Tag Archives: rights

Muslim Women In South Africa Gain New Rights

The modern world witnesses the presence in societies of people from varying religious and cultural backgrounds which increasingly requires review of basic ideas regarding what legal. Muslim women in South Africa who were married under Sharia law moved closer to securing rights guaranteed to women under the nation’s marital laws. The South African Constitutional Court ruled that Muslim women who were involved in a polygnous marriage can now inherit a share of their dead husband’s estate. Fatima Gabie Hassan was one of two wives. After the death of her husband, the estate’s executor refused her claim to a share in the estate. The Court’s decision allowed women in such marriages to have a fair share in the estate of a spouse, but it did not rule on the other question as to whether or not polygnous marriages or those granted under Sharia law were valid.

Some law experts argue the court is merely interpreting a polygnous marriage as akin to that between gays or lesbians and thus each partner is entitled to a share of the estate. However, it will be interesting if the South African court eventually rules on the issue of the legality of Sharia law marriages.

Denmark Adopts Same Sex Adoption

There is now a parliamentary majority in Denmark which supports the principle of same sex adoption. The proposal would give partners registered in civil unions the right to adopt unrelated children both domestically and internationally. Denmark law currently allows individuals to adopt regardless of sexual orientation and for couples to adopt their partner’s existing children. The new proposal simply allows any civil union to adopt children. Denmark will shortly join other Nordic countries such as Norway, Sweden and Iceland in allowing such adoptions.

The movement toward extending equal rights to all people regardless of their sexual orientation is progressing, perhaps slowly, but it proceeds and within a decade this issue will not longer be of importance in most nations of the industrial world.

Aussie Police Are Watching You!

Members of the Australian Queensland Police Service are cracking down on links between journalists who are revealing secrets the police prefer remain secrets. Mick Barnes of the Queensland Police Union, says “every time somethng that appears in teh media that’s of some sensitive nature to the police service or the government, they try to work out how the media has got hold of this.” This results in police checking into personal records of members of the press. It is also believed the bank records and private telephone calls of members of the press and media are being accessed by the police.

In a show of defiance, the police do not deny any claims made by Barnes on the ground they have the right to check out unauthorized leaks to the media. They have the right to check, but they do not have the right to violate human rights. There is a difference.

Australia Makes Offender Target, Not Complaintant

Race Commissioner Tom Calma is asking for changes in Australia’s laws dealing with racial discrimination. Up to this point, the burden of proof has fallen on the individual bringing charges, but he wants the focus to shift by placing responsbility on the shoulders of the person charged with discrimination. He believes the current process is too hard on the individual bringing charges. “It is a dfficult exercise to be able to get the evidence together and if the offending party doesn’t want to co-operate then you can’t progress it. We do get occasions were people don’t want to cooperate, and then we’re forced to terminate a case.”

This is a complex issue because two rights are in operation, the rights of those who claim discrimination and the rights of those being charged. There simply is no easy resolution of this process except to work hard at prevention.

Pentagon Involved In Domestic Spying

The American Civil Liberties Union has uncovered documents which reveal a collaboration between the Pentagon and the FBI in seeking to gather information about private citizens. They secretly sent hundreds of letters in order to obtain financial records of private citizens without approval. Vice President Richard Cheney defended the practice as a “perfectly legitimate activity to protect America against terrorism. It is particularly disturbing that the military of the United States is now engaged in domestic intelligence.

The Bush administration has exploited 9/11 to justify any action or practice dealing with cviil liberties of this nation. The cry of “protecting America against terrorism” has been abused in this frantic effort to break the law and violate the essence of the American Constitution. Any opposition is derided as reflecting a “soft on terrorism” attitude in order to allow the administration to proceed in its quest to create an all powerful executive which alone decides what it best for the American people. It is disturbing and sad that the military of this nation have been placed in situations which compromise their own oath to obey the Constitution.