Current News

Brazil: New Law Admits Women to the Navy

Publication Date: January 3, 2018

The Brazilian Federal Senate passed a bill on December 12, 2017, that allows women to join the Brazilian Navy. (Projeto de Lei da Câmara No. 147, de 2017 [Bill of Law No. 147/2017], ATIVIDADE LEGISLATIVA.) The new law amends Law No. 9,519 of November 26, 1997, which regulates the structure of organs and cadres in the Navy, to include new categories of officers and establish norms for recruitment, transfer, and promotion of military personnel.  (Lei No. 9.519, de 26 de Novembro de 1997, PLANALTO.)  According to the approved law, women may now be allowed to participate in the operational activities of the Navy and to be integrated into the Navy and the Marine Corps, which were hitherto restricted to men only.  (Bill of Law No. 147/2017, art. 1.)

As the measure had been previously approved by the Chamber of Deputies, it will now be forwarded to President Michel Temer for his signature so that it can enter into force.

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Indonesia: Province Drafts Regulation Banning Provocative Clothing

Publication Date: January 3, 2018

Bengkulu Province, located on the southwestern coast of the large Indonesian island of Sumatra, is considering adopting regional legislation on the protection of women and children that includes rules on proper dress. As now being drafted by the Provincial Legislative Council, the regulation would ban the wearing of “sexy clothing” in public. The legislature will begin deliberations next year, following the completion of the drafting process.

According to the head of the legislative commission on health and education for the province, Muharamin, who spoke on December 19, 2017, the impetus for the new regulation “comes from concerns over sexual violence and rape against women and children in Bengkulu. This is one of our efforts to mitigate such cases.” Muharamin noted that the proposed regulation would include a ban on the wearing of provocative clothing, especially by students. Rules would specify that girls’ skirts should not end above the knee and that clothing should not fit tightly. 

The plan has been criticized by Susi Handayani, the director of a Bengkulu community learning center for women and children. She argued that a dress code alone would not be sufficient protection for children or women. “Boys and girls must also be taught to respect each other,” she noted, adding that “[f]emale health reproduction [sic] must also be given attention.” 

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South Korea to review whether or not to abolish anti-abortion law

Publication Date: November 27, 2017

The South Korean president’s office said on Sunday that it will begin a review on the country’s 64-year-old law to ban abortion.

The announcement came after more than 230,000 South Koreans filed a petition calling for the abolishment of the law.

South Korea criminalized abortion in 1953 when its leaders wanted to boost the population and build an army powerful enough to fend off its rival North Korea.

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Bahrain: Women’s Rights Activists Launch Campaign to Amend Citizenship Law

Publication Date: November 1, 2017

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS), in conjunction with other Bahrain women’s rights groups and various Members of Parliament (MPs) and the business community, has launched a campaign to extend equal citizenship rights to women by amending a provision of the country’s citizenship law.

Under the current law, children of Bahraini women living in the country are denied citizenship if their fathers are not Bahraini nationals, while children of Bahraini men automatically become citizens, even if their fathers are not living in Bahrain and their mothers are not Bahraini. The provision of the Bahraini Citizenship Act being challenged by the activists, article 4(A), states “[a] person shall be deemed a Bahraini national . . . [i]f he is born in Bahrain or abroad and his father, at the time of birth, was a Bahraini national.”

The activists want the phrase “his father” changed to “either of the child’s parents.” Previous attempts to amend the law in 2005, 2007, 2014, and April 2017 failed to achieve parliamentary approval.

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