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Gender equality in Kenya’s National Assembly; How to handle hate speech?; Taking action on child labor; Action needed on anti-corruption bill; Animal rights in Britain

A roundup of global commentary for the May 16, 2016 weekly magazine. 

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    Kenya's National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, front left, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Higher Education Minister Margaret Kamar, lead a group of people down a spiral staircase at Parliament after a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2012.
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Standard Digital / Kenya

Gender equality in Kenya’s National Assembly

“The National Assembly has yet again failed to stand up to discrimination based on gender,” states an editorial. “[On April 27], the august House failed to raise requisite numbers in voting for a Bill that would provide a mechanism for the realisation of the two thirds gender principle. This principle upholds that no more than two thirds of members of elective or appointive public office shall be of the same gender. This is a constitutional requirement.... That said, the numbers raised in support of the gender Bill, though falling short, showed a rare glimpse of a bridging of the political divide, with members from across all parties supporting the Bill.... [W]e urge the honourable members to stand up for the nation’s greater good.”

The Asahi Shimbun / Tokyo

How to handle hate speech?

“A bill to outlaw hate speech, sponsored by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, is currently under deliberation in the Upper House Legal Affairs Committee,” states an editorial. “With the opposition camp having already presented a similar bill to the Diet last year, all Japanese political parties are at least in agreement that legislative measures must be taken to eliminate hate speech, which fans vile discrimination against certain ethnic groups. But legal scholars are strongly concerned that such legislation could threaten freedom of expression depending on how it is enforced. Indeed, determining the conditions of enforcement will be a difficult and complex matter.... For the law to fully serve its intended purpose of eliminating all racial and ethnic discrimination, its non-arbitrary and appropriate enforcement must be guaranteed. And thorough discussion is also needed on how to monitor the enforcement of this law.” 

Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa

Taking action on child labor

“Do we wait until the next catastrophe, or should we do something different in dealing with globalized supply chains?...” writes Paul Dewar, former New Democratic Party member of Parliament. “It’s long past time for governments to practice social responsibility in their trade policy. The best way for governments to pursue responsible trade is to promote best practices, to reward those who exemplify these and punish those who do not. Trade officials should work with Canadian companies abroad to promote best practices, and champion those who practice due diligence with their suppliers. We could create a ‘Brand Canada’ that would be a competitive advantage.... It’s time for responsible, responsive action.” 

The News / Mexico City

Action needed on anti-corruption bill

“April 30 finally came by and the Mexican Senate did not fulfill its commitment to come up with the regulations to send to the National Anti-corruption Law bill for approval at the lower house Chamber of Deputies...,” Ricardo Castillo writes. “What is truly worrisome is the way the senators ignored the people’s demand that they legislate the Anti-Corruption bill on the double.... [M]illions of Mexican voters are watching this particular piece of legislation as many feel the nine political parties now governing the nation must have a system of checks and balances that gives transparency to their deeds.” 

The Guardian / London

Animal rights in Britain

“Many say [current animal welfare] laws do not go far enough, and that modern intensive farming techniques are still cruel,” Sam Barker writes of the treatment of animals. “Regardless, these techniques are much less cruel because of European regulation, and each new law is a step in the right direction.... We have made impressive advances on animal rights in the UK over the years. But from an animal welfare perspective, we really need continued European Union input. Animal rights are too important to be left to our current government, and if Brexit happens then the chances are that rights for farm animals will either stagnate or be whittled away.” 

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