The Risk of Mass Atrocities During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a great threat to populations already at risk of genocide and crimes against humanity at the hands of their governments. The pandemic may be weaponized by authoritarian states as an opportunity to commit mass atrocities while attention is elsewhere or to deny certain populations their right to health.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will host a conversation on the prevention of mass atrocities during the pandemic, to coincide with the August 25 anniversary of attacks by Myanmar security forces on Rohingya Muslim residents in northern Rakhine state, driving hundreds of thousands to live as refugees in neighboring Bangladesh.

Yee Htun, JD is a lecturer on law and clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. She fled Myanmar in 1988.

Akila Radhakrishnan, JD is president of the Global Justice Center, which works to define, establish, and protect human rights and gender equity by enforcing international laws.

Lawrence Woocher, MA is research director at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center and a lecturer at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He formerly served as senior atrocity prevention fellow with the United States Agency for International Development.

Atlas Webinar Series: Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes

A conversation with Jennifer Trahan, Clinical Professor at NYU Center for Global Affairs, Moderated by Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center.

Trahan's book demonstrates how vetoes and veto threats have blocked the Security Council from pursuing measures that could have prevented or alleviated atrocity crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes) in places such as Myanmar, Darfur, Syria, and elsewhere and explores how the legality of this practice could be challenged

Justice for the Rohingya: The Role of Canada

Honourable Marilou McPhedran, Independent Senator, Parliament of Canada
Her Excellency Jacqueline O’Neill, Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security, Canada
Honourable Bob Rae, Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues, appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada
Prof. Payam Akhavan, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague; Faculty of Law, McGill University; Counsel for The Gambia at the ICJ in the case of The Gambia v. Myanmar
Prof. Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (May 2014 to 30 April 2020)
Prof. Susan Breau, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Canada
Prof. Christine Chinkin, Emerita Professor of International Law, London School of Economics, UK
Prof. Victor V. Ramraj, Faculty of Law and Director, Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives, University of Victoria, Canada
Prof. John Packer, Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) & Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution, University of Ottawa, Canada
Ms. Razia Sultana, Chairperson, Rohingya Women’s Welfare Society, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
Ms. Wai Wai Nu, Rohingya/Burmese founder, Women’s Peace Network, Yangon, Myanmar
Ms. Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Center, New York, USA
Ms. Mavic Cabrera Balleza, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, New York, USA

The ICJ provisional measures: Is Myanmar protecting the Rohingya from genocide?

On 23 January 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures ordering Myanmar to take certain actions to protect the Rohingya from genocide and preserve evidence of genocidal acts. Recognizing the extraordinary urgency and importance of the measures ordered, the ICJ asked Myanmar to submit a report on its compliance with the order on 23 May and then every 6 months thereafter until the case is decided. While Myanmar has taken some steps since the ICJ’s January order, none touch on the long-standing structural discrimination against the Rohingya or provide a basis for safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation. Even against a backdrop of escalating conflict in Rakhine State and a global pandemic, there is much more Myanmar could do to protect the Rohingya. With Myanmar’s first report to the court due on 23 May, this Webinar will analyze the current situation in the country and explore concrete ways the authorities could effectively comply with the ICJ’s order.

Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Center

Yanghee Lee,
former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Laetitia Van Den Assum, Independent diplomatic expert, former member of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Kofi Annan, and former ambassador of The Netherlands to the United Kingdom, Mexico, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, and Southeast Asia
Wai Wai Nu, Founder and Director, Women’s Peace Network

The Commission on Unalienable Rights: A U.S. Assault on Human Rights

While the devastating impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the health and rights of millions, it is important that we stay vigilant in monitoring and addressing the Trump administration's attacks on the global human rights agenda. This Zoom webinar will discuss the work of the Commission on Unalienable Rights, announced by Secretary of State Pompeo last year, a panel he said was aimed at providing "fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation's founding principles of natural law and natural rights."  The Commission is mostly made up of individuals who have taken extreme anti- LGBTQ-rights, anti-reproductive rights positions, and is set up to narrow the scope of U.S. human rights advocacy, with religious freedom prioritized over other rights, potentially undermining human rights protections for some of the most vulnerable people across the globe. Its compliance with the federal law governing such outside advisory committees has also been called into question in a lawsuit brought by Democracy Forward on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, CHANGE, the Council for Global Equality, and Global Justice Center.

Kerry Kennedy
, President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Rob Berschinski
, Senior Vice President, Policy, Human Rights First
Mark Bromley
, Council Chair, Council for Global Equality
Serra Sippel
, President, CHANGE
Molly Bangs
, Research Associate, Equity Forward 
Ben Seel
, Counsel and Legal Analyst, Democracy Forward
Rabbi Michael Rothbaum
, Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton, Massachusetts

Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Center