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Global Justice Center Blog

Call for Urgent Debate on the women’s rights crisis in Afghanistan at the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Excellencies,

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, urge you to call for and support an urgent debate at the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council regarding the women’s rights crisis in Afghanistan. We further urge you to support a resolution responding to this crisis.

Since August 2021, when the Taliban took control of the country, there has been an enormous deterioration in the recognition and protection of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, including with respect to the rights to non-discrimination, education, work, public participation, health, and sexual and reproductive health. The Taliban has also imposed sweeping restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement for women and girls. Afghanistan is now the only country in the world to expressly prohibit girls’ education.

In the last few weeks, the situation has worsened dramatically, with a Taliban directive that women and girls must fully cover themselves in public, including their faces, and leave home only in cases of necessity. International investigations, witness testimony and video evidence indicate that women human rights defenders and others protesting against the restrictions and violations have been subject to home invasions, threats, abductions, enforced disappearances, and assaults with electric devices and chemical sprays.

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The Fight to Secure U.S. Abortion Rights Is Global

Excerpt of Ms. Magazine Op-Ed authored by GJC Special Counsel Michelle Onello and GJC Legal Advisor Elean Sarver.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stands to unleash devastating rollbacks on abortion across the United States, while also bringing domestic policy more in line with foreign policy. For decades, international aid restrictions have made abortion inaccessible abroad, resulting in significant harm—including death. While the forthcoming decision, and its catastrophic fallout, is not likely to have an immediate global impact, it will undercut efforts to remove these restrictions and embolden the anti-abortion lobby to further instrumentalize U.S. foreign policy to promote its ideology.

A central U.S global abortion restriction, the Helms Amendment has prohibited the use of foreign assistance for the performance of abortion “as a method of family planning” for nearly 50 years. The Helms Amendment has overridden national legislation in countries receiving aid and been over-implemented as a total ban on abortion, ignoring congressionally permitted exceptions in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. It’s also disregarded a clarification, known as the Leahy Amendment, that permits information and counseling about abortion.

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Justice for Ongoing Rohingya Genocide


The seminar coincides with the six months reporting deadline of Myanmar to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Gambia v. Myanmar Rohingya Genocide. BROUK will also publish its own report to show the real situation on the ground in Rakhine State, and how the genocide of the Rohingya is ongoing.

Moderator:

AKILA RADHAKRISHNAN is the President of the Global Justice Center (GJC). She directs GJC’s strategies and efforts to establish legal precedents protecting human rights and ensuring gender equality.

Speakers:

NAOMI KIKOLER is the director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. As the Center’s deputy director she led Center’s policy engagement with the United States government and work on Bearing Witness countries, including undertaking the documentation of the commission of genocide by ISIS.

ZOYA PHAN is Campaigns Manager at the advocacy organisation Burma Campaign UK, and co-founder of the charity, Phan Foundation.

TUN KHIN is an ethnic Rohingya Muslim from Arakan (Rakhine) State in Myanmar, the President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) and a prominent activist for the Rohingya people.

TOMAS QUINTANA, Argentinian lawyer and lead counsel in the current Universal Jurisdiction case pending in Argentina; UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in North Korea and former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar.

IAWL Leadership Academy: Taking the Leap from Local to Global

 

Globalization has increased opportunities to work at the international level. The transition from working at the local level to the global level is fraught with many challenges and success stories. This panel is made up of women who against the odds are representing their countries on the global level and making an impact.

Moderated by Melene Rossouw, our panel comprises of: Naa Adoley Azu, Angela Mudukuti, and Tafadzwa Pasipanodya.

Abortion: Ireland’s past is America’s future

Excerpt of The Hill Op-Ed authored by GJC Legal Director Dr. Christine Ryan.

This month, four years ago, media from across the globe descended on the courtyard of Dublin Castle. They traveled to capture the scene of thousands of Irish people celebrating the results of the Irish abortion referendum. A landslide majority had “repealed the 8th” and voted to change the country’s constitution to enable legal recognition of abortion rights for the first time in the state’s history. Generations of families cheered and cried together while politicians from warring parties embraced. Viewers abroad marveled at the displays of pride, rapture, and even love.   

To understand why the referendum result in Ireland prompted such outpourings is to understand the full meaning of the right to abortion. On the one hand, the right ensures that women and pregnant people of reproductive age can terminate unwanted or unsafe pregnancies without legal sanction. On the other, it signifies state recognition that women are equal agents in their societies, deserving of respect for their life choices. The right upends the assumptions that coerce women into predefined gender roles and rejects the seemingly immortal ideologies that accord women a lesser status. It demands that society trust women and that the law affirms their dignity and autonomy.

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