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  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: In much of the world, trans and intersex people struggle to obtain official identity documents that acknowledge their appropriate names and sex or gender markers. When people are forced to rely on documents that do not match their gender identity, they risk being subjected to harassment and discrimination. In addition, they may be suspected of identity fraud and trigger security alerts because of the discrepancy between their documents and their gender identity or appearance. The lack of appropriate documentation is particularly dangerous in situations where a trans or intersex person is crossing a border and being unable to prove their identity can result in being detained or deported. This brief counters concerns that progressive gender recognition laws and policies will undermine national security and increase the risk of identity fraud. It is the fourth of four resources for activists that accompany Open Society’s 2014 report on legal gender recognition across the world, License to Be Yourself.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Law, Discrimination, LGBT+, Sexuality, Identity, Transgender
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The vast majority of trans people around the world cannot obtain legal recognition of—or official documents that match—their gender identity. Where laws do recognize trans people, they often exclude those who are married. This forces trans people to choose between legal recognition of their gender identity or their marriage. Forced divoce violates trans people’s right to privacy, marriage, and recognition under the law. This brief explains legal restrictions that affect the recognition of married trans and intersex people. It examines case law and addresses key arguments made by those who oppose such recognition. It is the first of four resources for activists that accompany Open Society’s 2014 report on legal gender recognition across the world, License to Be Yourself.
  • Topic: Law, Discrimination, LGBT+, Family, Sexuality, Marriage, Transgender
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) affirms the rights of all people to live in their communities. Yet between 2007 and 2013, EU member states invested millions of euros of EU structural funds into institutions that confine and segregate people living with disabilities. Now, although the 2014–2020 round of structural funds requires member states to introduce domestic deinstitutionalization measues, the danger remains that EU investments in institutions will continue. The European Commission has a responsibility to ensure the rights of Europeans with disabilities and the proper direction of EU investments. Community, Not Confinement examines EU law and policy governing the use of structural funds, and EU and state responsibilities to human rights obligations under international and EU law. This report also recommends several steps the commission should take, including providing clear guidance to member states that projects selected for the use of structural funds must comply with the CRPD; verifying that such programming aligns with the CRPD and supports independent living; and funding civil society to monitor member states’ investments and inform the commission of findings.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, United Nations, Law, Disability, Community, Political Rights, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This study looks at the place that technologies may have in helping human rights lawyers work most effectively. It looks at three classes of technologies: 1. Case and practice management tools, for managing the day­to­day flow of information around a case, such as the exchange of documents, task management and dates. 2. E­Discovery tools for digitizing, organizing and reviewing collections of documents, data or other material that could be evidence in a case. 3. Investigation and case building tools for organizing and analyzing the facts of a case or group of cases, providing visual overviews on maps, network charts and timelines. The goal is to provide an understanding of the problems that the available tools target, a framework for thinking about how these technologies may fit into to your work, and a good understanding of the costs involved.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Law, Digital Policy, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eefje de Kroon
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The Race Equality Directive: A Shadow Report collects lessons learned from the implementation of the Race Equality Directive in nine European Union member states. The Race Equality Directive is a piece of legislation adopted in 2000 by the Council of Ministers of the European Union implementing the principle of equality for all irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. The directive comes under review at the end of 2013, 10 years after its entry into force. The report includes data on Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. Annex I contains summaries of developments in each of these member states. The report identifies trends in the challenges facing the countries examined, examples of successful or problematic implementation, and includes recommendations for improving effective implementation. Challenges to the implementation of the Race Equality Directive include: lack of disaggregated data needed to implement parts of this legislation and evaluate its effectiveness; unclear identification of proxy categories that can be used to detect discrimination on the ground of racial and ethnic origin; problems that impede effective access to and use of judicial (individual or collective) redress against discrimination; hindrances to alternative forms of individual (or collective) redress, through the equality bodies. Analysis is based on two sources of data: country reports by specialized international monitoring bodies (excerpts of these are contained in Annex II) and data generated through a short questionnaire (in Annex III) completed by independent experts and subject matter experts within the Open Society Foundations.
  • Topic: Race, Law, Ethnicity, Discrimination, Equality
  • Political Geography: Greece, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic
  • Author: Costanza Hermanin
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the 2013 review of the implementation of the Return Directive, this position paper encourages the European Commission to consider whether to adopt updated guidelines. It urges member states to consider adopting legislation to bring procedural safeguards and minimum conditions in line with human rights standards whenever detention is used during the return process.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Law, European Union, Legislation, Migrant Workers, Political Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Toby Mendel
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The internet is fantastically enabling for the news media, creating previously unimagined possibilities in terms of distribution, audience interaction, and archiving. But it also presents new threats, such as in the area of defamation law, already a significant problem for many media outlets. This paper assesses these problems against international guarantees of freedom of expression and comparative national practice, through both law and self-regulation, highlighting solutions that are more protective of free expression, as well as those that are not. It also probes new ideas such as greater reliance on the right of reply—which the internet enables—and the notion that some spaces on the Internet should be protected against any defamation liability.
  • Topic: Communications, Law, Regulation, Media, News Analysis, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The absolute prohibition under human rights law of all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is commonly applied to prisons and pretrial detention centers. However this prohibition also applies to places such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, and social care institutions—places where coercion, power dynamics, and practices occurring outside the purview of law or justice systems can contribute to the infliction of unjustified and severe pain and suffering on marginalized people. This briefing paper focuses on torture and ill-treatment in health settings, including hospitals, clinics, hospices, people’s homes, or anywhere health care is delivered. It focuses on government accountability for placing health providers and patients in unacceptable situations whereby torture and ill-treatment is neither documented, prevented, punished, nor redressed. People who are perceived as “deviant” by authorities, who pose a “nuisance” to health providers, who lack the power to complain or assert their rights, or who are associated with stigmatized or criminalized behaviors may be especially at risk of torture in health care.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, Torture, Law, Health Care Policy, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: In many parts of the world, women rely on access to a range of methods to control their fertility, including voluntary sterilization. However, too often, sterilization is not a choice. Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to forced sterilizations performed under the auspices of legitimate medical care. The practice of forced sterilization is part of a broader pattern of denial of the human rights of women and girls with disabilities. This denial also includes systematic exclusion from comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care, limited voluntary contraceptive choices, a focus on menstrual suppression, poorly-managed pregnancy and birth, involuntary abortion, and the denial of rights to parenting. These practices are framed within traditional social attitudes that characterize disability as a personal tragedy or a matter for medical management and rehabilitation. The difficulty some women with disabilities may have in understanding or communicating what was done to them increases their vulnerability to forced sterilization. A further aggravating factor is the widespread practice of legal guardians or others making life-altering decisions for persons with disabilities, including consenting to sterilization on their behalf. This briefing paper, produced as part of the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, outlines various international human rights standards that prohibit forced sterilization. It also offers several recommendations for improving laws, policies, and professional guidelines governing sterilization practices.
  • Topic: Torture, Law, Health Care Policy, Women, Disability, Sexual Violence, Medicine , Sexual Health, Girls
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, has published a new report documenting the personal testimonies of men and women who have been detained in drug rehabilitation centers in Cambodia, China, Mexico, and Russia. Each year, thousands of people are locked away in these centers without any real access to medical care or legal recourse. Drug users rarely enter such detention centers voluntarily, and even if they do, they nearly never are allowed to leave at their will. Detention centers often rely on physical abuse, shackles, solitary confinement, and other indignities to "treat" drug addiction and extract labor from the detainees. Moreover, they are often overseen by government authorities, and private companies are allowed to exploit the forced labor inside. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people quickly return to drug use once they are released from these centers. The report, Treated with Cruelty: Abuses in the Name of Rehabilitation, presents the harrowing personal stories alongside commentary about the human rights that are being denied to the individuals who are locked away. Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, also adds his voice in an introduction calling for the closure of drug detention facilities.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Law, Drugs, Public Health, Rehabilitation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Cambodia, Mexico