Advances in Transgender Rights in Vietnam! Parliament Adopts New Legislation

Vietnam: Positive Step for Trangsender Rights – Vietnamese Parliament Adopts New Transgender Legislation

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By: Human Rights Watch

On November 24, 2015, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved a bill to legalize sex reassignment surgery and to introduce the right to legal gender recognition for transgender people who have undergone such surgery.

The law allows people who wish to undergo gender affirming surgeries to do so in Vietnamrather than abroad, and to subsequently change the gender marker on their official documents. This constitutes a small, but significant step toward recognition of transgender people’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

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Thousands Mourn Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Killed in Turkey

Photo of Thousands Mourning at Tahir Elci Funeral

By: Ayla Albayarak | Wall Street Journal | Photo credit: Reuters

Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Sunday to bid farewell to a prominent human rights lawyer whose shooting death delivered a setback to hopes of bringing an end to months of political violence that has swept through Turkey’s Kurdish region.

Tahir Elci, one of Turkey’s leading advocates for Kurdish rights, was killed Saturday after making an appeal for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and state security forces.

Mr. Elci was shot during a clash on a narrow street in Diyarbakir, the Kurdish majority city in southeastern Turkey that has been one of the central battlegrounds for renewed clashes since a two-year-old cease-fire collapsed in July.

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Employers and Workers Grapple with Laws Allowing Marijuana Use

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By: G.M. Filisko | ABA Journal

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court was the ultimate buzzkill.

When the state’s residents passed a referendum in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana use—long after the state sanctioned medical use in 2000—few had any idea that Coloradans who partook in the bud would end up jeopardizing their livelihood.

That’s exactly what the court permitted inCoats v. Dish Network. The case pitted a quadriplegic licensed to use medical marijuana against his employer. The court held the state’s “lawful activities statute,” which generally prohibits employers from firing employees for engaging in lawful activities off the job, applied only to activities lawful under Colorado and federal law. Because marijuana is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, its use isn’t lawful—and can remain a valid basis for termination in the state.

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Supreme Court Ruling Could Spark More Unintentional-Discrimination Cases

Eva Paterson

By: Stephanie Francis Ward | ABA Journal | Photo of Eva Paterson; Photo credit: Eva Paterson

A recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion that addressed unconscious discrimination in a low-income housing case could have far-reaching effects on future civil rights and criminal cases involving implicit bias.

The June 2015 opinion (PDF) dealt with a claim against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. It alleged that the department disproportionately gave tax credits to developers of low-income housing in minority inner-city Dallas neighborhoods, while denying the credits in suburbs with large white populations. The Inclusive Communities Project brought the case, alleging that the state agency’s actions led to segregated housing, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

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