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News from the World - February 2024⛄️

LGBTQ+ Rights

Greece has become the 16th EU country to recognize marriage for all 🏳️‍🌈🥳

Following Estonia's success as the first Baltic country to legalize marriage for all, Greece now achieves another milestone as the first Orthodox country to newly recognize full equality for couples regarding marriage. Despite immense opposition from the opposition and the Orthodox Church itself, lawmakers managed to pass legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. While there is criticism from LGBTQ+ activists regarding the new law, which falls short of expectations by not allowing same-sex male couples to use surrogacy, it is still a significant step forward towards equality for same-sex couples. [1]


The Czech Republic had another chance to demonstrate its alignment with the West, yet it failed again 🫠💔

After the January fiasco, where the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament refused to help domestic violence victims by not ratifying the Istanbul Convention, in February, the lower chamber decided that same-sex couples will not achieve equality in 2024 either. On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the third reading of an amendment to the Civil Code, equalizing marriages of heterosexual and same-sex couples, took place in the Chamber of Deputies. The third reading also included a constitutional law establishing marriage as the union of a man and a woman, so this day was considered decisive by many. Unfortunately, despite years of efforts by NGOs, individuals, and certain members of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies decided not in favor of thousands of rainbow families but in pragmatism in the form of a compromise purportedly better than nothing. Thus, a proposal was approved that strengthens the rights of same-sex couples, for example, in inheritance matters, but it does not address one of the key issues, which is child adoption. At the same time, it was decided that same-sex couples are not worthy of the designation "marriage" and can only achieve "partnership" at most. But at least lawmakers thought about amending the Criminal Code, within which the crime of bigamy is extended to cover partnerships as well. [2]


New anti-LGBTQ+ legislation from Ghana is another evidence of growing conservatism in West Africa 🇬🇭❗️

The Ghanaian Parliament recently passed strict legislation imposing up to three years in prison for self-identifying as LGBTQ+ and up to five years for establishing or supporting LGBTQ+ groups. Efforts to replace imprisonment with alternative penalties in the form of community service and counseling were rejected due to strong opposition. This law is merely a tightening of the original homophobic law, which prohibits any homosexual activity with the threat of up to three years' imprisonment. Among other things, this new law proposes harsh penalties of up to 10 years for individuals involved in promoting LGBTQ+ to children and also encourages the public to report LGBTQ+ individuals to the relevant authorities. Although the approved law represents a milder version compared to the original proposal, it still introduces strict repressive measures that pose a significant threat to the protection of the basic rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ individuals. [3]


Authoritarian Regimes

🇹🇼 ❌ 🇨🇳

On Monday, February 26, 2024, five ships of the Chinese coast guard sailed into the waters of the Taiwanese island, which is located in close proximity to mainland China. Although they left the area after a warning, it is another example of the peculiar situation in the Taiwan Strait in terms of international law. Since Taiwan is not recognized as a state by most of the world, it cannot be said to have sovereign or territorial waters that could be disturbed, as China officially considers it part of its territory. However, its waters are, in fact, its own, and how much China accepts this situation serves as a barometer of the current situation. [4]


Roma Minority

The case of a Romani individual who died in Teplice during a police intervention is before the European Court of Human Rights 🗣️

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated a complaint to the Czech Republic from the sister of a Romani individual who died during a controversial intervention in Teplice in June 2021. The case was investigated by the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS), which, like all levels of national justice thereafter, concluded that the police did not err during the intervention. However, the sister of the deceased disagrees, claiming that her brother's right to life was violated and that she had no effective remedy available regarding the findings of the GIBS investigation. There is also the possibility of a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, which prohibits torture, about which the Court is currently questioning the Czech government. The GIBS investigation concluded that the man died as a result of drug use, not the excessive use of force by the police. Conversely, the investigation by the former deputy ombudsman in 2020 reached the opposite conclusion and found mistakes by the police officers. [5]

 

[1] TUGWELL, Paul. Greece Extends Marriage, Adoption Rights to Same-Sex Couples in Historic Parliament Vote. Time [online]. 2024 [cit. 2024-03-03]. Available at: https://time.com/6695758/greece-same-sex-marriage-adoption-christian-orthodox-lgbtq/

[2] RAMBOUSKOVÁ, Michaela. Pro gaye a lesby pouze partnerství, nikoli manželství, rozhodli poslanci. Seznam Zprávy [online]. 2024 [cit. 2024-03-03]. Available at: https://www.seznamzpravy.cz/clanek/domaci-zivot-v-cesku-manzelstvi-pro-vsechny-okamurova-spd-zablokovala-jednani-snemovny-246749 

[3] NAADI, Thomas. Ghana passes bill making identifying as LGBTQ+ illegal. BBC [online]. 2024 [cit. 2024-03-03]. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-68353437

[4] ‚Způsob prohlášení suverenity.‘ Lodě čínské pobřežní stráže vpluly do vod u tchajwanských ostrovů. IRozhlas [online]. 2024 [cit. 2024-03-03]. Available at: https://www.irozhlas.cz/zpravy-svet/zpusob-prohlaseni-suverenity-lode-cinske-pobrezni-straze-vpluly-do-vod-u_2402270642_cen

[5] RYŠAVÝ, Zdeněk. Evropský soud pro lidská práva začal řešit případ smrti Stanislava Tomáše a klade České republice nepříjemné otázky: Byl případ řádně vyšetřen? Romea.cz [online]. 2024 [cit. 2024-03-03]. Available at: https://romea.cz/cz/domaci/evropsky-soud-pro-lidska-prava-zacal-resit-pripad-smrti-stanislava-tomase-a-klade-ceske-republice-neprijemne-otazky-byl-pripad-radne-vysetren-byl-zakrok-primereny-hral-v-pripadu-roli-rasismus#google_vignette

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