News Roundup

Nigeria security forces ‘care more about cattle than Christians’

Amid mounting concern of an anti-Christian “genocide” in Nigeria, a human rights group has accused the country’s security forces of being more concerned with protecting cows than Christians and other non-Muslims.

In a new report, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law also accused security forces of engaging in disappearances and extra-judicial killings.

A principal cause of sectarian violence in Nigeria has been tension between largely Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani ethnic group, and sedentary farmers who tend to be mostly Christian. A series of attacks by Fulani gunmen on Christian targets over the Christmas holidays, for example, left an estimated 300 people dead.

According to the report, whenever there’s a perceived threat to cattle owned by Fulani herdsmen, Nigerian security forces swing into action.

The rapid military response results in “arrests, abductions, disappearances and ‘neutralisation’” against the killers or attackers, according to the report, but a similarly aggressive response doesn’t occur when Fulani herdsmen and bandits, often dressed in black and shouting jihadist slogans, attack Christians and other non-Muslims.

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Referendum change ‘devalues’ marriage and monogamy, says Senator

The proposed change to the Constitution “devalues marriage” and risks putting polygamy on a par with monogamy, according to Senator Ronan Mullen.

Speaking in the Oireachtas in the debate on the upcoming referendum on the family, Senator Mullen said the proposal devalues marriage as it “equates the rights of a family based on marriage to those persons in a durable relationship and a durable relationship the Minister cannot define”.

“As far as I can see, despite protestations to the contrary… we are potentially placing polygamous relationships on a par.”

He added: “They are not entered into in Ireland because polygamy is illegal in Ireland but perhaps the ban on polygamy will be found to be repugnant to the Constitution in the light of this constitutional change in the future.”

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Courts to interpret ‘Durable relationships’, says Electoral Commission Head

The full meaning of durable relationships would be interpreted by the courts in “hard cases”, using a wide range of measures including whether others send the partners a Christmas card, the chair of the Electoral Commission has said.

There is ongoing debate about whether polygamous and polyamorous relationships would be covered in the proposed expanded concept of the family, among other relationships, in the upcoming referendum.

Ms Justice Marie Baker said terminology introduced into the Constitution had to be “specific but not too specific,” to allow for examples “that haven’t yet been considered”.

She added that interpretation of what was a durable relationship would be somewhat subjective.

“There are all kinds of things, some of them are subjective and some of them are objective. So subjectively, a relationship is durable, if committed, if it presents itself as committed, if it means to be committed, if it intends to be committed.

“Its durability can sometimes be how you are treated by other people. Are you are you invited as a couple to weddings? Do people send Christmas cards to both of you? These are the indicators of your commitment to each other,” she added.

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Women’s groups call for No votes in referendums

A coalition of women’s groups opposed to the stance of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has called for No votes in the forthcoming referendums.

About 30 members of the Silenced Protest group staged a flash demonstration outside the Mansion House in Dublin on Thursday where the NWCI launched its Yes campaign for both referendums.

Among the organisations represented at the protest were the Irish Women’s Lobby, Women’s Space Ireland and The Countess.

Silenced Protest said a Yes vote was based on a “lie” that article 41.2 states that a “woman’s place in the home”.

“The Constitution states that the State will strive to prevent women having to work outside the home if she doesn’t want to do that,” Irish Women’s Lobby founder Helen Duignan said.

“What unites us all is to maintain a woman or a man’s right to choose whether or not to work outside the home. What they should be putting into the Constitution is the word ‘parents’ that they will not be forced out of the home due to economic necessity. That’s been missed.”

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Medical Council chief downplays removing prohibition on ‘killing patients’

The Medical Council has defended the removal of an instruction not to deliberately kill a patient from its latest ethics code claiming the move had nothing to do with legislative proposals for ‘assisted dying’. However, the move does mean that if the Government does legislate for euthanasia, nothing in the new ethics code will prevent doctors from using their medical skill to kill willing patients.

The Council’s president, Dr Suzanne Crowe, told the Joint Committee on Assisted Dying that the change, has been “misinterpreted,” adding that it “was not the Medical Council taking a stance or paving the way for any possible future change [to the law]”.

“The removal of this sentence does not diminish the law,” she said, adding that the council “does not have a position” on euthanasia.

The guide is “not a legal code. It’s principles-based guidance,” she told Independent Senator Rónán Mullen, who had asked why such a substantial and long-standing section had been removed, something which could be seen as “convenient” by those advocating for Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD).

“There was no specific consultation in relation to this issue,” she conceded, noting that the council’s ethics committee had proposed the removal, which the council then ratified.

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Senator attacks Minister over wording and necessity of upcoming referendums

Former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has questioned the need for a referendum to expand the definition of family in the Constitution after the Supreme Court extended some spousal entitlements to unmarried parents.

Mr McDowell told the Seanad that the Government’s proposals would see other “durable relationships” given the same status as marriage and he questioned whether this was either necessary or desirable.

He also questioned whether a durable relationship could include more than two people. Addressing Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman he said: “if it is, don’t just airily dismiss throuples or bigamy or polygamy or polyandry.”

Mr O’Gorman claimed in the Dáil last week that the proposals would not cover such relationships.

Mr McDowell said that in briefings to Oireachtas members Mr O’Gorman had suggested the definition would be determined in the courts.

He said this matter should be for the Oireachtas to decide and said it is “bad politics” to “say pass this legislation, and we’ll find out later what it means”.

Mr McDowell also argued that holding the referendum on March 8th, International Women’s Day, was a “worthless cheap gimmick” that means the legislation is being “rushed through” the Oireachtas.

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Elon Musk says he’ll fund legal challenges to ‘hate speech’ law

Tech Billionaire, Elon Musk, has warned that Ireland’s hate speech proposals would put Irish people at “the mercy” of politicians and bureaucrats who may criminalise speech they don’t like.

In an exclusive interview with Gript, he also pledged to fund Irish legal challenges to the legislation, although it is not clear he would be allowed to do so under Irish law.

He said that “people should be concerned” that Irish politicians wanted to define “whatever they think hate speech is”, calling free speech “the bedrock of democracy”.

“You have to be able to speak your mind within the context of the law: without that you don’t have a real democracy”.

Mr Musk said that the default position of X, formerly Twitter, was to “challenge any legislation that infringes on the people’s ability to say what they want to say”.

“And we will also fund the legal fees of Irish citizens that want to challenge the Bill as well,” Mr Musk told Gript.

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Vatican preparing document on surrogacy, and gender ideology

The Vatican is working on a document on human dignity that contains strong criticism of certain trends in contemporary society including gender ideology and commercial surrogacy.

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the Vatican’s prefect at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), told the Spanish news agency EFE that the new document will include “not only social issues but also a strong criticism of moral questions such as sex-change surgery, surrogacy, and gender ideology.”

The news comes days after Pope Francis spoke out against surrogacy, calling it “deplorable” and advocating a global ban. Almost all European countries ban commercial surrogacy and some ban it in all forms. Francis has also often criticised gender theory, referring to it as “dangerous” and “one of the most dangerous ideological colonisations” that blur the differences and value of men and women.

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Biden announces new pro-abortion measures 

President Joe Biden’s administration has announced new plans to increase access to surgical abortion, chemical abortion, and contraceptives, with the move coming on the 51st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s now-overturned Roe v. Wade ruling. Democrat-run states often allow abortion up until birth for any reason. Republican-run states often ban abortion after six or 12 weeks.

The White House’s push includes new guidance to support surgical abortion through a federal law that guarantees “emergency medical treatment.” The plan also moves forward with prior executive actions to provide easier access to chemical abortions through federal regulation.

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‘Do not report illegal abortions to the police’, British Doctors told

Medics should not report women believed to have illegally ended their pregnancy, under new guidance issued by a leading health body in Britain.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists issued the guidance following ‘the increasing number of police investigations’, into women who have late stage abortions.

Under the current rules NHS staff can breach patient confidentiality and inform police if it is in the ‘public interest’.

In its new guidance the RCOG said healthcare professionals should not call the police to report a suspected illegal abortion without the patient’s consent.

The guidance tells medical professionals that it is “never in the public interest to investigate a patient who is suspected of ending their own pregnancy”.

It adds: “Do not call the police or external agencies if a woman divulges, or you are suspicious, that she may have sought to end her own pregnancy unless she has given explicit consent to do so, or you consider it justified in her best interests.”

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