Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ISIS Wives, with Children in Tow, Handed Long Prison Sentences or Death Penalty

From NPR:

A young woman in a traditional long black cloak and a pink prison shirt holds a baby as she stands before a judge.

Then a toddler, becoming agitated in the hallway, is led into the wooden dock to join her mother. The little girl is perhaps 2 years old. She clutches the folds of her mother's black abaya with a chubby hand, as she peers out through the wooden bars.

Her mother is one of about 28 foreign women who appeared in an Iraqi court in a single day in April, accused of being married to ISIS. They are among around 560 detained women recently or currently on trial in the country for their links to the extremist group, according to Baghdad's central criminal court. The women are largely from Russia, Turkey and other countries including Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. Several are from France and Germany.

Read more here.

June 14, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Couple Who Insisted Stuffed Animal Was Their Lawyer Lose Child Custody

 

From Newsweek:

A couple from British Columbia in Canada lost custody of their child after insisting to have a stuffed animal act as their lawyer during the trial.

Inside the bizarre courtroom, the couple—who have not been named to protect the identity of their daughter—consulted with a stuffed lion that they believed was transmitting the advice of God, reported the Vancouver Sun. The pair refused normal legal assistance and instead referred to the small toy for guidance.

The Provincial Court of British Columbia declared in November that the couple’s daughter—who was one at the time—needed protection and placed her in provincial custody. The parents appealed the decision to the British Columbia Supreme Court, claiming the judge was discriminatory towards them as Christians, violated their Charter rights and made procedural blunders.

Read more here.

June 11, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 8, 2018

First Saudi Women Receive Driver's License Amid Crackdown

From US News and World Report:

Saudi Arabia issued its first driver's licenses to 10 women on Monday as the kingdom prepared to lift the world's only ban on women driving in three weeks, but some who campaigned for the right to drive remain under arrest.

A government statement said the 10 women who were issued licenses already held driving licenses from other countries, including the U.S., U.K., Lebanon and Canada. They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licenses at the General Department of Traffic in the capital, Riyadh. International media were not present for the event.

Other women across the country have been preparing for the right to drive on June 24 by taking driving courses on female-only college campuses. Some are even training to become drivers for ride hailing companies like Uber.

Read more here.

 

June 8, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Nearly Half of Afghan Children Not in School

From The Washington Post:

Nearly half of Afghanistan’s children are not attending school because of war, poverty and other factors, a new report showed Sunday.

The study, released by the Education Ministry and the U.N. children’s agency, said that 3.7 million, or 44 percent, of all school-age children are not attending school. It marks the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that the rate of attendance has declined, following years of steady gains in education for boys as well as girls, who were banned from attending school under the Taliban.

The survey says girls account for 60 percent of those being denied an education.

Read more here.

June 7, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Parents of Disabled Children End Protest in Poland

From The Washington Post:

A group of parents who occupied part of the Polish parliament with their disabled children abandoned their protest of state assistance payments Sunday after more than a month.

One of the mothers, Iwona Hartwich, said the demonstrators felt cut off from the world and worried about their children’s health from living in a corridor of the parliament building 40 days. The protesters also said that security guards had made life difficult, limiting them to one bathroom.

Cheering crowds greeted the parents as they pushed their grown children in wheelchairs away from the complex Sunday. One supporter, a woman who fought with the Polish resistance during World War II, bent down and kissed a person in a wheelchair.

Read more here.

June 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Want A Divorce In China? Not If You Do Well On This Quiz

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

Hong Kong: It's like the American television show the Newlywed Game, but for divorce.

In some parts of China, married couples seeking to split up have been asked to take a quiz issued by the local authorities. The more they know about each other — including a spouse's birthday or favourite food — the less likely they are to have the divorce immediately approved.

The quizzes, issued in at least two provinces since last year, follow the format of a typical three-part school exam: fill-in-the-blank, short-answer questions and an essay. Questions include the mundane —"When is your anniversary?"— and the philosophical: "Have you fulfilled your responsibility to your family?"

Read more here.

June 1, 2018 in Divorce (grounds), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abortion Law Reform for Ireland

From Reuters:

Irish people paid homage on Sunday to an Indian immigrant woman whose death inspired a historic vote to repeal Ireland’s strict abortion laws while the Catholic Church rued the outcome saying it showed indifference to its teachings.

In a referendum on Friday, the once deeply Catholic nation voted to scrap a prohibition on abortion by a margin of two-to-one, a landslide victory that astonished campaigners as citizens of every age and background demanded the change they had spent decades fighting for.

The vote overturns a law which, for decades, has forced over 3,000 women to travel to Britain each year for terminations that they could not legally have in their own country. “Yes” campaigners had argued that with pills now being bought illegally online abortion was already a reality in Ireland.

Read more here.

June 1, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Women in Turkey Endure Culture of Violence

From The New York Times:

Video taken moments after Handan Askin was shot is shaky, but the scene is clear: Ms. Askin is sprawled out on her back on the cobblestone street, her legs splayed. Her arms are bent upward at her elbows, and she moves her hands while her neighbor asks, “What happened?”

Nine months later in her hospital room, she recalled what happened before her husband shot her: “Emre threatened me when I told him that I wanted to separate, and he used our children to try and prevent me from submitting the documents for divorce.”

She is now paralyzed from the waist down. But to some, Ms. Askin is considered lucky — she is still alive.

Read more here.

May 31, 2018 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Refugee Office Loses 1500 Kids

From the Huffington Post:

The government program meant to place unaccompanied children taken from the U.S.-Mexico border into the care of a parent or sponsor admitted last month it lost nearly 1,500 of them.

And it said it isn’t responsible for finding them either.

Senate testimony that was released last month but came to light more recently details how the Office of Refugee Resettlement ― part of the Department of Health and Human Services ― “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 [children].” That was according to Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families.

Read more here.

May 31, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

She Married Three Brothers in Family Torn by War

From New York Times:

Khadija is 18 now, just a year older than the Afghan war itself, and she has already been married three times — to three brothers.

One was a Taliban insurgent, killed fighting the United States Marines. One was a policeman, killed fighting the Taliban. One was an interpreter for the Marines who is now hunted by the Taliban, who have threatened to kill him and his infant son.

The story of Khadija and the three brothers she married is an account of war and tradition that is tragically Afghan. It encompasses the bitter arc of the Afghan war in its most violent place, Helmand Province in the south, the Taliban stronghold where many families have been torn apart by loyalties divided between the government and the insurgents.

Read more here.

May 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Will Ireland's Abortion Laws Be Changed May 25?

From BBC News:

A referendum will take place on 25 May on whether to reform Ireland's strict abortion laws.

The vote will decide whether to repeal a constitutional amendment that effectively bans terminations.

It will be the country's sixth referendum on the issue. Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman's life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

Read more here.

May 23, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Odds That Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Marriage Will Last

From Business Insider:

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ascend to the altar Saturday, the whole world will be watching. And in the years that follow, any hint of marital discord or unfaithfulness between them will be pounced upon as juicy gossip.

That is to say: There's a lot of pressure on these two to make it work. Will they?

Before we get into any predictions, it's important to note that no one can say with absolute certainty whether an individual couple will have a successful marriage, or whether they'll get divorced. The findings and observations below apply to couples in general.

Read more here.

May 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Protecting Defenseless Children Not Immigration Loophole

From The Washington Post:

I remember watching the nightly television news in the 1990s and seeing a 15-year-old Chinese girl trembling before a U.S. immigration judge. Despite having committed no crime, she was shackled and sobbing. She couldn’t speak English, and it was clear she had no understanding of what the judge was saying or what would happen to her.

Her parents had sent her to the United States in the cargo hold of a container ship because she had been born in violation of China’s rigid family-planning laws — and was therefore denied citizenship, access to health care and education.

By the time the girl appeared before the immigration judge, she had already been detained for eight months. Even more shocking: After she was granted political asylum, she was detained for four more months before she was released.

Read more here.

April 23, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

South Africa Mourns Winnie Mandela

From Human Rights Watch:

South Africans will gather tomorrow for the burial of Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela, an icon of the anti-apartheid struggle known by millions as the “Mother of the Nation.”

Winnie Mandela, who died on April 2 aged 81, will be given a national funeral.

South Africans, and people around the world, remember Winnie Mandela for her immense contribution to the struggle against apartheid and her campaign for the release of her former husband, Nelson Mandela. More than almost any other anti-apartheid activist, Winnie Mandela angered the apartheid regime and they victimized her in unimaginable ways: torture, solitary confinement, banishment, and separation her from her young children whose father had already been torn from them. President Cyril Ramaphosa said Winnie Mandela “bore the brunt of the senseless brutality of the apartheid state with stoicism and fortitude.”

Read more here.

April 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Why The #MeToo Movement Skipped Russia

From Business Insider:

When Russia decriminalized domestic violence in February 2017, civil servants tasked with protecting women in the country's far east were dismayed by the new vulnerability of their wards. Yet few officials opposed the measure. President Vladimir Putin signed off on the bill after the lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma, overwhelmingly approved it by a vote of 380 to 3. The new law recategorized the crime of violence against family members: Abuse that does not result in broken bones, and does not occur more than once a year, is no longer punishable by long prison sentences. The worst sanctions that abusers now face are fines of up to $530, 10- to 15-day stints in jail, or community service work. That's if the courts side with the victim. They rarely do.

The change made it "that much harder for women" who had suffered abuse, says Natalia Pankova, the director of a state-run domestic violence organization called Sail of Hope. Pankova, based in the city of Vladivostok, oversees 10 crisis centers for women and children across the surrounding region, Primorye, a heavily forested area hugging the Sea of Japan.

Read more here.

April 20, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Syrian Refugees Leaving Germany Over Family Reunification Policy

From Deutsche Welle:

Syrians granted limited asylum but denied the right to fetch relatives are departing Germany for Turkey by using smugglers, say German media. The cases, if confirmed, bizarrely reverse the "Balkan route" drama of 2015.

Thousands of Syrian refugees are attempting to leave Germany despite being legally entitled to stay, according to a report to be aired Thursday on German public broadcaster ARD. 

Stuck in Germany without close relatives because of Berlin's all but refusal to allow family reunions, the refugees were said to be using traffickers to reach their families in Turkey, saying "we'd rather die together than live apart."

Read more here.

April 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Supreme Court of India Seeks to Empower Widows

From India.com:

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 (ANI): In a bid to improve the livelihood of widows and destitute women in Mathura and Vrindavan, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed temples in the two cities to donate all flowers offered to them to shelter homes.

By doing so, the top court said women in these shelter homes run by the Uttar Pradesh government can use the flowers to make perfumes, incense sticks (agarbattis) and so on, thereby providing a means of livelihood for them.

The Supreme Court further sought consideration from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) to extend this scheme to all major temple towns such as Varanasi, Tirupati, and others, keeping in mind the welfare of widows and destitute women.

Read more here.

April 6, 2018 in Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Japan Moves To End Child Marriage

From Human Rights Watch:

In the global push to end child marriage, Japan looks set to join the movement.

A proposed revision of Japan’s Civil Code would set the minimum age of marriage at 18 for both women and men. At present, people must be 20 years old to marry without parental permission; with parental permission, men can marry from 18, and girls can marry as young as 16. If passed, the law, which the government supports, would take effect in 2022.

This step is long overdue. Different marriage ages for women versus men violate Japan’s obligations under international human rights law not to discriminate. Child marriage –  marriage before age 18 – is associated globally with girls dropping out of school, sinking into poverty, being at greater risk of domestic violence, and with serious health risks from pregnancy, including death.

Read more here.

April 5, 2018 in International, Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Will Iraq Abolish "Marry Your Rapist" Law?

From Reuters:

BEIRUT (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Iraqi women are ramping up pressure to abolish a law that lets rapists off the hook if they marry their victims, after Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon scrapped similar articles last year.

Activists plan to demonstrate and use billboards to condemn the controversial law ahead of May parliamentary elections in the predominately Shi’ite Muslim, conservative society.

“We want to say to the Iraqi government - give women justice,” Rasha Khalid, a lawyer and member of Baghdad Women’s Association, a local rights group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the capital.

Read more here.

April 4, 2018 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Restrictive US Health Funding Rule Threatens Lives

From Human Rights Watch:

Before embarking on a five-nation tour of Africa this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the link between women’s health and economic and social development as he lauded Washington’s massive global health fund, PEPFAR, for how it had “transformed the global HIV/AIDS response,” saying that “ … nowhere is this more evident than in Africa.”

As the largest global donor on global health, the US has supported many programs that help people get healthcare in some of Africa’s poorest countries. But President Donald Trump has also expanded the “Global Gag Rule” beyond any previous US administration – which threatens to undermine decades of progress on women’s health and undermine gender equality.

On his first working day in office, Trump reinstated and dramatically expanded the Mexico City Policy – also known as the “Global Gag Rule,” which conditions US funding for global health programs on a commitment from foreign nongovernmental organizations that they will not promote or provide abortions, even with non-US funds, except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life.

Read more here.

March 19, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)