Global Justice Center Blog

April News Update: Reproductive Rights at the Security Council

Last week, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 on Women, Peace and Security. As a last minute compromise, language on sexual and reproductive heath was removed, undermining the resolution's goal to address the needs of victims of sexual violence in conflict.

Reproductive health care—including access to abortion services—is a critical component of necessary and comprehensive medical care for survivors of sexual violence in conflict. 

We will not allow these priorities to be played against one another. Sexual and reproductive rights must not be sacrificed in order to gain other protections.

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Much More Than Language: How the US Denied Survivors of Rape in Conflict Lifesaving Care

Excerpt of Women Under Siege op-ed by GJC Deputy Legal Director Grant Shubin.  

On Wednesday, April 23, 2019, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 during the Council’s annual Open Debate on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. .

After months of German-led negotiations, passage of the Resolution ultimately came down to sexual and reproductive health (SRH)—specifically, whether the U.S. would veto its inclusion in the final text.

The U.S. justified its position by claiming that SRH is a euphemism for abortion services. Not only is this not true—SRH includes, among other things, contraception, safe abortion services, HIV prevention, and prenatal healthcare—but even if it were, abortion services for survivors of sexual violence save lives.

Unsafe abortion causes the deaths of 47,000 people each year and leaves another 5 million with some form of permanent or temporary disability. They may suffer complications, including hemorrhage, infection, perforation of the uterus, and damage to the genital tract or internal organs. In fact, the consequences of denying abortion services have been found to be so severe that it can amount to torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

The international community cannot become accustomed or complacent to the Trump administration’s use of domestic politics to hold international rights hostage. Because it is more than just words that are given up last minute on the floor of the Security Council—it’s women’s lives.

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"That's Illegal" Episode 10: #BringBackOurGirls: Five Years Later

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome, Professor of Political Science, African & Women’s Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY and one of the founders of the Bring Back Our Girls NYC campaign, to discuss the fifth anniversary of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the 276 Chibok girls and gender-based violence in Nigeria.  

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UN Security Council Adopts Resolution 2467

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 23, 2019

[NEW YORK, NY] – Today, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 on Women, Peace and Security. Although the resolution purports to address the needs of victims of sexual violence in conflict, it contains no direct references to reproductive health—a key component of necessary and comprehensive medical care. This last-minute compromise was made to avoid a certain veto by the United States government.

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BBC Newshour Radio on the UN Security Council Resolution 2467

GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan explains the UN Security Council Resolution 2467 to BBC Newshour Radio. Condemning its lack of direct reference to reproductive health, Akila underscores:

"Sexual and reproductive rights are an essential component of the service provision that women who are raped in war need to receive. When you think about what they go through and experience, to take out an important and essential component of their care is deeply problematic. In previous years, the Security Council has agreed upon language that calls for comprehensive and nondiscriminatory service provisions—including sexual and reproductive rights. What happened with the language is that it became diluted and weak. It had a general reference to medical care and healthcare services." 

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