May News Update: On the Helms Amendment and More

In March we were busy running back and forth to the UN for the 54th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In this issue of GJCNews, we want to share with you our staff's stories from those amazing two weeks and introduce you to some of the incredible women leaders we look forward to collaborating with as we continue to use the law to enforce the rights of women around the world.

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July News Update: Human Rights in Iran

 "Human rights is universal - it equally applies to all human beings and it is the collective wisdom of all faiths, religions and peoples." -Shirin Ebadi, San Francisco Jewish Communtiy Center, May 18, 2009

When Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi spoke these words "in conversation" with GJC President Janet Benshoof on May 18th, the packed auditorium at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco broke into applause. It was a historic and profound evening, as these two legal pioneers explored topics ranging from how Iranian feminists in the lead-up to the elections forced candidates to talk about human rights and equality and the important role international law has and must play in enforcing equality and universal human rights.

Much has happened in Iran since this remarkable evening, but the principles that were discussed remain unchanged. The day before the elections in Iran, Dr. Ebadi wrote in a Washington Post editorial that "the true mark of success in Iran will be an election that follows due process...a healthy, functioning and fair legal system is the people's long-term guarantee for greater human rights." As we now know, the Iranian election and the government's response in the following days and weeks regrettably did not follow this ideal.

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The Global Justice Center Announces the Establishment of the Michael Sandler Fund for Global Justice, in honor of Founding Board Chair Michael Sandler

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - May 8,  2009

[NEW YORK, NY] - The Global Justice Center proudly announces the establishment of the Michael Sandler Fund for Global Justice.  Michael Sandler was the Founding Board Chair of the Global Justice Center and gave $650,000 to support pre-founding pilot projects and the initial start up funding to the Center. In just three years, his investment promoted gender justice and the highest global legal standards for equality.  The fund seeks to honor his lifetime commitment to social justice issues by matching the $650,000 that he gave to the Global Justice Center in the last years of his life.

International Human Rights Group Lambastes New Burma Constitution for Giving Junta officers Amnesty for Rape and other Crimes and Disenfranchising Women from Forever Holding Top Government Offices; Urges the United Nations to Reject Junta’s CEDAW Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -October 24, 2008

[NEW YORK, NY] – On Monday October 27, 2008, the 42nd session of the CEDAW Committee (the enforcement body for the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) will meet in Geneva to question representatives from Myanmar/Burma on the junta’s compliance with CEDAW, which they ratified July 22, 1997.

July News Update: GJC Updates

In less than three years, the Global Justice Center has dramatically expanded the scope and influence of its programs. This summer we've been on the move and taking our work to a whole new level! We just relocated to a new office that will provide work and research space for our growing staff and allow us to host interns, colleagues and researchers from around the world.

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EU RESOLUTION URGES UK TO USE PRESIDENCY OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL TO REFER BURMA TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -May 27, 2008

[NEW YORK, NY] – The United Kingdom should follow the recommendation of the Parliament of the European Union and use thepresidency of the UN Security Council to press for justice and accountability for the people of Burma by referring Senior General Than Shwe and his military regime to the International Criminal Court. The denial of humanitarian aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis should serve as a wake-up call to the international community to the brutality and indifference of a military regime that for four decades has systematically used torture, gang rape of ethnic women, slavery, murder, mass imprisonment, and child soldiers to consolidate its power.

Catastrophe in Burma a Wake Up Call to the International Community: Time to End Impunity for Heinous Crimes by the Military Regime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -May 22, 2008

[NEW YORK, NY] – Senior General Than Shwe’s denial of international humanitarian aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis should come as no surprise to the international community. This negligence and refusal of access is part and parcel of the criminal nature of the regime and reflects their fear that the entire world will see first hand the results of decades of systematic human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Today, the Parliament of the European Union made an important statement in the Joint Motion for Resolution on the tragic situation in Burma and recognized that those responsible for the crimes committed in Burma should be brought before the International Criminal Court. We applaud this step forward, however, any referral to the International Criminal Court must include the on-going use of torture, gang rape of ethnic women, forced labour, murder, mass imprisonment, and abduction of children to fill military quotas.

April News Update: Criminal Accountability in Burma

As we were finishing this month's e-news on criminal accountability in Burma, we were saddened and shocked to hear of the catastrophic cyclone that hit the country this past weekend. The Global Justice Center first wants to extend our deepest sympathy to the people of Burma who have been impacted by the cyclone.

This devastating event has increased immeasurably the suffering of people who were already in dire circumstances and now must struggle to find clean water, food and rebuild their homes and lives. Although information is still coming out, estimates are now reaching 100,000 dead and over a million homeless, making this natural disaster second only to the 2004 tsunami that devastated the region. There are now concerns that the military regime is not permitting international aid agencies full access inside Burma to deliver aid and help the cyclone victims.

Photo: Paul Arps / CC BY 2.0

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The Global Justice Center regretfully announces the passing of Board President, Michael Sandler. The position of Interim Board President will be filled by Anne Firth Murray, Stanford professor, human rights expert, and Founding President of the Global Fun

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -February 5, 2008

[NEW YORK, NY] – Michael Sandler, Board President of the Global Justice Center, died this past Saturday. He was the founding President of the Board and he will be missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. 

February News Update: Why We Need More Women in Government

In commemoration of the 52P ndP Session of the Commission on the Status of Women’s Review Theme: Women’s Equal Participation in Conflict Prevention, Management and Conflict Resolution and in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, we take this opportunity to highlight our work for the women victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.

Last November, we launched the Special Initiative on Gender, Non-Impunity and International Law (SIGNAL) project in Colombia. SIGNAL’s mission is to advance gender parity through the use of international law as well as regional and domestic legal tools as part of a larger discourse and analysis of the Justice and Peace Law of 2005 (JPL) passed in Colombia. The SIGNAL legal team, headed by Special Counsel Zulma Miranda, provides analysis and legal expertise on the ground in Colombia to insure that the JPL and other transitional justice processes are implemented in conformance with international laws requiring gender equality and set standards on gender crimes. Using international legal mandates that address gender issues, such as the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the InterAmerican Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women “Convention of Belem do Para”, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Rights of Child, the Torture and Genocide Conventions, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the jurisprudence of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), SIGNAL will facilitate the use of a gender perspective in the changing dialogue on conflict resolution and demobilization processes in Colombia.

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November News Update: Reflecting on SCR 1325

October 31st marked the seventh anniversary of the unanimous passage of Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. SCR 1325 mandates the inclusion of women in all aspects of decision making in conflict prevention, resolution and reconstruction as well as protection of women in situations of conflict and ending impunity for those crimes. Despite some progress, seven years after its implementation much more is needed to ensure that the requirements set forth in SCR 1325 are fully achieved. The GJC continues to push for greater recognition of SCR 1325 as legally binding and thus a means for enforcement of women’s right to participate in all decision making processes as well as to redress and assure accountability for crimes perpetrated against them. 

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October News Update: The Fight for Justice in Burma Continues

September has obviously been a time of great turmoil, as we dealt with the slow leaks of news, the horrific pictures of atrocity and the deafening silence of the military crackdown in Burma. GJC has the fortune of having a Burmese woman working in our office and during the first few days of the crisis, she was able to speak to some people on the phone in Burma and she read all the Burmese blogs. As the junta cut off cell phones and internet access, her ability to get information from inside Burma was severely, and then totally, curtailed.

Due to our recent trip to Thailand, where GJC staff met with the Burma Lawyer's Council, we are in a position to offer an informed opinion on aspects of this recent crisis. On September 29th, GJC and the BLC issued a joint press release calling for criminal accountability for members of the SPDC cabal. Following the issuance of the press release, on September 28th, GJC president Janet Benshoof was invited to speak on BBC "News 24" during their 8pm program. Additionally, The Nation, South East Asia's English language 'paper of record' printed our press release in full.

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September News Update: What's Happening in Burma?

As many of you may have noticed, Burma has made its way to the international news media as a result of ongoing protests inside the country over the past few weeks. These protests, many of which have been initiated by the 1988 Generation Student Group, have resulted in arrests by the military regime for allegedly undermining the stability and security of the country. The recent protests are the most significant since the 1988 uprising and the military regime continues to respond with brutality and a complete disregard for human life, as it has done for the past 20 years. The Global Justice Center is pleased with the news coverage about these protests and other attention recently focused on Burma, and we are working to take this opportunity to also raise awareness about the ongoing heinous crimes committed by the criminal regime.

The Burmese junta is the longest running military dictatorship in the world. For the first time since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the International Red Cross departed from its customary neutrality and released a report detailing the gross level of abuse in Burma and the impossibility of working with the regime. As the 2008 Olympics approaches, many have called on China to withdraw its investments from Sudan. As a result of this joint effort, China responded by sending a diplomatic envoy to Sudan leading to Al-Bashirs agreement to allow U.N. Peacekeeping forces to enter Darfur. Similarly, at the beginning of August, a group of U.S. Representatives introduced House Resolution 610 calling for the United States to take immediate steps to boycott the Beijing Olympic games "unless the Chinese regime stops engaging in serious human rights abuses against its citizens and stops supporting serious human rights abuses by the Governments of Sudan, Burma, and North Korea against their citizens." The current efforts by the global community strongly indicate that it is time that we demand accountability for the crimes committed by the military regime in Burma.

Photo: Robert Coles / CC BY 2.0

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Janet Benshoof Addresses the Women’s Bar Association Gala in Boston, MA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -October 17, 2096

[NEW YORK, NY] – Janet Benshoof, Director and Founder of New York-based NGO Global Justice Center, presented the keynote address at the Women’s Bar Association (WBA) Gala on October 17, 2006.  Approximately 1000 members of the legal community attended the event held at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.

June News Update: Iraqis Push to Prosecute Rape in War Crime Trials

Women are lobbying the Iraqi tribunal--the court trying the war crimes of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime--to prosecute crimes against women. Iraqi women involved in the effort are concealing their identities out of fear of retribution.

(WOMENSENEWS)--A prominent women's group in Iraq, along with advocates of international law in the United States, are beginning to demand justice for thousands of Iraqi women who suffered under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

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