London, 23 December 2013

On 9 December 2013, the Council of the European Union unanimously adopted the “Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States”. This is an important development in Europe, where the Roma continue to face widespread prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion. The Recommendation signifies a necessary and welcome commitment from the EU to taking action to tackle the inequality and discrimination faced by the Roma in Europe and, in particular, to addressing their socio-economic exclusion.

London, 23 December 2013

On 20 December 2013, the Ugandan Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, after it was unexpectedly scheduled for a vote when the majority of MPs were not present. The Bill, which makes same-sex sexual conduct an offence punishable by life imprisonment, was passed in Parliament despite Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi expressing concern that there was not a quorum. The news is the latest blow for the equality of all regardless of sexual orientation around the globe, and demonstrates the level of discrimination and prejudice faced by homosexuals in Uganda.

London, 18 December 2013

On 12 December 2013, the High Court of Australia issued its judgment in The Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory, a case relating to the status of the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, a regional law enacted in October 2013 which permitted same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territories (ACT). As was expected, the High Court found that the Act was inconsistent with federal law on marriage, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. 

London, 13 December 2013 On 11 December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court issued its judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal and another v NAZ Foundation and others, an appeal of the much celebrated decision of the Delhi High Court in 2009 to overturn a sodomy law which had criminalised same-sex sexual conduct.

London, 6 December 2013

On 27 November 2013, the UK Supreme Court issued its judgment in Bull and Another v Hall and Another, in which it ruled on whether Christian hotel owners discriminated against homosexual civil partners through a policy to only let double rooms to “heterosexual married couples”. In a decision which robustly defends the rights of same-sex couples to equal access to goods, facilities and services, the Court held that the policy directly discriminated against civil partners whose status, aside from their sexual orientation, was indistinguishable from that of married couples.  

London, Thursday 28 November Today, at an event held alongside the European Union Eastern Partnership Summit taking place in Vilnius, Lithuania, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT), in partnership with the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), launched Half an Hour to Spring: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Belarus.

As the European Union and Ukraine meet to discuss their future relations, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to reform and amend the country’s equality legislation to bring it in line with international and European standards. ERT has also urged the European Union to maintain pressure for equality law reform, despite the suspension of negotiations for an Association Agreement. ERT has been actively involved in advocating reforms to equality legislation in Ukraine.

London,30 October 2013

On 14 October 2013, the Malaysian Court of Appeal issued its judgment in Menteri Dalam Negeri v Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, in which it ruled on whether a state prohibition on the use of the word “Allah” by a Roman Catholic publication was constitutional. In a decision which exposes the pervasive institutional discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia, the Court held that the imposition of the prohibition did not amount to a breach of the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion. 

London, 23 October 2013

Two important judgments have recently been given in cases with significant implications for statelessness. The judgments highlight two ends of the spectrum in the battle to eradicate statelessness caused by discrimination on grounds of descent.