we seek to continually improve and enhance our systems and the way we do things. This collaboration gives us the opportunity to work towards these and other goals while deepening our strong relationship with Ulster University. We’ve been greatly impressed by the high calibre of the Legal Innovation Centre and its strategy for accelerating innovation and technology in the legal sector.”

Jason Marty, Executive Director of Baker McKenzie Belfast, said, “Terrific education at all levels was a deciding factor for us in choosing to locate in Belfast. This new centre extends that strength and directly connects to the opportunities and challenges facing the law and the legal industry. We expect our partnership with the center to provide tangible impacts in how we build our teams, technologies, and business. We also look forward to contributing to the good work of the center on issues with direct benefit to the people and legal system of Northern Ireland and beyond.”

The Centre will be led by three Ulster University academics: Professor Eugene McNamee, Law, Professor Kevin Curran, Computer Science and Centre Director, Dr Catrina Denvir. The Centre will give students and lawyers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with different types of legal technology software provided by the University’s academic partners, Clio and Caselines.

Clio is the world’s leading cloud-based law practice management platform and Caselines is the market-leading service for the preparation of legal bundles and electronic presentation in the court room.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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In a Period of Profound Uncertainty: The Time to Stand up for Human Rights is Now: OHCHR

OHCHR human rights officers speaking with a member of the Chepang indigenous community in Nepal. Image: OHCHR:Robert Few

|| February 15: 2017 || ά. Urging action for greater freedoms, stronger respect and more compassion, OHCHR today launched a $253 million appeal, its largest to date, to bolster its 2017 work programme to protect and advance the rights of people around the world. “In numerous countries, even the rules are under attack, xenophobia and calls for racial and religious discrimination have entered mainstream discourse and every day, seemingly, are more widespread and more deeply rooted.” said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a news release issued by his office, OHCHR announcing the appeal.