GJC in the News

Rescinding the Global Gag Rule Isn’t Enough

Excerpt of Foreign Policy op-ed by GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan and CHANGE President Serra Sippel.

Over the past four years, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has abandoned even the pretense of a foreign policy grounded in respect for women’s rights and reproductive rights. Perhaps the clearest example was Trump’s unprecedented expansion of the global gag rule, or the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (formerly known as the Mexico City policy). The global gag rule blocks U.S. funding for foreign organizations that provide any services, referrals, or even information for legal abortions, or that advocate for changes to abortion laws in their country. First implemented by the Reagan administration in 1984, the policy has been enforced during all subsequent Republican administrations. Before Trump reinstated it, it applied only to family planning funding. But since 2017, it has been extended to all global health funding.

Today, the gag rule places restrictions on $8 billion of U.S. global health funding, and it’s had grave consequences for women worldwide: As a direct result of the policy’s design to cut funding to healthcare providers, it has led to more maternal deaths and unsafe abortions, a rise in HIV and AIDS, and the breakdown of civil society coalitions and partnerships, such as Marie Stopes International.

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The Great Regression

Excerpt of International Bar Association article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Further, President Trump was successful in securing a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come by appointing Justice Amy Coney Barrett after the death of the Court’s stalwart defender of women’s rights, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center, is concerned that such a politically biased Supreme Court could spell disaster for many rights that were already on tenterhooks. ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t look like it’s going to stand up for women’s rights anymore. And that’s terrifying,’ she says.

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It’s Time We Talk About Gender-Based Violence Against Hong Kong Protestors

Excerpt of Women's Media Center op-ed by GJC intern Hannah Kohn .

Since February 2019, the mass demonstrations roiling Hong Kong have been consistently met with police brutality. But sexual and gender-based violence has flown under the radar in most mainstream coverage of the protests. It is time for the international community to heed the call of Hong Kong-based activists and hold the government to account for this human rights crisis.

The unrest began when Hong Kong’s government proposed legislation that would allow extraditions to mainland China, which critics argue would allow for anyone in the city to be picked up and detained — including political activists — and essentially erode Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland.

Shortly thereafter, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens (in some cases almost 2 million) took to the streets to protest. The government responded to these largely peaceful protests with widespread, severe police brutality. As a consequence of the government’s disproportionate response, the protests blossomed from the narrow goal of opposing the extradition bill into much wider demandsfor police accountability and democracy.

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Trump’s last Human Rights Week

Excerpt of Public Radio International segment featuring GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

As he has in years past, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation honoring this week as Human Rights Week. As The World's Rupa Shenoy reports, the proclamation was the final salvo in a four-year campaign by Evangelicals in the Trump administration to narrow the definition of human rights in a way that has angered many human rights activists.

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Myanmar ignoring Rohingya genocide trial measures: activists

Excerpt of AFP article that quotes GJC Legal Director Grant Shubin.

Rights groups have condemned the almost absolute exclusion of Rohingya from voting in November's election and their continued vilification as illegal interlopers.

"Myanmar has done nothing to address the root causes of discrimination and impunity that give rise to the ongoing risk of genocide against the Rohingya," said Global Justice Center legal director Grant Shubin.

The Rohingya crisis has left the international reputation of Myanmar and Suu Kyi in tatters.

The UN General Assembly last week voted overwhelmingly for a draft resolution expressing "grave concern" over serious rights violations against the Rohingya, a decision Myanmar blasted as "intrusive" and "illegitimate".

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