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News from the World - January 2024 ❄️

LGBTQ+ Rights

The first post-Soviet country legalized marriage for all, or Estonia's progress that we can only envy in the Czech Republic 🏳️‍🌈

The Estonian Parliament in June 2023 passed an amendment to the Family Law, equalizing the status of homosexual and heterosexual couples, thus anchoring marriage for all. Registered partnerships have been allowed in Estonia since 2014; however, due to a crucial decision by Estonian parliamentarians, same-sex couples can now also be officially married starting from the new year. After Slovenia, Estonia is the second country from the original Eastern Bloc to take this step and the very first from the Baltic region. Despite statistics indicating slightly higher support for marriage for all in our country, unlike Estonia, it seems that the equalization of rights for same-sex couples is not a priority for our politicians. [1]

 

Authoritarian Regimes
The presidential elections in Taiwan turned out very well for democracy supporters 🇹🇼
On January 13, 2024, presidential elections took place in the territory of the island state of Taiwan, where two candidates competed against each other, William Laj representing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the representative of the opposition party Kuomintang (KMT), Chou Jou-i. Already after counting more than ninety percent of precincts, it was evident that the winner of the elections was the government candidate and current vice president Laj, who represents hope for an independent and democratic Taiwan. It could be expected that China would not be pleased with such election results. The newly elected president is considered a threat by China for his efforts towards international recognition of Taiwan's autonomy, and China persists in its authoritarian usurping stance, aiming to claim Taiwan's territory as its own. [2]

Roma Minority

Young Roma individuals have compiled a report and policy paper on manifestations of anti-Roma sentiment on the internet ❗️
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the organization ROMEA, and the Forum for Human Rights published two significant and unique documents in the Czech environment on January 24, 2024, in the fight against online prejudiced violence against Roma in the Czech Republic. These documents include the Fight against Digital Anti-Roma Sentiment in the Czech Republic, a report on how anti-Roma sentiment actually looks and manifests itself in the Czech Republic, and the subsequent Prosecution of Digital Hatred towards Roma: a handbook of measures for the Czech Republic, which formulates specific recommendations for Czech administrative authorities on how to better proceed in preventing and sanctioning such behavior. The uniqueness of the documents lies particularly in the fact that young Roma individuals created them as part of voluntary activities, and they also highlight practical impacts. The authors not only mapped hateful expressions against Roma on the internet but also submitted ten criminal reports, one of which has already resulted in an eight-month suspended sentence and another in a fine. These reports mainly concerned "comments calling for the extermination of Roma, denying the Holocaust, and expressing sympathy for Nazi ideology," as stated by the authors in the press release. Whether recommendations of a practical nature, especially directed towards ministries and the police, emphasizing the lack of communication between relevant authorities or inconsistency in assessing prejudiced hate expressions, will be implemented in practice will be known only after the publication of statistics for the year 2024. [3]

Remaining Category, or What You Shouldn't Miss Either
The Czech Republic, by not ratifying the Istanbul Convention, missed the opportunity to help victims of domestic violence 💔
On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, the Senate of the Czech Parliament had the opportunity to show the world that we belong to countries that care about the safety of their citizens. Unfortunately, by two votes, this did not happen, and on the contrary, we can now be classified among countries like Hungary, Turkey, and others actively and successfully fighting against any equality and justice for their citizens. The Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, was signed by the Czech Republic in 2016. Since then, several years have passed, but the probable aversion, not only to ratifying the Convention but also the inability to engage in any fact-based discussion, has been driven by the words "gender," association with Western progressive countries, and absolute arrogance alternating with apathy towards victims of domestic violence. It is hard to say whether any of the opponents have ever seen the text of the Convention to verify the truth or falsehood of their statements. Nevertheless, with certainty, we can say that by this step, the Czech Senate sent a signal to victims of domestic violence that their problems are not sufficiently relevant for the Convention to be approved. [4]
 

[1] Musaddiqe, Shafi. Same-sex couples able to marry in Estonia from New Year’s Day. Guardian. 1. ledna 2024. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/01/same-sex-couples-able-to-marry-in-estonia-from-new-years-day

[2] Čína ho označuje za potížistu. Volby na Tchaj-wanu vyhrál viceprezident Laj. Seznam zprávy. 13. ledna 2024. Available at: https://www.seznamzpravy.cz/clanek/zahranicni-na-tchaj-wanu-skoncily-prezidentske-volby-cina-je-v-pozoru-243590  

[3] Mladí Romové bojují proti online rasismu a anticiganismu: 245 případů nenávisti, 10 trestních oznámení a doporučení vládě ČR. Romea. 24. Ledna 2024. Available at: https://romea.cz/cz/domaci/mladi-romove-bojuji-proti-online-rasismu-a-anticiganismu-245-pripadu-nenavisti-10-trestnich-oznameni-a-doporuceni-vlade-cr 

[4] Senátoři odmítli ratifikaci Istanbulské úmluvy. Ke schválení chyběly jen dva hlasy. IRozhlas. 24: ledna 2024. Available at: https://www.irozhlas.cz/zpravy-domov/senat-istanbulska-umluva_2401242301_mst 

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