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Global Justice Center Blog

Outcomes from Strategizing a New Response to the Crisis in Myanmar

BACKGROUND 

On October 27, 2022, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Justice Center convened a private roundtable discussion with international and Myanmar civil society representatives. Participants sought to strategize a new, multidimensional response to the crisis in Myanmar to inform advocacy and legal strategies. While the conversation touched upon a range of issues, discussion focused on the topics of: (1) elections; (2) creating an inclusive Myanmar; (3) justice and accountability; and (4) sanctions and arms. This discussion also incorporated aspects of an AJC-sponsored regional meeting on October 3 that explored similar issues. The following is a reflection of key themes, points, and recommendations from the roundtable, which took place under Chatham House rule. 

ELECTIONS 

Participants discussed the military junta’s pursuit of elections, which are scheduled to be held in the summer of 2023 in accordance with the 2008 Constitution. With the election date fast approaching, civil society will need to act quickly to counter the junta.

A key discussion concerned the necessary messaging from civil society to explain to the international community the risks associated with legitimizing any elections run by the military. Undoubtedly, any elections held by the junta in the present circumstances will be neither free nor fair, and participants reflected that the military is using elections as an “off-ramp” to gain international legitimacy after its less-than-successful coup. Holding sham elections to legitimize its power and priorities is not a new strategy for the junta, as seen in previous instances including the 2008 constitutional referendum in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, as well as the 2010 general election. Notably, the junta does not have effective control over the entire territory of Myanmar, with the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) controlling about half the country, especially in rural areas, inhibiting the junta’s ability to hold elections in many parts of the country. One area of difficulty for some actors in the international community is the fact that as the National Unity Government (NUG) and National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) continue their work to solidify their footing, for some states, they do not present a clear alternative to the junta; as such, the elections, even if flawed, are seen as progress in a seemingly intractable situation. Overall, participants agreed that junta-run elections are not a solution to the current crisis; in fact, they will likely lead to increased tension and violence, and an increased risk of atrocity crimes in the country. 

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The Global Justice Center Marks Two Years Since the Military Coup in Myanmar

NEW YORK — The Global Justice Center today joins human rights organizations around the world by standing in solidarity with the people of Myanmar on the second anniversary of a coup carried out by the country’s military.

Since the military junta assumed power on February 1, 2021, it has executed a campaign of violence and persecution across the country to silence opposition and subjugate the population. Reports of the most serious international crimes, including political executions, arbitrary detention, and sexual violence, have become routine.

Despite an international response that has included bi-lateral sanctions and condemnation, the military junta shows no signs of relinquishing power.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“We stand in solidarity today with everyone struggling to survive in a Myanmar riven by military violence and domination. As we mark the anniversary of the junta’s brazen seizure of power, it’s critical we reflect on the international community’s myriad failures in response to a crisis that remains as urgent today as it was two years ago.

“Local women’s rights activists that have spent decades fighting for human rights in Myanmar tell us that they are exhausted. The cycle of relentless military violence and subsequent international inaction has left them increasingly doubtful that the world will live up to its legal and moral duty to act. Meanwhile, the military, emboldened by the international community’s failures, is preparing to solidify their rule with a charade they are calling an election.

“Despite this dire state of affairs, it is never too late for the international community to learn from its mistakes. The UN Security Council could follow its recent and first-ever resolution on Myanmar with a comprehensive and ongoing plan of action that includes measures like a global arms embargo and a referral to the International Criminal Court. Donors could scale up cross-border humanitarian assistance. It’s time we all make the prevention of a third year of military rule a global priority.”

The Global Justice Center Marks the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

NEW YORK  — The Global Justice Center today joins abortion rights advocates across the United States by commemorating the 50-year anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion.

Today’s anniversary comes just months after Roe was overturned in June 2022 by the Supreme Court. This ruling was the culmination of decades of work by the anti-abortion movement that began immediately after Roe was decided in January 1973.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“We join all of our allies in the struggle for abortion rights today in mourning the end of Roe v. Wade on its 50th anniversary. Everyone in the United States owes a great debt to the 1973 ruling and the movement responsible for it. But, of course, Roe was always the floor, not the ceiling. Millions, particularly marginalized populations, were denied access to abortion in the decades that followed.

“Thanks to the anti-abortion movement that mobilized immediately after Roe, the story of abortion access in the United States since 1973 has been one of steady regression. Increasingly severe restrictions on abortion care, both at the state level and nationally, were imposed and upheld by courts over the intervening decades. The promise of Roe was denied to entire generations.

“Now is the time to build a new, inclusive foundation for abortion access grounded in universal human rights. From Ireland to Columbia, many countries around the world are beginning to do just that. The United States can join them and create a world where bodily autonomy is a lived reality for all.”

Abortion Storytelling with GJC

To mark 50 years since the Roe v. Wade ruling that established abortion rights in the United States, our president sat down with one of our board members to discuss their personal experience with abortion and how it impacts their work.

Following in the footsteps of organizations like We Testify as well as countless pregnant people over the decades, we engage with abortion storytelling as a powerful counter against attempts to stigmatize our fundamental human right to abortion access. Featuring: Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Center Shannon Raj Singh, Board Member, Global Justice Center.