Global Justice Center Blog

Civil society participation: 40 organisations call on the UN to make hybrid participation permanent

On 7 June 2023, in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, and the President of the Human Rights Council, HRCNet members, together with partner organisations, have requested that the hybrid modalities of participation at the Human Rights Council, Treaty Bodies and related mechanisms become a permanent tool for engagement of civil society organisations.

The undersigned organisations are writing to express their views on the issue of participation at the UN Human Rights Council, Treaty Bodies and related mechanisms in Geneva. They welcome the recent UN Secretary General’s agreement to maintain the current modalities for the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council as well as to maintain hybrid modalities for the 54th session, and stand ready to support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in ensuring these modalities become permanent.

For the past three years, the business continuity scheme has provided an opportunity for the Human Rights Council, its mechanisms, and the UN Treaty Bodies to strengthen their efforts and ensure the possibility of participation via live online interventions and pre-recorded videos, coupled with in-person participation, throughout the sessions of Geneva-based human rights mechanisms, as well as formal and informal meetings and side events.

Read the Full Letter

Progress, Resistance, and Silence on Gender Justice in the Draft Crimes Against Humanity Treaty

Excerpt of Just Security op-ed co-authored by GJC Legal Advisor Tess Graham.

In April, States took a significant step toward negotiating a specific treaty on crimes against humanity (CAH) after years of delay and procedural wrangling. If adopted, the proposed draft articles could close gaps in the architecture of international criminal and human rights law and provide a critical opportunity to advance gender justice – or regress to outdated ideas about  gender. The unprecedented week-long discussion at the United Nations offered a glimpse at the opportunities a treaty might hold to advance gender justice.

Across the five day “resumed session” of the U.N. General Assembly’s legal committee the theme of gender arose repeatedly, with many States indicating support for progressive provisions on gender-related elements of the draft articles. Others indicated a desire to revert to obsolete gender provisions, setting up potential battles over key issues. Contentious questions included whether to define “gender” within the treaty (or leave it undefined, like other treaty terms including “race” and “religion”); definitions of sexual and reproductive violations; and slavery-related crimes. States also missed some opportunities to engage on pivotal gender issues, but diplomats and civil society leaders will have additional openings to raise these issues over the coming months.

Read the Article

"Book of the Disappeared" - Chapter 9: Genocide of the Rohingya

Excerpt from Chapter 9 of "Book of the Disappeared: The Quest for Transnational Justice" from University of Michigan Press

Myanmar is a country composed of a majority (two-thirds) Burman (Bamar), largely Buddhist population and a minority comprising more than one hundred different ethnicities, with several major groups including Shan, Karen, Kachin, Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Rohingya, and Kayah. Many of these groups have “distinct cultures, languages, traditions, and sometimes religions” and “live mainly in the peripheral areas, near the borders with Bangladesh, China, India, and Thailand.” Among these populations more than one hundred languages are spoken. With respect to religion, some minorities are Buddhist along with the Burman majority and there are also groups of Christians, Hindus, and Muslims.

Against this diverse background, Myanmar’s military has a long history of violence, systematic discrimination, and policies of exclusion and marginalization. Out of unliteral power over the past decade, Myanmar’s military staged a coup in February 2021, jailing political opponents and asserting control over the country. As of this writing, the military faces immense opposition from Myanmar’s populace, who largely support the National Unity Government (NUG).

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Preventable Deaths in Cyclone Mocha and the Rohingya Genocide

Moderator: Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center


  • Erin Rosenberg: visiting scholar, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights
  • M. Arsalan Suleman: Foley Hoag, legal counsel to The Gambia in its case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice
  • Naw Hser Hser: Standing Committee member of Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO)
  • Tun Khin: President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)