A global first: Australian state of Victoria issues formal apology to the LGBTQI community for discriminatory laws

In what is being heralded as an international first, the Australian state of Victoria’s Parliament has just formally apologized to generations of gay men (and the larger LGBTQI Community)  for the systematic persecution and destruction of human dignity enforced by the State through its anti-homosexual statutes.

In one of many remarkable passages, the Victorian Premier,the Hon. Daniel Matthews, declares,

 ” Speaker, it is the first responsibility of a Government to keep people safe. But the Government didn’t keep LGBTI people safe.

The Government invalidated their humanity and cast them into a nightmare.

And those who live today are the survivors of nothing less than a campaign of destruction, led by the might of the State.”

The Premier continues by recounting the remarkable stories of survivors from this odious time period when representative governments worldwide created and enforced these destructive laws.

It is his final words of apology that are truly ground breaking:

If you are a member of the LGBTI community, and there’s someone in your life that you love – a partner or a friend – then do me a favour:

Next time you’re on a tram in Melbourne, hold their hand.

Do it with pride and defiance.

Because you have that freedom.

And here in the progressive capital, I can think of nothing more Victorian than that.

Speaker, it’s been a life of struggle for generations of Victorians.

As representatives, we take full responsibility.

We criminalised homosexual thoughts and deeds. We validated homophobic words and acts.

And we set the tone for a society that ruthlessly punished the different – with a short sentence in prison, and a life sentence of shame.

From now on, that shame is ours.

This Parliament and this Government are to be formally held to account for designing a culture of darkness and shame.

And those who faced its sanction, and lived in fear, are to be formally recognised for their relentless pursuit of freedom and love.

It all started here. It will end here, too.

To our knowledge, no jurisdiction in the world has ever offered a full and formal apology for laws like these.

So please, let these words rest forever in our records:

“On behalf of the Parliament, the Government and the people of Victoria.

For the laws we passed.

And the lives we ruined.

And the standards we set.

We are so sorry. Humbly, deeply, sorry.”

Read the entire apology here.

Watch it here:

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International Women’s Day

If you are interested in the topic of women and the law, the Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries have a variety of resources that you may want to check out.  These include books such as Women and the Law Stories, which highlights cases addressing sex discrimination, working conditions, and reproductive rights, among others.  You may also want to explore articles on HeinOnline from journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender and the Women Lawyers Journal.  Lastly, in honor of International Women’s Day, many blogs are also posting interesting stories, such as the Library of Congress’ global history of women’s voting rights.

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Tax Analysts

If you are interested in tax law, Tax Analysts publishes several resources which may be helpful for your research.  Under the Key Documents tab, Tax Notes includes updates and analysis of federal and state tax laws, IRS ruling and regulations, court opinions, Treasury reports, and more.  Under the Publications tab, Tax Notes Today focuses on the latest news and documents, while Tax Notes International covers international tax issues.

Tax Analysts

 

If you are interested in accessing these resources, please:

Tax Analysts Instructions

Please note that while you have to be on campus to register for an account, after registering you will be able to use the site anywhere.  If you have any questions, or if you are looking for additional resources, just ask a reference librarian!

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IP Watch

Curious about intellectual property law?  You may want to check out IP Watch, a non-profit news service that focuses on stories from around the world.  This database is easily accessible through the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries’ eResources A-Z list, and is searchable in a variety of ways.  For instance, you can browse through a list of the most recent stories on the database’s main page, or focus on a topical category, such as copyrights, patents, or trademarks.  If you are interested in a particular issue, you can also search the website using its search bar.  Finally, IP Watch also enables you to search by geographical region.

IP Watch 4

In you are interested in accessing content in a different format, IP Watch offers an email subscription service, Facebook posts, a LinkedIn account, and a Twitter account to help keep you informed.  IP Watch’s content is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.

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The Library of Congress’ Nations Page

Looking for the laws of another country?  The Law Library of Congress has created a Nations webpage, which allows you to search for executive, judicial, and legislative resources by country.  These resources are pulled from other online databases and websites.  For example, below, please find the entry for Morocco, which includes information from sources such as Amnesty International and the U.S. Department of State.  (Click on the image to make it larger.)

Library of Congress Nations

This webpage is maintained by the Law Library of Congress, which also allows you to search for legal commentary by topic.  For more information on this subject, check out our LibGuides on Foreign Law and International Law.

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Research Resources for International Law

Suppose you’re researching an international legal issue for the first time. What are some good places to start?

If you begin with the library’s research guide on International Law (IL), you will find definitions of IL and related concepts, video discussions on the scope of IL and a frequently cited summary of the IL sources (listed in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice). To get started with your topic, starting places include secondary sources, such as the major treatises listed in the guide, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, and journal articles that explore international legal topics.

Research guides, including our guides on sources of IL (e.g., Treaties) and topical issues (such as International Trade or Human Rights research), can be helpful in locating and working with primary sources and specialized tools. Other research guides include those provided by NYU’s GlobaLex, the American Society of International Law (ASIL), and ASIL’s Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL).

Current awareness resources include blogs, subscription news updates and the news bureaus of the United Nations and other international organizations. These can be great tools for picking a paper topic, gathering information on recent developments and monitoring your topic as you work.

This graphic (International Law Visualized) provides a basic overview of some IL bodies and concepts that may assist in your research.

If you need help or have questions about resources, contact a reference librarian.

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Research on International Human Rights Law

Few topics get more attention around the world than human rights, but many students are uncertain about the source and scope of those rights.

If you are researching the topic, the library’s research guide is one starting place. As with most international law topics, consulting a good secondary source, such as a leading treatise or the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, is often a great way to identify primary documents and learn about enforcement mechanisms.

The most prominent arena for international human rights law is the United Nations apparatus, which includes:

A relatively new UN process is called Universal Periodic Review, which provides a regular assessment of every UN member state’s human rights record.

Other human rights systems include the regional systems in Europe, the Americas and Africa–each with its own conventions, commissions and tribunals.

Many sources provide ongoing coverage of human rights developments around the world, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; blogs, such as Human Trafficking Search and  Immigration Prof Blog; news agencies of the UN and  U.S. State Department (and the Department’s Human Rights Reports); and international news sources, such as the BBC and Reuters.

Other research guides that may provide relevant guidance include our guides to Treaty Research, Refugee & Asylum Law and International Courts & Tribunals.

 

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Read All About it! Or, how to find sources for News.

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As more and more periodicals move to electronic versions, our traditional model of  finding and reading the news is evolving. In light of this reality, the Law Library is constantly evaluating and seeking ways to make your access to these sources as easy and economical as feasible. Many of the most commonly requested resources are available in multiple formats on our various databases:  Think Bloomberg Law, WestlawNext and Lexis Advance or Lexis Academic, but we also have a myriad of other databases available to assist you. This list is by no means exhaustive but will help you find the majority of our Newspaper resources:

  • First try this BU Law Library Research Guide
  • All full-time BU Law Students in residence have access to a new New York Times group pass. (Details were sent to you under separate cover. Come see the Reference Desk with any questions
  • The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal are available on the Proquest Digital platform HERE.
  • Looking for an international title in full-color display? Try Press Display which features currently over 260 newspapers from around the globe.

 

Still cannot find what you are looking for? Come visit one of us at the Reference Desk. We are happy to help.

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Global Arbitration Review… the “GAR” is here.

In addition to the new Oxford Legal Research Library mentioned earlier this week, the Library has just also added the Global Arbitration Review to its offerings covering international arbitration.

The GAR is a respected current awareness and news tool that provides daily updates if you subscribe using your BU e-mail address.  It also compiles an annual “GAR 100” and “GAR 30” report that ranks top international arbitration firms based on their proprietary formula.

This is a screen shot of the sign-in page highlighting the multiple types of information available to researchers:

GAR 2One important subscription limitation to note is the fact that our subscription only allows for viewing and downloading of current materials. Archived items may only be viewed and may not be saved or downloaded.

 

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