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UN experts say Russia’s media law creates ‘total information blackout’ – JURIST

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement on Friday sounding the alarm over Russia’s recent adoption of a punitive “fake news” law. According to experts, the law places Russia under a “total information blackout” about the war. The Russian parliament unanimously voted for certain amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which President Putin signed on March 4. The federal law introduced criminal liability for the public dissemination of deliberately misleading information and discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The government claimed that the purpose of introducing this amendment was to protect the truth about the “special military operation in Ukraine”. According to UN experts, the government was actually giving disinformation and disinformation an official stamp of approval. This law has led to the closure or suspension of the activities of some national media outlets. Last week, the Russian parliament issued sanctions against “foreigners who infringe the rights of Russian citizens.” This led to the blocking of the BBC website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the country. The OHCHR statement said: These restrictions on media and access to information online stifle the last vestiges of independent and pluralistic media in Russia, but are also depriving the population of their right to access diverse news and viewpoints. at this critical time when millions of Russians legitimately want to know more about the situation in Ukraine. Independent human rights experts, including some special rapporteurs, have stated that these recent activities by the Russian government constitute a clear violation of the right to information and freedom of expression. In addition, they called on the independent international commission of inquiry to investigate and ensure accountability for violations and abuses.

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Uzbekistan: Protests in autonomous republic over proposed constitutional reform – JURIST

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Protests erupted in Nukus, the capital of Uzbekistan’s autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, on Friday over a proposed constitutional reform. According to a statement from the government of the region: Despite the policy of openness and free expression of will followed by the Republic of Uzbekistan, on July 1, 2022 in Nukus, a criminal group of people organized illegal actions expressed in an attempt to take over the state. administrative bodies of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The demonstrators were protesting the planned removal of the section of the current constitution that allows Karakalpakstan the right to secede from Uzbekistan by referendum. This has caused outrage among the ethnic Karakalpak, who make up the majority of the population of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpaks from neighboring Kazakhstan held a round table discussion on the proposed change. One speaker, Rustem Matekov, stated that the day of the referendum on the new version of the constitution will be “the day of the funeral of the people of the Republic of Karakalpakstan”. However, the president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has challenged this view, saying: We, two peoples, have become one, we are blood relatives. Previously, the regions did not know the streets of Karakalpakstan or Nukus, but now we work as one people, the youth of Karakalpakstan achieve great results. […] I respect the Karakalpak people with all my heart and I can proudly say that I am a son not only of the Uzbeks, but also of the Karakalpak people. Removal is not the only proposal on the table. Other proposals include strengthening civil rights and extending the presidential term from five to seven years, which would allow Mirziyoyev to run again despite having served two consecutive terms.

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US Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions on state abortion laws – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down three orders issued by lower courts in Arizona, Indiana and Arkansas that had invalidated abortion at the state level based on Roe v. Wade. This follows the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe last Friday. The now-overturned Arizona ruling had stopped a state law criminalizing abortions performed on fetuses with non-lethal genetic abnormalities, of which Down syndrome is one. The injunction targeted relevant portions of four clauses of Senate Bill 1457, which makes it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion “knowing that the abortion is sought solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” The law also requires the doctor to sign an affidavit stating that the abortion is not performed for this reason and to inform the patient of the illegality of abortions due to genetic abnormalities. Finally, it requires doctors to inform the State when a genetic abnormality has been detected. This law was challenged in Brnovich v. Isaacson in 2021, and the injunction was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arkansas’s 2019 ruling in Little Rock Planning Services v. Rutledge passed three laws that prohibited abortion in various circumstances. Arkansas Code, Title 20, Chapter 26, Law 493 prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Law 619 prohibits all abortions solely on the basis of having a reason to believe that the fetus has Down syndrome, with the same exceptions. Law 700 requires that the person performing an abortion be a doctor licensed in obstetrics and gynecology. The federal court order of these laws was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Indiana, a 2017 ruling in the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky had mandated a law that prohibited abortions before 20 weeks in several cases. . The law, Indiana Code Chapter 16-34-4, prohibits abortions before 20 weeks if the abortion was for demographic, sexual, or fetal disability reasons. Specifically, abortion is prohibited if sought because of the possibility of a genetically inherited disease, defect, or disorder, whether or not it has been screened for or any risk is present. This includes, but is not limited to, Down syndrome and any mental, physical and intellectual disabilities. Abortions related to the sex of the fetus, or its race, color, national origin, or ancestry, are also prohibited. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the injunction. The three laws imposed by the precautionary measures will take effect immediately. These cases will be sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.

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US Supreme Court denies Alaska Airlines request for exemption from state labor laws – JURIST

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The United States Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from Alaska Airlines Inc. seeking a waiver of a California law requiring in-flight meals and rest, upending an earlier decision that sided with the United States. flight attendants in a battle for federal and state jobs. laws. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its July 2021 decision Virgin America, Inc. v. Julia Bernstein, that the airline, which later merged with Alaska Airlines, had to comply with California state law in addition to federal regulations for flights within the state. Bernstein, a flight attendant, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of California workers, alleging violations of state labor laws. This included a law requiring workers to have a 30-minute off-duty meal and a break after working five hours. The federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 did not preempt state law requiring rest and meal breaks. The airline group argued that the state law had a “significant impact on airline prices, routes and services” as more attendants and staff would have to be hired to meet the state’s rest requirements. The rejection of the request of the airlines can have lasting consequences. for the aviation industry, as well as state and federal labor regulations. The court’s decision also follows the guidance of the Biden Administration, as the Justice Department filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the flight attendants and instructed the court not to review the case or send it back to the appeals court.

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