March News Update: No Rollbacks on Gender Justice

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is coming to an end, and we have been busy over the last two weeks bringing our legal analysis to the conversations about equality and empowerment. 

While this year's CSW has provided a platform for many crucial and progressive discussions, we are troubled by reports that the United States is working to remove the term "gender" from CSW's outcome document. If realized, this would represent a major step backwards for gender justice.

We cannot accept rollbacks on gender equality. The international community must stand together and fight to uphold the rights of women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ community.

 

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Why I Support the Global Justice Center

Happy International Women’s Day!

My name is Jelena Pia, and I am thrilled to serve as a new board member for the Global Justice Center, an organization that embodies my feminist principles and passion for gender justice.

Every day, but especially today, I am grateful to be a part of the GJC family.As a diplomat and activist, I have seen firsthand how GJC has fundamentally shifted the global conversation on issues relating to justice and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.

As a representative of a small country, Andorra, at the United Nations, I was at the forefront of negotiations of international norms and treaties that set new standards for gender justice. The experience taught me the power of access and the injustice that comes with not allowing those who most need it to have a voice.

Joining GJC's board member allows me to continue my journey and stay true to my values. Throughout my career, I made sure to always remember what it means to be a woman from a small country. I know that strengthening women’s leadership and supporting the work of activists is critical to the women, peace and security agenda.

February News Update: Demanding Justice at the UN Security Council

Earlier this month, GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan briefed the United Nations Security Council on accountability for conflict-related sexual violence.

As Akila emphasized to Council members, "When states and the United Nations fail to act, it sends a dangerous message that genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity can be committed with impunity."

We know that, at its core, sexual violence in conflict is an expression of patriarchy and inequality. From Burma to Iraq, the Global Justice Center is fighting to make sure perpetrators of sexual violence are not shielded from justice by antiquated and discriminatory domestic laws.

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Human Rights Organizations Issue Joint Submission to CEDAW Committee Ahead of Myanmar Review

   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 22, 2019

[NEW YORK, NY] –  Today, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (“Committee”) will meet to discuss Myanmar’s Exceptional Report on the situation of Rohingya women and girls from northern Rakhine State. The Committee requested the Exceptional Report months after Myanmar’s Security Forces launched a massive attack on Rohingya civilians in August 2017, destroying almost 400 villages and forcing over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. This was only the fourth time the Committee had requested an Exceptional Report since its founding in 1982.

January News Update: Trump's Illegal Global Gag

On his first full day in office, the same day as the groundbreaking Women’s March, President Trump reinstated and expanded the devastating Global Gag Rule.

For two years, we have seen the consequences of this destructive and illegal policy—two years of clinics closing, women dying, and doctors being illegally denied their protected right to free speech.

The Global Justice Center is on the frontlines fighting for the rights of women and their doctors to make treatment decisions without interference from the US government. Change is possible, and together we can make the world a safer place for women. 

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Statement: Proposed Rule for ACA Marketplace Violates Women’s Fundamental Rights

The Global Justice Center (GJC) has submitted a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the department to withdraw the proposed rule on abortion coverage for the ACA Marketplace. The proposed rule will create bureaucratic obstacles for abortion coverage, including instituting separate payment requirements for plans that cover abortion services.

The proposed rule violates women’s fundamental rights under the US Constitution and international human rights law. Human rights obligations protect access to abortion under a multitude of rights—including the rights to privacy, life, and health, and the right to be free from discrimination, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The proposed rule would violate these protections by enacting discriminatory barriers to services needed only by women, stigmatizing abortion, and denying women access to safe affordable care, forcing them to seek out unsafe services at high risk to their health and lives.

"The outcome, and tacit intent, of the proposed rule is to discourage insurers from providing abortion coverage” says Global Justice Center Special Counsel, Michelle Onello. “It will impose onerous burdens on both insurers and consumers that aim to stigmatize abortion, embarrass women, annoy and inconvenience consumers, and increase administrative burdens on insurers.”

For more information contact:
Liz Olson, Communications Manager at Global Justice Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (212) 725-6530 ext. 217

December News Update: The Failed Promise of "Never Again"

This December marks 70 years since the ratification of the Genocide Convention, an anniversary that reminds us of the failed promise of "Never Again." 

To mark this important milestone, GJC released a groundbreaking legal analysis of the gender-based crimes of genocide. The report outlines how the continued failure to acknowledge the role gender plays in genocidal violence has undercut the development of an effective legal framework to prevent and punish genocide. 

The international community must learn from the shortcomings of seven decades of genocide prosecutions and failed prevention efforts. With accountability proceedings on the horizon for the Yazidis and Rohingya, the gendered crimes of genocide must not be ignored.

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New Report Provides First Comprehensive Legal Analysis of the Role of Gender in Genocide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 7, 2018

[New York] – Today, the Global Justice Center (GJC) released the first comprehensive legal analysis of the gender-based crimes of genocide. Over the past four years, the world has witnessed at least two genocidal campaigns—against the Yazidis in Iraq and against the Rohingya in Myanmar. Widespread sexual and gender-based violence was central to both, as in the genocides in Darfur, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Guatemala. The new report, Beyond Killing,details the role that gender plays in the commission of genocide and the role it must therefore play in efforts to prevent and punish it.

For too long, the understanding of genocide has centered on killing, a genocidal act that most often impacts men. Women and girls are more likely to survive the initial wave of killings—facing enslavement, beatings, starvation, degradation, and other acts that form constitutive acts of genocide. Survivors of these abuses are not just witnesses to the genocide: they are its intended targets and require accountability and reparations. When the gendered, non-killing crimes of genocide go unrecognized, women and girls, in particular, are denied justice for the abuses they have suffered.

October News Update: Spotlight on Gender-based Violence

Earlier this month, our partners Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to end sexual violence in conflict. Sexual and gender-based crimes are in the international spotlight, and GJC is working overtime to make sure that these crimes are investigated and punished.

We just sent ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda our analysis of the crimes committed against the Rohingya, along with a letter urging her to prioritize sexual and gender based violence in the Court's investigation.

Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg / Own Work / CC BY-SA 4.0


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Statement on Nobel Peace Prize Award to Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 5, 2018

The Global Justice Center commends the Nobel Committee’s decision to award Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege with the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, honoring their work to end rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. Ms. Murad and Dr. Mukwege have each displayed remarkable bravery and determination, risking their safety and wellbeing in the struggle to end to sexual violence in conflict. This award shines an international spotlight on this widespread and horrific tactic that continues to be used to destroy communities both physically and emotionally, breaking apart the social fabric of society. 

Despite the widespread use of rape as a weapon, no state has ever been held accountable for the use of rape as a prohibited tactic of war. To date, there have been no successful convictions for sexual violence at the International Criminal Court (after the acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba this June), despite the prevalence of sexual violence in many of the cases under the Court’s jurisdiction. As the perpetrators of crimes against the Yazidis and the Rohingya face justice, they must be held accountable for their horrendous acts of sexual violence, rape, and other gender-based crimes. This year’s Nobel Prize recognized the importance of addressing sexual violence in conflict. The next step is to ensure justice.

For more information contact:
Liz Olson, Communications Manager at Global Justice Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (212) 725-6530 ext. 217

"That's Illegal" Episode 9: Ireland's Abortion Laws

 

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Claire Pierson, a lecturer in Gender and Comparative Politics at the University of Liverpool, to discuss Ireland’s groundbreaking eighth amendment referendum to legalize abortion and lessons for the international community.

Enjoy this episode? Follow us on iTunes and Soundcloud!

Statement on the Creation of the IIIM for Myanmar

The Global Justice Center applauds the Human Rights Council for acting where others have not in creating an International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for Myanmar. This is an important step towards addressing the total impunity for the decades of crimes committed by the military.

While it is imperative to collect evidence, without a court where such evidence can be analyzed and prosecuted, justice and accountability for these crimes cannot be delivered. As such, the creation of the Mechanism without the establishment of an avenue for justice is insufficient. The Security Council should still refer the situation to the International Criminal Court so that the Court has jurisdiction over all crimes committed in the course of these attacks. Structural barriers to accountability in Burma, including those enshrined in the Constitution, must also be addressed.

The Mechanism also must ensure that gender is at the center of the investigation, and that the Mechanism has sufficient gender expertise. “Burmese Security Forces have long used rape as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities,” says Global Justice Center President Akila Radhakrishnan. “The attacks on the Rohingya were gendered in their conception, commission, and consequences. Women were specifically targeted for crimes against humanity and genocide, and they must not be left behind in these accountability efforts.”

September News Update: Gender and the Rohingya Genocide

Last week, we released the first comprehensive legal analysis of the gender-based crimes committed against Rohingya women and girls in Rakhine State. Days later, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the launch of a preliminary investigation into the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya into Bangladesh.

The UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly are both considering the establishment of a mechanism to collect and document evidence of crimes against the Rohingya. As the gears of justice begin to turn, we're working to ensure that a gendered analysis and a focus on justice for gender-based crimes are embedded in every conversation.

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Statement on the ICC Ruling in Burma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 6, 2018

[New York]– The Global Justice Center applauds the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I for recognizing the Court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by Burma’s security forces that were continued into Bangladesh—including the crimes against humanity of deportation, persecution and other inhumane acts. The ICC’s decision provides the opportunity to see real accountability for the crimes committed against the Rohingya.

Since the commencement of “clearance operations” by Burma’s security forces last August, over 700,000 Rohingya have been forcibly displaced to Bangladesh. The ICC’s ruling potentially opens the door to other ongoing crimes, elements of which have occurred in Bangladesh or as a result of their displacement to Bangladesh. Forcible displacement has been found by international courts to not only be a crime against humanity itself, but also a constitutive element of genocidal acts.

Statement on the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 27, 2018

[New York]– The Global Justice Center (GJC) welcomes the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar’s report on the crimes against minority groups, including the crime of genocide against the Rohingya committed by Myanmar’s security forces. In particular, GJC commends the Fact-Finding Mission for highlighting the military’s use of sexual violence as a tactic against all minority groups and recognizing the structural barriers to accountability in Myanmar.

For decades, the Myanmar army has targeted ethnic minority groups with impunity—burning villages, killing indiscriminately, and raping and sexually assaulting women and girls. These systematic and brutal attacks against civilians have been used to intimidate and terrorize local populations. Years of impunity for these atrocities have emboldened the military to escalate their policies of violence and repression, creating an opening for the genocidal campaign against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s civilian government has neither the will nor the demonstrated capacity to end these horrific crimes and hold those responsible accountable. It is essential that the international community act expeditiously to address the situation in Myanmar, including the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, and take action in line with the obligations to prevent, suppress and punish genocide.

August News Update: Working Towards "Never Again"

August marks the anniversaries of two recent genocides: the Rohingya in Burma and the Yazidi in Iraq. These atrocities highlight the often overlooked but increasingly unavoidable gendered crimes of genocide

Systematic sexual violence was integral to the campaigns that targeted the Rohingya and Yazidi communities for annihilation.  Unless these crimes are recognized and prosecuted as genocide, the international community will continue to miss the warning signs and fail to intervene before the next genocide takes place.

Photo: Anna Dubuis / DFID / CC BY 2.0

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Proposed "Domestic Gag Rule" Violates Americans’ Right to Free Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 31, 2018

[NEW YORK, NY] – Today marks the deadline for public commentary on the changes to the Title X Family Planning Program proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If adopted, this domestic “gag rule” would ban health centers that receive Title X funding from providing their patients with information, referrals, access or support regarding abortion services. This rule is yet another attack by the Trump Administration on low-income and minority communities.

July News Update: GJC Fights Back Against Illegal Gag Rule

Today, the Global Justice Center submitted a formal comment to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar detailing the ways in which proposed restrictions on Title X deny women their fundamental human rights.

The proposed restrictions on Title X, announced by the White House in May, threaten to cut off funding to any health care provider that refers, provides, or even mentions abortion, which will lead to dire consequences, primarily for low-income women. Doctors will be forced to withhold information from women, even when directly asked for it, and women will need to seek information about their medical options elsewhere.

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July News Update: Human Rights Under Threat

This week, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has ruled against the rights to birth control and abortion throughout his career. His nomination threatens the protections of Roe v. Wade and signals the growing disparity between the United States and international human rights norms.

With ten years of experience on the progressive interpretation of international law under our belts, we know how to use the power of the law to protect the rights of women and girls around the world.  

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