January 2022: Issue 1

International Human Rights

Russian court bans Memorial Human Rights Center

Russia’s Supreme Court has ordered the ban of Russia’s most prominent human rights group as it failed to mark its publications with the label of ‘foreign agent’. This is another example of the Kremlin cracking down on its opponents after jailing the main opposition leader Alexei Navalny after a failed poisoning attempt. This ban has been condemned by several countries and organizations including the United State of America and the UN Human Rights Office. To read more, click here and here

European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) finds Christian bakery LGBTQ cake dispute inadmissible

The ECHR issued a final decision dismissing a case brought by a Northern Irish gay rights activist, concerning a bakery’s refusal to create a cake with a message supporting gay marriage, as inadmissible. This is because the plaintiff had failed to exhaust all domestic remedies before approaching the ECHR. Previously, the UK Supreme Court in this case had ruled in favour of the McArthur’s, the owners of the bakery, by stating that refusal to bake a cake because of the message it promoted did not amount to discriminatory treatment against the plaintiff. To read more, click here.

Fines imposed against Google and Facebook for violating French data protection laws

France’s National Commission for Information and Liberty (“NCIL”) held Google and Facebook liable for violating the French Data Protection Act (“DPA”) in separate judgements on 6th January, 2022. This is because the process through which users can reject cookies on these sites is significantly more complex than the one for accepting cookies. Therefore, the user’s consent in such cases, which is a prerequisite under Article 82 of the DPA, is compromised. As a result, Google and Facebook have been fined €150 million and €60 million respectively. To read more, click here.

Sweden brings war crime charges against woman for bringing her 12 year old son to fight in Syria

The Swedish Prosecution Authority has charged a Swedish woman with war crimes for bringing her young son to Syria, where he was enlisted as a child soldier, and ultimately killed in the country’s long-simmering conflict. According to the prosecutors,  the woman brought her son to Syria in August, 2013, when he was 12 years old. From then until May 2016, the child engaged directly and consistently in hostilities perpetrated by various armed groups, including the Islamic State. The charges brought against the woman focus on her son’s involvement in the Syrian conflict between the ages of 12 and 14. This is because the use of child soldiers under the age of 15 has been recognised as a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. To read more, click here

Failed coup in Kazakhstan 

Protests on 2nd January due to rising fuel prices grew significantly as it also began to reflect discontent against the Kazakhstan government. People believe that former president, Nursuktan Nazarbayev who ruled the country for thirty years continues to have significant control over the country. The protests were quickly put down when a state of emergency was imposed and 8,000 people across the country were detained. Russia was quick to send its special military force to aid Kazakhstan to put down the protest. President Putin claims the protest were staged by external terrorist forces but no proof has been presented. To read more click here, here and here

Saudi Arabia deporting Tigrayan migrants

Saudi Arabia has been deporting migrants from the Tigray region in Ethiopia. These migrants have traveled to Saudi Arabia to escape the economic hardships along with the political persecution in Ethiopia. After Being deported the migrants are forced into overcrowded detention facilities where they are deprived of food and are subject to harsh physical beating. To read more click here and here.

International Trade Law

WTO to review Russia’s measures affecting EU’s access to commercial procurement 

After the European Union (EU) submitted its second request with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to look into the measures of Russia which aim to substitute foreign goods with domestic goods, the WTO has agreed to form a dispute panel to look into the matter. Russia had blocked the EU’s request in the previous meeting held on November 29 and Russia claims that the measures taken by them comply with all the WTO obligations. To read more, click here, here and here

WTO created panel to review Dominican Republic’s Antidumping measures

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established a dispute panel after Costa Rica’s second request which wanted the WTO to look into the measures adopted by the Dominican Republic in imposing anti-dumping duties on the import of corrugated and deformed steel bars. Costa Rica has stated that it believes that the measures taken by the Dominican Republic are inconsistent with their obligations under the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade. However, the Dominican Republic has stated that Costa Rica’s claim is premature and wishes to reach an amicable solution. To read more, click here

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