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EU Parliament backs citizens’ legal challenges to protect the environment

The EU is negotiating changes to its law enforcing the Aarhus Convention, a United Nations agreement that protects the public’s access to justice in environmental matters. The Parliament voted to allow members of the public to challenge EU laws and decisions that could violate laws relating to the environment, whereas the current law allows only NGOs to do so.

Source: Reuters


LGBT hate crime bill polarises Italy

A proposed law that would criminalise violence and hate speech against LGBT people in Italy has thrown together an unlikely alliance of opponents. Some feminists and lesbian associations have joined the Catholic church and the political right in opposing a bill that would add gay, transgender people and the disabled to the categories protected by a law punishing religion and race-based hate crimes.

Source: Politico


Greece’s disputed joint custody law goes before parliament

Divorced fathers in Greece have their hopes pinned on new legislation granting them equal time with their children, but the proposed change faces a fierce backlash over domestic violence fears. Supporters say the bill corrects an injustice in a country where mothers are granted custody in almost all cases. But opposition parties and rights groups argue that it disregards the risk of domestic violence and could endanger victims.

Source: RFI


Minsk forced a Ryanair flight to make an emergency landing in order to detain its passengers

On May 23, a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was forced to make an emergency landing in Minsk due to an alleged bomb threat (that later proved false). On board was Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich — the former editor-in-chief of the most prominent Belarusian opposition outlet, Nexta. The Belarusian authorities removed Protasevich from the flight, arresting him along with his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, who is a Russian citizen.

Source: Meduza


Migration lawsuit launched against EU’s border agency

Human rights lawyers said that they have launched legal action against the European Union’s border and coast guard agency Frontex, accusing it of violating the rights of people trying to seek asylum and other breaches of international law. The case, filed at the European Court of Justice, concerns a woman from Burundi and a Congolese teenager who tried to apply for international protection on the Greek island of Lesbos last year.

Source: AP


Russia designates 3 German NGOs as ‘undesirable’

Russia's Prosecutor General designated three German nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as "undesirable" in a step criticised by Berlin and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. All three organisations (the German-Russian Exchange, the Forum of Russian-Speaking Europeans, and the Centre for Liberal Modernity) say they work to bring Germans and Russians together with a goal of greater mutual understanding.

Source : DW


Germany agrees to pay Namibia €1.1bn over historical Herero-Nama genocide

After almost 6 years of negotiations with the Namibian government, Germany has agreed to pay Namibia €1.1bn, as it officially recognised the Herero-Nama genocide at the start of the 20th century, in what Angela Merkel’s government says amounts to a gesture of reconciliation but not legally binding reparations.

Source: The Guardian


Bill to allow same-sex partnerships in Lithuania falls at first hurdle

A bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples in Lithuania failed to clear its first parliamentary hurdle. The measure, backed by Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, had sought to allow same-sex unions and give LGBT+ couples access to certain legal benefits, including joint ownership of property and inheritance rights.

Source: Euronews


‘Undesirable’ Open Russia opposition group disbands ahead of elections

Open Russia, an opposition movement established by exiled Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, announced its closure. Executive director Andrei Pivovarov linked the decision to bills advancing through Russian parliament tightening criminal punishment for Russians who support and work for “undesirable” organisations. Open Russia was labelled “undesirable” in 2017 in line with a law targeting foreign groups accused of political meddling.

Source: The Moscow Times