Global Justice Center Blog

There’s Nothing “Pro-Life” About Sweeping Abortion Bans

Excerpt of Ms. Magazine op-ed by GJC Communications Manager Liz Olson.  

Alabama’s sweeping abortion ban compares abortion to the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, as though the termination of a fetus is morally equivalent to the willful annihilation of a people. But it is abortion bans, not the women who seek them, that put lives at risk every day.

Legislation that criminalizes abortion access and provision does not prevent abortions—it just makes them more dangerous. The World Health Organization reports that about 25 million unsafe abortions are performed annually, primarily in regions with heavily restrictive abortion laws. Women who have unsafe abortions face serious and even fatal medical complications like heavy blood loss, infection and damage to internal organs. Unsafe abortions are even a leading cause of maternal mortality: 68,000 women die from them every year around the world.

The deadly impact of restrictive abortion policies is so well documented that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, once declared that total abortion bans “amount to a gender-based arbitrary killing, only suffered by women, as a result of discrimination enshrined in law.” 

Read the Full Op-Ed

Alumna A Relentless Advocate for International Justice, Human Rights

GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan was featured by her alma mater UC Hasting College of the Law.

The Global Justice Center has had tremendous success in recent years ensuring women and girls raped in war have access to abortion services, and UC Hastings Law alumna Akila Radhakrishnan ‘09 is a major reason why.

Radhakrishnan, who now serves as president of the New York-based nonprofit, helped conceptualize the campaign to support the provision of sexual and reproductive rights to female rape victims. She has since led the legal and advocacy efforts for the project, which Radhakrishnan said has effectively advanced a feminist legal understanding of the laws of war.

Since 2010, abortion has been recognized as protected medical care under international humanitarian law by the United Nations Security Council; UN Secretary-General; the European Union Commission and Parliament; and the governments of the UK, Netherlands and France, among others.

“One of the key accomplishments and outcomes of this work has been shifting the norm around how abortion is considered fundamental care for rape victims in war,” Radhakrishnan said. “We are really proud of having helped to usher in that change.”

Read the Full Article 

Webinar on Women in War: Stopping Sexual Violence in Conflict

From May 29, 2019 11:30 until 12:30

Adopted in April 2019, the UN Resolution 2467 calls for a survivor-centered approach to the prevention of sexual violence against women in conflict, and emboldens efforts to strengthen justice and accountability around the issue. But how can we ensure such non-binding resolutions are actually implemented on the ground? What does a viable action plan to stop violence against women in war look like?

Hosted by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes, this webinar will bring together experts on the subject to discuss the importance of the resolution and the equally important next steps that need to be taken to guarantee that perpetrators are held accountable, that survivors’ needs are met through a holistic range of practical and sustainable support, and that NGOs, activists and other allies can equip women with the training and networks they need to be active leaders on this issue.

Speakers:

  • Fatou Baldeh, Founder and CEO of Women in Leadership
  • Gunnar Berkemeier, Specialist, UN Peace Operations, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations
  • Milica Kostic, Program Director, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience
  • Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Center
  • Elizabeth Silkes, Executive Director, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

Watch Here

Protection of Civilians in Conflict Side Event - Gender and Genocide: Engendering analysis for better prevention, accountability, and protection

From May 22, 2019 1:00 until 2:00

At 10th Floor, Church Center of the United Nations, 777 United Nations Plaza

In December 2018, the international community marked the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. That same month, the Global Justice Center released its latest white paper, entitled Beyond Killing: Gender, Genocide, & Obligations Under International Law. It underscores how gender, and preconceived beliefs related to it, affect perpetrators’ planning and commission of coordinated acts of genocidal violence in order to maximize the destructive impact on vulnerable groups protected under international laws, such as the Genocide Convention.

Genocide and other atrocity crimes, by the perpetrators’ own design, affect women and men in distinct ways by reason of their gender. Women and girls are often directly targeted in non-killing acts of genocide and are disproportionately burdened by the economic and social consequences of genocidal violence, whilst men and boys are often targeted in mass killings in line with their perceived gender roles as leaders and fighters. However, there has been a continued failure by the international community to acknowledge such gender-specificity in legal frameworks for accountability for such crimes, undercutting our ability to mobilize the Genocide Convention’s legal obligations to prevent and punish genocide.

More than 70 years on, genocide and other atrocities are still committed in many parts of the world and much remains to be done to better prevent these crimes and to strengthen accountability frameworks to get justice for victims. This May, the Global Justice Center (GJC) and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) would like to invite you to join us for a panel event on the sidelines of the upcoming UN Security Council debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict to raise awareness around the need for the inclusion of a gendered analysis to illuminate the multi-dimensional nature of genocide and other atrocity-related crimes to better prevent their occurrence.

Speakers:

  • Ms. Razia Sultana, Founder and Chairperson of Rohingya Women Welfare Society
  • Mr. Grant Shubin, Deputy Legal Director at the Global Justice Center  
  • Prof. Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, Director of the Benjamin Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic and the Faculty Director of the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights
  • Ms. Juliette Lehner, Associate Political Affairs Officer, UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
  • Moderator: Dr. Abigail Ruane, Director of the PeaceWomen Programme of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

As space will be limited, please register using this form or email Ms. Liz Olson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5:00pm on Friday, May 17, 2019. A light lunch will be served.

Download event information