News Archives

Can Court Nix Marriage Between Adults, Asks SC

The Times of India - New Delhi, India, 2/23/2018

Questioning the legality of a Kerala High Court decision annulling the marriage of Hadiya nee Akhila to Shafin Jahan on a petition by her father, the Supreme Court asked whether a court had the power to scrap a marriage between consenting adults on the ground it was not in their best interest. After interacting with Hadiya, the SC had released her from parental custody and granted her freedom to pursue her studies and lead a life of her choice. But her father, through senior advocate Shaym Divan, defended the HC decision to annul the marriage and said the court had taken a judicious decision after getting to know the ground reality.

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Rights Group Challenges Kenya's Anti-Gay Laws in Court

Daily Herald - Nairobi, Kenya, 2/22/2018

Kenya's High Court on February 22 began hearing arguments in a case that challenges parts of the penal code seen as targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission argues that sections of the code are in breach of the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalising consensual same-sex relations between adults. They are also used to justify violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the East African nation, the commission's Executive Director, Eric Gitari, said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when a ruling is expected.

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Rights Panel Seeks Report on Sexual Abuse of Students

The Tribune - Faridkot, India, 2/20/2018

Taking suo motu cognisance of The Tribune report ‘Sexual abuse: DIET students accuse Education Dept of inaction’ published on February 15, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission told the Secretary, School Education, to submit a report about the case by April 10. An inquiry had found six male teachers of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Muktsar, prima facie guilty of exploiting girl students. The second-year students of DIET were terrorised and could not muster courage to name any erring teacher. The inquiry officer had recommended shifting of these teachers, but the Education Department failed to do the needful, the students had alleged, while threatening to end their lives.

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New Indonesia Internet System Blocks More Than 70,000 ‘Negative’ Sites

The Indian Express - Jakarta, Indonesia, 2/19/2018

Indonesia has blocked more than 70,000 websites displaying ‘negative’ content such as pornography or extremist ideology in the first month of using a new system to help purge the internet of harmful material, the communications minister told Reuters. The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country has stepped up efforts to control online content after a rise in hoax stories and hate speech, and amid controversial anti-pornography laws pushed by Islamic parties. The so-called ‘crawling system’ was launched in January, using 44 servers to search internet content and issue alerts when inappropriate material is found. ‘We just put some sort of key words there, most of them are pornographic,’ said Minister of Communication and Information Rudiantara.

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Centre to Reintroduce Transgender Bill with Suggested Changes

Hindustan Times - New Delhi, India, 2/19/2018

The government is set to reintroduce the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 in the budget session of Parliament, which resumes on March 5, after incorporating some of the suggestions made by a parliamentary committee, including dropping the phrase ‘neither wholly male or female’ from the definition of transgender, officials familiar with the matter said on February 18. The Centre is also considering doing away with the need for medical screening committees at the district level, as demanded by transgender persons since the bill was first tabled in August 2016. Karthik Bittu, an associate professor of biology and psychology at Ashoka University who organised committee depositions from fellow transgender people, said the changes were essential.

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