Letter to UN Security Council members regarding Myanmar’s Independent Commission of Enquiry and the Provisional Measures ordered by the International Court of Justice

Your Excellency,

We are writing to you in light of the recently published summary of the final report of Myanmar’s Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE), which was issued the same week that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Myanmar to take immediate action to prevent genocide against the country’s persecuted Rohingya minority. In particular, we would like to raise grave concerns regarding the ICOE’s: (1) independence and impartiality; (2) methodology; and (3) flaws in narrative and findings.

The ICOE’s independence and impartiality have been seriously undermined by its reliance on the Office of the President of Myanmar for financial and technical support, as well as by the composition of the Commission itself, which includes at least one official directly implicated in the bulldozing of Rohingya villages damaged during the 2017 crisis in Rakhine State. The executive summary of the ICOE’s report also provides no information as to what sources and materials were relied upon beyond individual interviews, nor how the ICOE corroborated and verified this information, making it impossible to assess the quality of their methodology. Crucially, the ICOE did not interview a single Rohingya refugee in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, regarding the circumstances that resulted in over 700,000 people fleeing the country. Finally, there are serious flaws and misrepresentations in the ICOE’s narrative of the crisis in Rakhine State, including disturbing inaccuracies and omissions in relation to mass rape and widespread sexual violence directed at Rohingya women and girls during the military’s so-called “clearance operations.”

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Sign-on letter against State Dept's pregnancy and racial profiling rule

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We, the undersigned ​XX​ organizations, demand that you rescind the final regulation published Friday, January 24, 2020, in the Federal Register, Visas: Temporary Visas for Business or Pleasure, RIN: 1400-AE96. This regulation is an attack against immigrant women, particularly those of color, and with low incomes. The Department of State (“Department”) justifies these changes to temporary visas in the name of national security, when in reality they are thinly veiled racist and xenophobic attacks on the health, dignity, and well-being of immigrant women of color and their families. The consequences of this regulation will only stoke fear and confusion in immigrant communities who are already subject to the brutal whims of an administration that embraces blatantly discriminatory policies against immigrants and people of color.

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Sign-on letter condemning Trump-Pence administration's treatment of migrants at border detention camps

(Washington, DC) – As advocates for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice, our vision of the world is built upon dismantling systems of power and oppression. We recognize that our work does not occur in a vacuum and must respond to injustices happening right now and, in particular, the humanitarian crisis at the United States’ southern border. This administration has cruelly separated thousands of migrant children and families, deported hundreds of parents without their children, abused migrant children in detention, and failed to reunite these families. As organizations, and as humans, we cannot live out our values if we remain silent on these atrocities.

We condemn the separation of families and the detention of children and families. We condemn the inhumane conditions of these border camps. We condemn the Trump-Pence administration’s callous, cruel policies and rhetoric. We condemn those in power who would rather stay silent or debate semantics while migrant families continue to die.

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Access to Contraception for Military Servicemembers

Dear Chairman Smith:

As organizations committed to protecting and improving reproductive health and rights, we write in support of the amendments offered by Representative Speier to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act that would ensure that non-active duty servicemembers and military dependents have access to copay-free birth control, ensure access to emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault, and improve family planning education for servicemembers. These amendments would ensure that all servicemembers and their dependents who rely on the military for health care have improved access to comprehensive contraceptive coverage and family planning care.

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Open letter to SG for a credible list

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We are writing regarding your annual report on children and armed conflict and its annexes. As a diverse group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working on alleviating humanitarian suffering and protecting human rights, we strongly support the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1612 Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM). As a key tool for gathering timely, accurate, and credible information on grave violations of children’s rights, the MRM plays a vital role in informing the work of the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict, as well as your annual list of child rights violators. The listing process serves as a foundation for the United Nations to engage with parties to conflict, secure concrete commitments through UN action plans, and create real change for children affected by war.

In order to preserve the integrity of the children and armed conflict agenda, we urge you to publish a complete and accurate list of perpetrators in your upcoming annual report.

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Coalition Sign-On Letter for House "Born Alive" Amendment

Dear Representatives,

We, the undersigned reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, write in strong opposition to any attempts to interfere with evidence-based patient care and medical practice, such as the amendment Rep. Scalise filed with the Rules Committee to amend H.R. 986. S

The potential House vote is the latest in a series of anti-choice political stunts that are clearly intended to capitalize on the false and inflammatory rhetoric surrounding abortion later in pregnancy. President Trump used his bully pulpit to spread misinformation, shame women who need abortion care later in pregnancy, and attack healthcare providers committed to providing their patients with quality, evidence-based health care when they are making the most difficult decisions. Women and families in these situations deserve our compassion and support – not our judgment and certainly not politicians telling them what to do.

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Coallition Letter Opposing the Nomination of Robert Destro for Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Dear Chairman Risch, Ranking Member Menendez, and Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:

We, the undersigned __ human rights and civil society organizations, write to express grave concerns about Professor Robert A. Destro, nominated by President Trump on January 16, 2019, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. If confirmed, Prof. Destro would head the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) which leads U.S. government efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally. Prof. Destro’s record evinces a strong hostility to the health and human rights of women, girls, and LGBTI individuals. We do not believe that a nominee with this record should be confirmed to lead the State Department’s Bureau dedicated to protecting, defending, and promoting the human rights of all persons around the world, especially members of vulnerable communities like women, girls, and LGBTI persons. We strongly urge you to oppose his confirmation based the clear conflict between his record and the Bureau’s mission.

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NGO Joint Letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Excellency,

We write to welcome your initiative to review United Nations operations in Myanmar, and to strongly urge you ensure that the review is open, transparent and that its findings and recommendations are made public. Given the gravity of the abuses in Myanmar, the review offers an important opportunity to establish “whether everything possible to prevent or mitigate the unfolding crises was done, identifying lessons learned and good practices, making recommendations as appropriate, including on accountability, and enabling more effective work in the future”, as recommended by the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.1

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Sign On Letter Opposing the Nomination of Robert Destro to be Asst Sec State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Dear Chairman Risch, Ranking Member Menendez, and Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:

We, the undersigned __ human rights and civil society organizations, write to express grave concerns about Professor Robert A. Destro, nominated by President Trump on January 16, 2019, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. If confirmed, Prof. Destro would head the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) which leads U.S. government efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally. Prof. Destro’s record evinces a strong hostility to the health and human rights of women, girls, and LGBTI individuals. We do not believe that a nominee with this record should be confirmed to lead the State Department’s Bureau dedicated to protecting, defending, and promoting the human rights of all persons around the world, especially members of vulnerable communities like women, girls, and LGBTI persons. We strongly urge you to oppose his confirmation based the clear conflict between his record and the Bureau’s mission.

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Family Planning Coalition letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor-HHS for FY 2020 appropriations for Title X

Chairwoman DeLauro, Ranking Member Cole, and Subcommittee Members:

The undersigned organizations collectively represent millions of providers, patients, administrators, researchers, and advocates who support robust federal funding of the Title X family planning program, which helps ensure that millions of individuals can obtain high-quality sexual and reproductive health services. We are deeply concerned by the administration’s continued attacks on the integrity of the Title X program, as demonstrated by the devastating rule finalized by the administration this month.

We urge Congress to use the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill to make a strong statement in support of Title X’s high-quality, evidence-based, and patient-centered family planning care by funding the program at $400 million.

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Letter to the CEDAW Committee: Supplementary information to Myanmar’s Report on an exceptional basis, scheduled for review by the CEDAW Committee at its 72nd Session

Dear Committee Members,

This letter supplements and responds to particularly concerning sections of the 6 February 2019 Exceptional Report submitted by Myanmar, which is scheduled for review by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“Committee”) on February 22, 2019 during its 72nd Session.

It is the view of the undersigned organizations that Myanmar’s submission raises serious doubts as to its willingness and ability to effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes committed against the Rohingya, especially sexual and gender-based violence. Myanmar’s blanket denials that such crimes occurred and the answers presented in the report underscore not only that accountability will have to be achieved on the international level or before other domestic authorities, but also that there is a real risk of Myanmar aiming to discredit or jeopardize such accountability efforts. In addition to these overarching concerns, we seek to bring the Committee’s attention to two major areas of concern: (1) Myanmar’s refusal to acknowledge or accept responsibility for conflict, human rights abuses, and displacement; and (2) Myanmar’s inability and lack of will to meaningfully investigate and hold those responsible accountable.

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Letter to HHS: Comments in Response to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020

Dear Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma:

The Global Justice Center (“GJC”) submits this comment in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) Proposed Rule entitled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020 (the “Proposed Rule”).  For purposes of this submission, commentary is limited to the portion of the Proposed Rule that would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) so that private insurance providers that provide abortion services would be required to offer a version of the plan which does not cover abortion services.

GJC is an international human rights organization based in New York dedicated to achieving gender equality through the rule of law. For the past decade, GJC has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the law protects and promotes access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health rights for women and girls around the world. As experts in women’s rights and human rights, we write to express our vehement opposition to the Proposed Rule.

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Global HER Act Organizational Endorsement

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, regulation, or policy, in determining eligibility for assistance authorized under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), foreign nongovernmental organizations—

(1) shall not be ineligible for such assistance solely on the basis of health or medical services, including counseling and referral services, provided by such organizations with non-United States Government funds if such services do not violate the laws of the country in which they are being provided and would not violate United States Federal law if provided in the United States; and

(2) shall not be subject to requirements relating to the use of non-United States Government funds for advocacy and lobbying activities other than those that apply to United States nongovernmental organizations receiving assistance under part I of such Act.

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Senate 109 Coverage Ban

As organizations committed to advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice we believe each of us should be able to make decisions about abortion with dignity and respect, and without politicians interfering. We oppose S. 109, legislation to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and impose burdensome regulations designed to disincentivize insurers from providing abortion coverage. We know that the people disproportionately affected by policies like these are women of color, young people, and LGBTQ communities. We boldly envision a future where our families can thrive, which includes each of us making our own decisions about pregnancy and parenting, however much money we make or how we get our insurance. That means whether someone has private or government-funded health insurance, each of us should have coverage for a full range of pregnancy-related care, including abortion

S. 109 is drafted to achieve anti-abortion politicians’ goal of eliminating abortion coverage. First, this bill would make the Hyde amendment, an annual appropriations rider, permanent. S. 109 also penalizes individuals who seek private plans that cover abortion by denying consumer tax credits if they purchase plans that cover abortion care. This provision not only penalizes consumers, but would lead to insurers not offering plans that include abortion coverage. Additionally, small businesses would be denied tax credits if they decide to offer plans to their employees that include comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion.

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Repro Community Opposition Letter to William Barr for Attorney General Sign-On Letter

Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein,

We write on behalf of XX reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in unified opposition to the nomination of William Barr for the role of the United States Attorney General.  Given his long and explicit record of opposition to reproductive rights and his alignment with extreme anti-abortion organizations, we strongly believe that former Attorney General Barr does not possess the ability to fairly oversee the Department of Justice and meet its obligations to protect reproductive health care rights and access without prejudice.

The mission of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice” as the chief enforcer of our nation’s laws.   With this great responsibility, the DOJ plays a critical role in our nation’s ongoing progress by defending and enforcing existing federal laws that reflect the values and principles of our country. Those landmark policies that DOJ is entrusted with defending include the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the right to safe, legal abortion.  

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Sign-on Civil Society Letter to Sec. Pompeo Regarding Erasure of SRH

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

As U.S. organizations that promote health and human rights in U.S. foreign policy, we write to express strong opposition to any attempts by the United States Department of State to censor U.S. diplomats, or any mission staff or partners. Any such effort would jeopardize global health while undermining decades of global consensus and progress.

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Sign-on letter: FY20 International FP/ RH OMB Request

Dear Director Mulvaney:
The undersigned 52 organizations, committed to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people around the world, write to urge the President to request that the FY 2020 budget include $1.66 billion for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programs, including $111 million for UNFPA, and reverse harmful policies that undermine these investments. Additional funds to support family planning and reproductive health programs ought to not come at the expense of other global health, development assistance, or humanitarian assistance programs.

We request $1.66 billion for Bilateral and Multilateral Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs provided from the Global Health Programs account, the Economic Support Fund and from the International Organizations and Programs account, including $111 million for UNFPA.

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Letter to The Honourable Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, "Re: Preliminary Examination into the Situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar"

Dear Prosecutor Bensouda,

The Global Justice Center writes to congratulate the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) on the decision to open a preliminary examination into the deportation of the Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Since impunity has long been the rule and not the exception in Myanmar, this examination offers a glimmer of hope that those who have long been oppressed by Myanmar’s military will see some measure of justice. We write to the OTP today with respect to three key issues related to this preliminary examination: (1) to emphasize the need to place the gendered experiences of these crimes at the center of the examination; (2) to urge the OTP to take a broad view to the crimes over which the International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction; and (3) to provide information with respect to any analysis of positive complementarity.

On the first point, we were pleased to attend a recent event with you at the UNGA in New York “Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-based Crimes at the International Criminal Court.” We applaud the OTP’s commitment to applying a gender analysis in all areas of its work, which has been reinforced by its strong policy on sexual and gender-based crimes. We agree that consideration of the complete nature of the crimes is necessary in order to ensure effective investigations and prosecutions. We urge that this be made a priority in the preliminary examination at hand.

Civil Society Sign-onLetter to Department of State re Human Rights Reports

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

As development of the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices begins, we are writing to raise our deep concern about significant changes in last year’s report, including the deletion of the reproductive rights subsection and limited reporting on prevalence and incidence of gender- based violence. The undersigned 97 civil society organizations call on the State Department to include robust reporting on the incidence and prevalence of gender-based violence and to reverse the decision to delete the reproductive rights subsection and ensure it is not repeated in the 2018 reports

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