Global Justice Center Blog

November News Update: Slow Progress on Women, Peace, and Security

The United Nations Security Council last week unanimously adopted resolution 2492, which called for the full implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. This resolution is intended to serve as a call to action from the council one year before the agenda’s 20th anniversary next year.

Unfortunately, thanks to threats from countries like the United States, the final resolution completely omitted references to sexual and reproductive health and rights. New US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, used her time on the council floor to caution the UN against putting itself "in a position of promoting or suggesting a right to abortion." We blasted the resolution ommission and US statement on social media.

As we approach next year's landmark anniversary, GJC will be doubling down on its efforts to ensure the world recognizes sexual and reproductive health as integral to the prosperity and empowerment of women and girls

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Women, peace, security agenda approaches 20th year with shaky progress

Excerpt of Devex article that quotes GJC Deputy Legal Director Grant Shubin.

The Security Council passed a new resolution on Wednesday calling for the full implementation of 1325, showing the “urgency and need” for making good on the agenda, according to Grant Shubin, the deputy legal director of the Global Justice Center. But the new resolution has its own gaps, including the fact that it does not have any sexual and reproductive health and rights language, Shubin said.

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Discrimination by Design: Key Points for the Universal Periodic Review of Iraq

In advance of the Human Rights Council’s forthcoming review of Iraq, it is critical that attention is paid to the need for fundamental reform of Iraq’s legal system in order to achieve justice for Daesh’s victims, and more broadly for the people of Iraq. As currently codified, Iraq’s criminal laws do not punish the most egregious aspects of Daesh’s sexual and gender-based violence. If prosecuted under these laws, basic features of Daesh’s crimes will go unpunished, such as rape with objects, forced marriage, and gender-motivated torture, as well as the international atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The Global Justice Center’s full submission highlights a number of concerns over Iraq’s criminal laws as violations of Iraq’s obligations under the treaty bodies to which it is a party – including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Geneva Conventions.

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Reproducing Impunity: Gendering the Draft Convention on Crimes against Humanity

The Draft Convention on Crimes against Humanity offers an opportunity to improve accountability for grave violations of international law; however in its current form, it continues to limit justice for sexual and gender-based violence.

The International Law Commission (“ILC”) undertook the task of compiling a Draft Convention on Crimes against Humanity in 2014. In the ILC’s first draft, it replicated the definition of crimes against humanity verbatim from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“Rome Statute”)[1] for the sake of expediency, sparking unprecedented engagement from gender groups and experts to reform the provisions. As a result, during the final cycle of the ILC drafting process, 20 of the 33 states that submitted comments and a cohort of 23 UN experts called for the removal of an outdated definition of gender that failed to recognize a basis for persecution and limited justice and accountability for such crimes.

Removing the gender definition was a crucial step towards recognizing that it is not enough to merely replicate existing language without reckoning with legal developments and the gendered dimensions of mass atrocity crimes. However, the call did not go far enough to address the draft treaty’s inadequacies on sexual and gender-based violence, including restrictive definitions of torture, enslavement, and other sexual and gender-based acts “of comparable gravity” that constitute crimes against humanity. This factsheet will focus on one such crime under the treaty—forced pregnancy.

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October News Update: Gender Equality at the UN

I had a tremendous honor this month to sit on a panel with a group of extraordinary feminists in the human rights field: Agnès Callamard, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Dr. Anne Marie Goetz, former Chief Advisor on Peace & Security, UN Women; and Melissa Upreti, Expert on the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women.

It was for an event GJC hosted on gender-sensitive approaches to international law. Agnès, myself, and the other panelists discussed the absolute necessity of centering gender and utilizing a feminist perspective as we work towards a fairer, more equal world. The conversation reinforced for me the importance of the Global Justice Center’s mission and our unique and innovative approach to using international law for gender equality.

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