20. 10. 2019   Zuzana Zajíčková

A controversial law that prohibits clothing that "covers the face" from being worn in schools, hospitals, other public buildings and public transport, came into effect in the Netherlands at the beginning of August 2019. The Netherlands, therefore, became the most recent EU country to prohibit face-covering clothing in public buildings. The first country which launched similar legislative measures was France, in 2011.

The so-called Burqa Ban Act, which was passed in June of last year, is a result of 14 years of public debate on the subject. It covers the ban of wearing burqas and the niqab (two main symbols of Islamic religious dress), as well as other coverings such as ski masks, motor helmets or balaclavas in public buildings and public transport. In case of violation, there is a penalty of a 150 euro fine. The rule is partial, it does not apply to people wearing face coverings in the street (unlike more extensive bans in France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria and Denmark).

28. 9. 2019   Barbora Valíková

Eight people were convicted in July 2019 in the biggest modern slavery prosecution case in the United Kingdom, following an investigation that took three years. Five men and three women, all members of a Polish gang, enslaved and exploited more than 400 people. 

The trial took place in Birmingham, with over 60 witnesses providing evidence against the prosecuted. The case was separated into two trials, the first of which already took place in February and five people were sentenced. The second trial, which concluded in July, saw another three men sentenced to prison. Seven of the eight traffickers were also convicted of money laundering.

15. 9. 2019   Eva Dokoupilová

For the past few weeks there have been numerous demonstrations filling the streets of Hong Kong. The police suppressed the demonstrators using a high level of violence in an attempt to calm the situation. Why are the citizens of Hong Kong assembling and what initiated the protests?

2019 Hong Kong Extradition Bill

The Extradition Bill [1] is an amended bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong in January 2019. The bill shall fix the legal loopholes that enables criminals to safely stay in the city. However, it simultaneously proposes a threat to the “one country, two systems”, since it leaves citizens of Hong Kong and those passing through the city vulnerable to possible trial (possibly unfair) in front of the courts of Mainland China, which are controlled by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

4. 8. 2019   Douglas Radcliff

The term “Free World” grew in prominence during the Cold War to describe the Western Bloc. Over time it has been associated more with the US due to the US being considered the main democratic superpower and therefore, the leader of democratic states throughout the world. However, if one examines recent trends, it seems the US no longer meets this standard.

The “Free World,” more generally being associated with Western states, has democratic values at its core. One of the key democratic values is respect for fundamental human rights. However, in order to be a leader of the “Free World,” the state (or amalgamation of states in the case of the US) should not only protect these fundamental human rights but also drive them forward at an accelerating pace, both internationally and domestically.

4. 8. 2019   Nikola Klímová

In her final report of June 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, published her findings about the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, committed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. Based on her investigation, Callamard affirms that there is credible evidence of the involvement of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and other high-ranking officials in the killing and calls for opening an independent international inquiry.

In June, the UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard submitted to the Human Rights Council her long-awaited report summarising her findings on the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The report is divided into two documents. First, a formal summary submitted to the Human Rights Council for its 41st regular session which took place in Geneva between 24 June and 12 July. Second, a one-hundred page annex to the report discussing detailed factual and legal findings of the UN Special Rapporteur. Drawing upon evidence collected mainly during Callamard’s mission to Turkey, her investigation brought to light several novel facts about Khashoggi’s death. 

4. 8. 2019   Aneta Boudová

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka decided to cancel the 43-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty in February this year. The main reason to resume executions is, according to the president, to fight drug crime, which is common in Sri Lanka as it is one of the main routes of drug trafficking.

Sri Lanka used the death penalty as punishment for major crimes more or less until the 1970s. During this time, opposition pushed to restrict the practice and as a reaction, moratorium on the death penalty was established in 1976. However, that does not mean that the death penalty was abolished as such. Sri Lanka's Penal Code still contains the death penalty as punishment and people are nowadays still sentenced to death after committing major criminal offences.[1] In fact, over 1,000 prisoners are on death row right now in Sri Lanka. But thanks to the moratorium they serve life sentences instead of waiting for death by hanging, which is the method of execution in Sri Lanka.

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6. 7. 2019   Aneta Boudová

Čína v současnosti testuje nový systém sociálních kreditů, které představují nástroj k hodnocení každodenního chování čínských občanů. Ti jsou sledováni pomocí nejmodernějších technologií a následně za své chování zvýhodňováni či sankcionováni.

 Již od roku 2014 probíhá testování nového systému, který má dle čínské vlády do tamní společnosti přinést větší efektivitu, transparentnost a důvěru. Systém spočívá v udělování tzv. sociálních kreditů. Občané dostávají kredity za dobré chování a za špatné jsou jim kredity naopak odebírány.