Home / Publications / Joint Call to Amend the Draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention to Encompass Gender Apartheid

Joint Call to Amend the Draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention to Encompass Gender Apartheid

Excellencies and Country Representatives:

The undersigned respectfully bring your attention to a glaring and consequential gap in the current Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity: the omission of the crime against humanity of gender apartheid.

By replicating the definition of “apartheid” as codified in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the draft treaty is needlessly constrained to a 25-year-old articulation of race-based apartheid. It fails to account for gender-based apartheid, which has long been recognized by the international community, including United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The past decades have witnessed significant progress in recognizing gendered crimes, and codifying gender apartheid should be part of that continued progress.

The failure to codify gender apartheid perpetuates an accountability vacuum that leaves many victims and survivors without remedy or reparation. The crime of gender apartheid is unique in animus and intent. It is distinct from other international crimes, including gender persecution, due to its dystopian ambition to maintain an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination, where the under-class is subjugated for the dominant group’s benefit and survival, dehumanized, and cut off from the resources and access needed to overcome their choreographed oppression. The Taliban’s ever deepening and institutionalized oppression of Afghan women and girls is a case in point. The codification of gender apartheid will assist victims and survivors holding perpetrators to account for the totality of crimes committed against them.

Read the full brief