Malaysia: Drop Criminal Cases Against Peaceful Protesters

Source: Human Rights Watch

Political Charges Under Peaceful Assembly Act Violate Basic Rights

HRWlogo(New York) – Malaysian authorities should drop charges against eight activists and opposition politicians for participating in peaceful protests in Kuala Lumpur in February and March 2015, Human Rights Watch said today.

On September 9, authorities filed charges under the Peaceful Assembly Act for their participation in so-called #KitaLawan protests on February 28, March 21, and March 28 in support of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The vague and overly broad prohibitions on public protest under the law violate the internationally protected right to peaceful assembly, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Malaysian government seems determined to turn every peaceful protest into an occasion for throwing demonstrators into police lock-ups and charging them with a crime,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities need to stop their headlong rush toward an authoritarian state and drop the charges against all peaceful protesters.”    Read more

Women’s prospects limited by law in 155 countries, finds World Bank study

Source: The Guardian

Two decades after Beijing declaration on gender equality, women’s economic opportunities and working rights still widely subject to restrictive legislation

Afghanistan is one of the countries that has discriminatory laws around women’s ability to work or move freely.

Afghanistan, like countries in the Middle East, north Africa and elsewhere in south Asia, has laws that limit the ability of women to work and move freely. Photograph: Hoshang Hashimi/AP

About 155 countries have at least one law that limits women’s economic opportunities, while 100 states put restrictions on the types of jobs women can do and 18 allow husbands to dictate whether their wives can work at all, according to a World Bank report that paints a stark picture of the enduring obstacles women face in achieving economic empowerment.

Of the 173 countries studied for the report, entitled Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal, 32 require women to get permission from their husbands to apply for a passport and 22 do not allow married mothers to confer citizenship on their children. Thirty states have legislation that designates men household heads, while women in 19 countries are legally obliged to obey their husbands.

More positively, over the past two years, 65 countries – the majority developing states – have made 94 reforms to their statute books to improve gender parity. There has also been progress in tackling violence against women: 127 countries now have laws on domestic violence, compared with just seven 25 years ago.

Countries including Canada, Peru and Namibia, were among 18 found to have no legal restrictions on women in the seven areas studied. Read more