A new report, “They Came to Destroy” : ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis, confirms that ISIS is committing genocide against the Yazidi including through gendered non-killing crimes such as rape and sexual violence against enslaved Yazidi women and girls.
This month, GJC participated in the UN's first World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul, Turkey from 23-24th, 2016. With our presence there, we took leadership in promoting the rights of women and girls under international humanitarian law.
GJC’s side-event, “Making IHL Work for Women and Girls,” was the only event at the summit on IHL and gender, and focused on advancing the rights of women and girls in conflict.
This Mother’s Day it is important to remember that when women have a say in governance, the world becomes a better place. This is why GJC works to empower women and ensure their equal rights around the world.
A recent example of this is our work on gender and genocide. I just wrote a blog post on how crimes against women are often overlooked and go unpunished. GJC is demanding accountability and action in face of these crimes.
It has been two years since Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 Chibok Christian schoolgirls. The global rallying cry to “Bring Back Our Girls” has not stopped Boko Haram from targeting women and girls with heinous crimes including kidnappings, rapes, forced pregnancies, forced conversion, and murder by forced suicide.
While the Chibok girls remain in captivity, Boko Haram continues to act with total impunity abducting an estimates 2,000 more women and girls.
The fundamental ideologies of groups like Boko Haram and ISIS rely on women being chattels, inferior, and disposable. The global call to “Bring Back Our Girls” must go beyond rescue and include a demand for global justice for all women and girls suffering under extremists.
Today, on International Women’s day, it is important to not forget the thousands of women and girls still being held captive by ISIS. The subjugation of women and girls and the horrific violence inflicted on them are strategies of terror and genocide used by ISIS to achieve their aims.
We are so honored to strive for justice and equality with friends and partners like you. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016!
Janet, Phyu Phyu, Akila, Stephanie O, Stephanie J, Michelle, Grant, Zoe, Kay, Anji, Pinky & Magda
The Burmese (Myanmar) election is front page news across the globe, and the results are demonstrating many victories for Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD). This election shows how urgently the people of Burma want change. However, the bleak stuctural barriers to democracy, especially the Constitution that guarantees 25% of the parliamentary seats and blanket immunity to the military are even more apparent.
How have the lives of women and girls surviving conflict situations improved in the last 15 years? As Women’s Rights Leader Julienne Lusenge of the DRC reflected on the international community’s response, “almost nothing has changed.”
Last week, we also released our comprehensive report, produced in collaboration with the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice. The report documents gross inaction to fulfill Burma’s international obligations to ensure gender equality. Women will never enjoy equal rights in Burma without dismantling structural barriers to gender equality. Read “Promises Not Progress: Burma’s National Plan for Women Falls Short of Gender Equality and CEDAW”
When will the US uphold the principles of the Geneva Conventions for women raped in war?
Today marks the 66th anniversary of the United States signing the Geneva Conventions. Yet, due to US policy, women and girls raped in war are still denied their right under international law to all necessary medical care, including access to safe abortions. This includes the women and girls brutally raped and forcibly impregnated by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
This summer, lawyers from the Global Justice Center traveled to Nigeria in support of our new Gender, Genocide and the Responsibility to Rescue project. We learned that many are concerned about the immediate needs of victims of violence—food, shelter, and medical care—this includes access to abortion services.
Today, the Global Justice Center and over 55 human rights, medical, and legal organizations throughout the world, including in conflict countries, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to lift the abortion restrictions on US foreign aid. The abortion ban for women and girls raped in armed conflict violates their rights as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions and has dangerous, even fatal, consequences.
The clock is ticking. President Obama has less than two months left to respond to the UPR recommendations. The Global Justice Center urges the President to overturn the ban so that U.S. aid will serve its purpose, lives will be saved, and suffering will be alleviated.
Read the joint letter to President Obama here.
Janet in New York Times: Why is Obama Administration Denying Abortions to Impregnated Boko Haram Victims? In case you missed it, please see my letter to the editor which was published in Friday’s New York Times.
My letter to the editor challenged the Obama administration continued violation of the Geneva Conventions by denying abortions to impregnated war rape victims.
April News Update: GJC Editorial Urges International Recognition of Gender Based Abduction as Genocide
Last week, United Nations news outlet PassBlue published the Global Justice Center’s editorial on the one year anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram. Our editorial identified the crimes committed by Boko Haram as an act of genocide, called “the forcible transfer of children,” as defined by the Genocide Convention.
As the world remembered the abduction of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram—219 who remain missing—on the one year anniversary of their abduction, the Global Justice Center is asking why the perpetrators of this heinous crime have not been brought to justice.
Today is International Women’s Day, and around the world thousands of women and girls are being used as a weapon of war in places like Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Iraq.
GJC is committed to holding groups and states that use rape as a weapon of war accountable. We advocate at the United Nations and governmental levels to ensure the international community fulfills its obligation to find war criminals and bring them to justice. Watch my keynote address at New York University School of Law’s Third Annual Law Women Summit this last month to learn more.
In collaboration with Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, GJC developed trainings and materials to empower activists in Burma to harness and use international law to achieve gender equality and to enforce human rights.
In January, a team of lawyers from GJC and the Leitner Center traveled to Burma with suitcases filled with resource books, workbooks, fact sheets, and USB drives loaded with original training material. Our training focused on how activists, including long-term GJC partner the Women’s League of Burma which represents 13 ethnic women’s groups, can use international law to challenge violations of human rights in weapon of war by the military and illegal land confiscations by the military. Participants attended from all over the country, including from the areas where the conflict still rages.
Burma is just the beginning. In the future, this model toolkit can be deployed in other conflict or post-conflict countries such as Iraq or Sudan.
Forty-one years ago today, in response to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that upheld women’s right to choose, Congress enacted the Helms amendment in an effort to restrict US foreign aid from being used to provide safe abortion services. Shamefully, for over four decades, the Helms amendement has resulted in the denial of lifesaving abortions to women and girls brutally raped and forcibly impregnated in war.
When Travel + Leisure magazine this month declared Burma its “Destination of the Year,” the Global Justice Center spoke with journalist Lauren Wolfe to lift the veil on human rights abuses that continue to be perpetrated with impunity in a country deemed to be “on the cusp of great change.”
In Ms. Wolfe’s article published in Foreign Policy, “Come for the Golden Pagodas and Stay for the War Crimes,” GJC Senior Burma Researcher Phyu Phyu Sann spoke about the current environment inside Burma, particularly how the military continues to commit crimes of sexual violence without any fear of prosecution or accountability.
The Global Justice Center is fighting the true democratic reform in Burma. This starts by getting the international community to address Burma’s constitution as a violation of international law and a roadblock to justice for the Burmese people.