LexNoir The online community for lawyers of African descent and their communities. Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:20:12 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.3 European Parliament Approves Recast of RoHS Directive /2017/08/european-parliament-approves-recast-of-rohs-directive/ /2017/08/european-parliament-approves-recast-of-rohs-directive/#comments Tue, 01 Aug 2017 19:20:12 +0000 Silas /?p=1230 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus non arcu magna. Vestibulum gravida odio tincidunt nisl placerat sollicitudin. Maecenas vitae metus nibh, at pretium nibh. Aenean pellentesque urna eget dui aliquam sagittis. Nulla euismod tempor vestibulum. Donec massa urna, venenatis a suscipit a, pellentesque in enim. Nulla sed nibh nunc. Morbi ultricies vehicula tincidunt. Sed auctor, augue vitae placerat varius, velit ligula imperdiet justo, a lacinia dolor quam vel diam. Vivamus pretium elementum aliquam. Aenean ipsum odio, placerat non viverra nec, fringilla ut elit. Curabitur eleifend arcu vestibulum eros lacinia nec aliquet erat sagittis. Nulla mollis diam et arcu semper porta. Duis rutrum diam eu dolor dapibus at fringilla orci mollis. Aenean ante felis, rutrum non porta et, volutpat eget nisl. Aenean mattis, metus sit amet viverra posuere, quam urna fermentum dolor, id semper massa diam ac tortor. Curabitur vehicula, orci eget eleifend dapibus, metus dolor tempor turpis, in.

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U.K.: ‘Barista Visa’ Unavailable for African Migrants /2017/06/u-k-barista-visa-unavailable-for-african-migrants/ /2017/06/u-k-barista-visa-unavailable-for-african-migrants/#comments Tue, 06 Jun 2017 02:45:05 +0000 rochester /?p=3786 In an attempt to alleviate the United Kingdom’s looming labor shortage following Brexit, the government is proposing “barista visas,” which would allow immigrants between the ages of 18 and 30 to work up to two years within the hospitality industry.


As it stands, the visa-holders would not be allowed to claim benefits, attend school or extend their stay in the UK. Additionally, the barista visas are only available to nations such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong — excluding African and Middle Eastern countries. The country selection is based on the “Youth Mobility Scheme.”


The U.K. is one of the biggest destinations for Africans from across the diaspora, and many are calling the proposal’s country limitations discriminatory and racially motivated.


The effort is being pushed by Migration Watch UK, a right-wing think tank that supports stronger immigration controls, and UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd.


Today, hospitality businesses have more job vacancies than any other sector in the UK and are heavily reliant on cheap, often immigrant labor.


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Franchise Forum | Kuwait: New Commercial Agency Law Enacted /2016/11/franchise-forum-new-commercial-agency-law-enacted-in-kuwait/ /2016/11/franchise-forum-new-commercial-agency-law-enacted-in-kuwait/#comments Sun, 20 Nov 2016 18:01:09 +0000 rochester /?p=3765 For those interested in franchising in Kuwait, you should know that the country’s National Assembly recently amended its commercial agency law and enacted Law No. 13 of 2016. The law addresses the evolving issues and questions that relate to commercial agencies in Kuwait. In short, the law (i) clarifies that “franchisees” and “licensee” are cover the law; these individuals and/or entities are now expressly subject to any restrictions or requirements as well as protections afforded by the new law; (ii) dismantles the monopolies of agents by permitting principals to have more than one agent and/or distributor in the same territory; and (iii) mandates that agents will longer be permitted to bring termination and/or expiration compensation cases to Kuwaiti courts if their agency agreements are not registered with the government. Those companies or individuals engaged in commercial activity in Kuwait should be aware of these important changes in the law.

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Netherlands: The Dutch Blackface and the Growing Backlash /2016/10/the-dutch-blackface-tradition-of-zwarte-piet-and-the-growing-backlash/ /2016/10/the-dutch-blackface-tradition-of-zwarte-piet-and-the-growing-backlash/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2016 01:53:57 +0000 rochester /?p=3738 Traditionally, around Christmastime, Dutch adults and children have donned frilly wigs, red lips, and blackface make-up as an ode to Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete, the companion of Saint Nicholas.


The problematic Dutch tradition has sparked growing protests and demonstrations from minority groups that deem the custom racist. However, a significant proportion of the Dutch public support the celebration, arguing that the legend of Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklass, and his sidekicks is an innocent children’s pastime and predates any colonial ties and the legacy of slavery.


While Dutch politicians have largely tried to dismiss the controversy, the tradition is increasingly drawing a political divide in the country.


Last year, a United Nations-convened committee on racial discrimination called on the Dutch government to “promote the elimination of those features of the character of Black Pete which reflect negative stereotypes and are experienced by many people of African descent as a vestige of slavery.”


So far, Dutch primary schools abolished any representation of Zwarte Piet that could be deemed offensive, including blackface, thick lips and gold earrings.


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U.S.: Descendants of slaves sold to University seek reconciliation /2016/09/descendants-of-slaves-sold-to-georgetown-seek-to-establish-a-1-billion-foundation-for-reconciliation/ /2016/09/descendants-of-slaves-sold-to-georgetown-seek-to-establish-a-1-billion-foundation-for-reconciliation/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 03:28:16 +0000 rochester /?p=3718 Georgetown University CampusIn 1838, Georgetown University sold 272 slaves who were working on plantations in southern Maryland to pay off its massive debts. The university received the equivalent of $3.3 million after these men, women, and children were sold to plantations in Louisiana. Today, a group of descendants of these slaves is seeking to establish a $1 billion foundation in partnership with the university and the Jesuits of Maryland for reconciliation.


This call comes shortly after University President John J. DeGioia announced that it would begin measures to atone for the university’s role in the slave trade, including admissions preference to the group of descendants. Additionally, two buildings will be named in honor of those enslaved and a Mass of Reconciliation will be held to apologize for its history.


“We cannot do our best work if we refuse to take ownership of such a critical part of our history,” DeGioia said at a press conference.


The president’s announcement is in response to a report produced by a 16-member working group made up of faculty members, staff, students, and alumni, who explored Georgetown’s historical connection to slavery. Leaders who signed on to the GU272 statement requested to be a part of the panel, but were not. They are now calling on the university and the Jesuits to do more for the public good.


At a time when racial tensions have escalated nationally, and students across campuses have protested the urgency to address such issues, a growing number of schools are researching, adding memorials, and acknowledging the ties to a painful past.


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Namibia: The Push for a New Empowerment Bill /2016/08/zambia-the-push-for-a-new-empowerment-bill-leave-white-business-owners-panicking/ /2016/08/zambia-the-push-for-a-new-empowerment-bill-leave-white-business-owners-panicking/#comments Sat, 13 Aug 2016 20:58:57 +0000 rochester /?p=3690 A new government indigenization and economic empowerment bill in Namibia has many white business owners pondering whether to leave the country or take court action. The Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill, if approved, would require white-owned businesses to sell 25 percent ownership and cede at least 50 percent of management positions to “previously disadvantaged peoples” (PDPs).



Last month, Namibia started public consultations on the new bill, which would also prohibit white males from selling such ownership to their white wives, regardless of whether they are PDPs or not.



A presiding council, made up of selected Cabinet members as well as six additional appointees, would regulate the selection of companies, sales, and transfer of shares. The council would also have the authority to seize documents and equipment from companies in cases where improper conduct is alleged and to close all businesses not in compliance if the bill is passed.



Opponents fear that if approved the bill would cripple the Namibian economy, pushing businesses to seek ‘friendlier’ investment destinations. Legal consultations revealed low prospects of success for those seeking to challenge the bill’s constitutionality in court.



Yet, Namibian officials defend the bill, saying it does not contravene the constitution and that other countries have had success in implementing similar laws.



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Brazil: Preparations for the Rio Olympics Hurt Afro-Brazilians /2016/08/preparations-for-the-rio-olympics-hurt-afro-brazilians/ /2016/08/preparations-for-the-rio-olympics-hurt-afro-brazilians/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2016 11:56:29 +0000 rochester /?p=3670 RioAs host of the 31st Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro will attract as many as 500,000 tourists. Yet, the widely reported efforts to prepare for the games have left many questioning whether Rio is ready. Among the many issues, the government has tried desperately to sweep its impoverished favelas under the rug by increasing police and army presence.



Rio’s local Afro-Brazilian population has long felt the impact of these brutal crackdowns, first with the World Cup in 2014, and now the Olympic Games. “Urban segregation in Rio de Janeiro was aggravated with the preparation to receive the sports mega events,” anthropologist Luciane O. Rocha, a researcher at the Nucleo de Estudos da Cidadania Conflito e Violência Urbana of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, told The Root.



More than 20,000 military officers are said to be part of the security force for the Olympics while reports of racial profiling among poor black youth has increased, and some have reportedly been denied access to wealthy, beach neighborhoods.



It is clear to many Afro-Brazilians that the government’s push for increased police presence in favela communities has aggravated an already problematic issue of violence between the poor and the police. Additionally, the region has seen an increase in black deaths: In 2015, more than 480 black men were killed by the police in Rio.



Feeling unwelcome and excluded in their own city, Rio’s local, poor black population have little to celebrate this Olympics.



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Cuba: For many Afro-Cubans, Obama’s visit represents a source of pride, inspiration /2016/08/for-many-afro-cubans-obama%e2%80%99s-visit-represents-a-source-of-pride-inspiration/ /2016/08/for-many-afro-cubans-obama%e2%80%99s-visit-represents-a-source-of-pride-inspiration/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2016 02:03:16 +0000 rochester /?p=3654 Cuba

President Obama’s historic three-day trip to Cuba not only marked the first visit by a sitting U.S. president since the 1959 revolution, but also represented a source of pride and inspiration for many Afro-Cubans.
Obama’s message of hope has spread far beyond U.S. soil and resonated deeply among many Afro-Cubans who saw his visit as an opportunity to spark open dialogue on lingering prejudice and inequality in Cuba.



In many ways, Cuba’s history of segregation has mirrored the unequal conditions of blacks in the United States. In one of his first acts after overthrowing Cuba’s government, Fidel Castro declared an end to racial separatism in Cuba. During a rally in Havana in 1959, Castro declared, “We are a mixed race from Africa and Spain. No one should consider themselves a pure race, much less a superior race.”



But, nearly 60 years later, Afro-Cubans are still underrepresented at Cuba’s universities and within political and economic ranks. Additionally, blacks in Cuba account for a disproportionate number of the urban and rural poor. Discriminatory hiring also persists, particularly with jobs in hospitality and tourism where waiters, waitresses, and bartenders are overwhelmingly white or light-skinned, mixed race Cubans.



Known for its renowned music and dance, the island’s culture is a blend of both African and Spanish influence. According to official census records, 10 percent of the population of 11 million identify as black. Another quarter identify as mixed-race.



During the visit, Cuban President Raul Castro cited Obama’s personal background as a factor in the renewal of U.S.-Cuba relations—a hopeful signal to a new era.



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UK: Judge Suing Ministry of Justice for Race Discrimination /2016/07/uk-judge-suing-ministry-of-justice-for-race-discrimination/ /2016/07/uk-judge-suing-ministry-of-justice-for-race-discrimination/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2016 04:19:11 +0000 rochester /?p=3645 The lord chief justice has intervened on a recent discrimination case of a judge. Peter Herbert, a human rights barrister and judge in employment and immigration tribunals, is suing the Ministry of Justice for racial discrimination following a recommendation that he be given a written warning over remarks he made.



The complaint, recommended by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), arose following Herbert’s speech at a rally in Stephney, east London, last April. During his remarks, Herbert commented negatively about the decision to bar the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, from holding public office for five years. He added that racism in parts of the judiciary exists today, saying: “Racism is alive and well and living in Tower Hamlets, in Westminster and, yes, sometimes in the judiciary.”



Whether or not the written warning will be issued now rests with the justice secretary, Michael Gove, and the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, who detailed his concerns that all points have not been fully considered. Thomas added that a disciplinary panel should be set up to further investigate.



Herbert calls the suggested written warning discriminatory on racial grounds, amounts to victimization, and fails to consider the protection offered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act. Recently, Herbert also called for more training for judges on race issues.



A spokesperson for the JCIO confirmed that Herbert’s conduct is still under investigation and findings against any judicial office holder by the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice will be published on its website.

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Mexico: Afro-Mexicans Recognized in Mexico’s National Census /2016/03/mexico-afro-mexicans-recognized-in-mexico%e2%80%99s-national-census/ /2016/03/mexico-afro-mexicans-recognized-in-mexico%e2%80%99s-national-census/#comments Sat, 19 Mar 2016 03:33:26 +0000 rochester /?p=3629

For the first time ever, Mexican citizens may now officially identify themselves as “Afro-Mexican” on national censuses. An often forgotten part of Mexico’s identity, activists have fought for nearly two decades for this recognition, which is set to debut in the upcoming 2020 census.

A preliminary 2015 survey found that nearly 1.4 million people living in the country identify as black, representing 1.2 percent of the population. Most of Mexico’s self-identified Afro-Mexicans reside in the country’s three coastal states: Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz, where they make up almost 7 percent of the population. Additionally, the survey found that more women identify as black than men, and overall are often poorer and less educated when compared to Mexico’s national average.

While hailed as a step forward for people of African descent, the decision reflects the long-standing marginalization of blacks in Mexico as well as the deeply rooted colorism throughout Latin America. Too often the region’s black populations have been victims of racism while anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action policies to address racial issues are now getting traction in some countries.

The history of slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean resulted in a large number of residents of African descent, who now account for nearly 150 million people, and 30% of the region’s population, according to the United Nations.

Mexico had a smaller influx of African slaves when compared to other countries in Latin America. An estimated 200,000 Africans were brought to Mexico to work in silver mines and sugar plantations. Slavery in the country ended in 1829.

According to researchers, following Mexico’s independence, the Afro-Mexican population became largely invisible because it did not weave into Mexico’s new national identity, which centered on the idea of mestizaje, or the cultural blending of Spaniards and indigenous people.

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