Cabinet Clears Second Labour Code, Tough Law on Child Sexual Abuse
Hindustan Times - New Delhi, India, 7/11/2019
The Union Cabinet on July 10, 2019, took a slew of decisions, among which was seeking to introduce the death penalty for aggravated sexual offences against minors, and a bill seeking to provide social, economic and educational empowerment to transgender people by defining their identity and preventing discrimination. While the amendments to the POCSO act will penalise possession of child pornography, alongside establishing the controversial death penalty for cases of aggravated assault; the transgender rights bill seeks to give transgender people the right to self-identification regardless of medically transitioning. However, it requires transgender people to go through a district magistrate and ‘district screening committee’ to get ‘certified’ as a transperson, which is a measure that has been heavily opposed by the transgender community.
Law Professor Suspended for Sexual Harassment
Phillipine Star- Manila, Phillippines, 7/10/2019
The Philippines Supreme Court has suspended lawyer and former law professor Cresencio Co Untian Jr for making sexual advances to his students at Xavier University. The court suspended Untian from law practice for 5 years, and from teaching law in any school for 10 years – a graver penalty than the two-year suspension previously imposed on him by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). This is the first time that a court ‘was required to penalise a law professor for sexually harassing his students,’ said concurring Justice Marvic Leonen, who also said that the professor should have been disbarred instead of just suspended. Three female students of Xavier University had filed complaints against Untian for non-consensual sexual advances.
Goa Plans to Make HIV Test Mandatory for Every Couple before Getting Married
India Times - Goa, India, 7/9/2019
In a move that could potentially be controversial, Goa is mulling to make HIV tests mandatory for couples before the registration of marriage. Goa’s Minister for Law has said that the proposal to make HIV testing compulsory before marriage is currently being vetted by the Law Department. This is not the first time such a proposal has been made - in 2006, a similar proposal had been approved by the Goa cabinet, making HIV testing mandatory before marriage. However, the initiative had never taken off. While growing HIV rates remain a constant concern, it has been heavily debated whether mandatory testing helps increase HIV awareness, or whether it makes people living with HIV feel further stigmatised.
Delhi HC Dismisses PIL Seeking Rules for LGBT Marriage
National Herald - New Delhi, India, 7/8/2019
The Delhi High Court on July 8, 2019, dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the government to frame family laws for LGBTQ relationships and form a committee to look into these issues. A division bench presided by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Harishankar turned down the plea filed by Tajinder Singh, after stating that the drafting of such a law was the prerogative of the Legislature. The petitioner had pressed for bringing in appropriate changes to the Hindu Marriage Act and other personal laws, to recognise the rights pertaining to marriage, adoption etc, for LGBTQ people, as well as constitution of a commission to protect the rights of LGBTQ couples.
Bangladesh Joins Hands with UNDP to Benefit Bangladeshi Women, Girls for Climate Resilient Solutions
Xinhua, Bangladesh, 7/7/2019
The Bangladeshi Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has joined hands with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement a six-year project to help women and adolescent girls adopt climate resilient solutions. The project will provide assistance to women and girls in two coastal districts - Satkhira and Khulna - to adopt resilient livelihoods, while ensuring reliable, safe drinking water through community-managed rainwater harvesting solutions. It will also seek to strengthen the participation of women in last-mile dissemination of gender-responsive early warnings and continued monitoring and adaptation of livelihoods to evolving climate risks. The project also focuses on enhancing women's access to finance, by not just training them in business development, but also linking indigenous women's producer groups to big businesses.