August News Update: Celebrating Our Feminist Inspirations

To continue our reflection on what it takes to build a feminist future ahead of the virtual Global Justice Awards on September 17th, we've asked the GJC community to share their feminist inspiration with us. It has been encouraging and exciting to see so many meaningful stories so far!

We saw a contribution from Global Justice Awards host committee member Oshiya Savur, who recognized fellow "glass ceiling shatterers." Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran shared her hopes for an intersectional and inclusive feminist future. And our president, Akila Radhakrishnan, delivered a video tribute to her inspirations: her mother and GJC’s founder, Janet Benshoof.

The Global Justice Awards will be a celebration of our feminist past and future so please register for the free event now. And don’t forget, we are still accepting submissions, so be sure to share your inspiration with us!

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July News Update: Human Rights, Uncompromised

Dear Friend,

In this age of runaway nationalism, GJC has never wavered in its fight for both fully realized human rights protections and systems of accountability to enforce those protections.

During last week's UN Security Council Debate on conflict-related sexual violence, we stood in solidarity with brave activists taking member states to account for their failure to meaningfully act to protect the rights of victims.

Back in the US, we blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his illegal "Commission on Unalienable Rights" as the draft of the commission's final report was released.

Human rights need committed, zealous defenders. We thank you for fighting with us.

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June News Update: Bolstering our Global Institutions

Dear Friend,

Over the last several years, we've witnessed a nationalist slide away from multilateralism and against international institutions. GJC knows global institutions are critical to protecting human rights, so this month, we ramped up our work to bolster them.

We came out firmly and quickly against President Trump's executive order sanctioning International Criminal Court officials. Over at the UN Human Rights Council, we joined the call for an independent inquiry into police violence and racism in the US. And we stood in solidarity with the World Health Organization as the US withdrew funding.

Our international institutions need to be empowered and supported. We hope you'll continue to fight with us as we work to protect them.

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May News Update: Accountability for Genocide

Dear Friend, 

A critical aspect of the International Court of Justice's historic ruling to prevent genocide against Rohingya was the requirement for Myanmar to regularly report on its compliance with the order. Last Saturday, Myanmar faced its first reporting deadline and the Global Justice Center used the opportunity to hold the government accountable for its actions, or lack thereof, since the January order.

The simple truth is that Myanmar has not done enough to protect Rohingya. So we used every tool at our disposal this month to educate and interrogate the global community on Myanmar's record.

We hope you'll join us as we continue the fight for justice for victims of sexual violence and other genocidal crimes.

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April News Update: Defending Human Rights in a Pandemic

Dear Friend,

Global crises always hit our marginalized communities the hardest. Women, especially poor women and women of color, are among those suffering the most from COVID-19 and its economic fallout. Unfortunately, in a moment when protecting fundamental human rights are more important than ever, we are seeing governments continue to attack their right to abortion care.

In the midst of so much uncertainty, one thing remains clear: we cannot let up in our efforts to ensure and protect women’s rights. We know from experience that all pandemics have a gendered impact, and COVID-19 is no different.

Join us as we fight anti-choice extremists looking to exploit a pandemic to restrict our bodily autonomy.

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March News Update: Suing Trump to Protect Human Rights

Dear Friend,

We're in the midst of a historic crisis that affects every human being on this planet. Now more than ever, we need strong international cooperation and the protection of human rights. Yet, the Trump administration's "Commission on Unalienable Rights," established to tear down these institutions, continues to meet.

That's why we sued them this month.

This commission must be stopped before it further destroys international institutions and undermines hard-fought human rights. We hope you'll support this urgent case on behalf of human rights defenders everywhere.

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February News Update: Feminists in the Room

For too long, issues of gender have been relegated to the sidelines during high-level forums on international law. At worst, gender is omitted entirely. GJC is proud of our trusted reputation as the feminists in legal spaces, and over the next month, we'll get a chance to demonstrate this strength in a big way.

GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan will be participating in several international law events in March, including delivering a speech at the International Law Conference on the Status of Women, and joining panels at major events hosted by Tufts University and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights.

We're also hosting a major conference on the inextricable role of gender in the crime of genocide on March 13-14. This conference will gather some of the world's leading experts and activists so register now!

No matter the room, GJC will always center gender quality and women's rights. Thank you for being in this fight with us.

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January News Update: A Massive First Step Towards Justice

For decades, the Rohingya experienced and documented extreme discrimination, oppression, and violence at the hands of their government. And they watched the international community turn a blind eye to this suffering. But last week, the Rohingya finally received a sense of justice that has eluded their community for generations.

The court granted provisional measures, which order Burma to take immediate action to prevent genocide. This includes ensuring military and police forces cease all genocidal acts, preserve all evidence of genocidal acts, and report on compliance with these measures.

With our decades of experience fighting for gender justice and equality in Burma, the Global Justice Center was a major voice on social media and in press coverage of the historic ruling.

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December News Update: Myanmar Faces its Crimes at World Court

In one of the most powerful moments of international justice in recent memory, Myanmar stood before the International Court of Justice last week as The Gambia delivered accusations of mass killing and rape against the Rohingya. Victims of genocide finally got their day in court.

The Gambia's Minister of Justice, a driving force behind the case, opened the hearings by reminding the world that "It’s not only the state of Myanmar that is on trial here, it’s our collective humanity that is being put on trial.” In her much-anticpated testimony later in the week, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi painted a false picture of an internal military conflict and ignored victims of sexual violence.

As a longtime expert on Myanmar, The Global Justice Center was in The Hague along with partners to monitor the hearings and plan next steps. In the coming months, GJC will intensify its work seeking justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence and other human rights abuses in Myanmar.

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November News Update: Slow Progress on Women, Peace, and Security

The United Nations Security Council last week unanimously adopted resolution 2492, which called for the full implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. This resolution is intended to serve as a call to action from the council one year before the agenda’s 20th anniversary next year.

Unfortunately, thanks to threats from countries like the United States, the final resolution completely omitted references to sexual and reproductive health and rights. New US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, used her time on the council floor to caution the UN against putting itself "in a position of promoting or suggesting a right to abortion." We blasted the resolution ommission and US statement on social media.

As we approach next year's landmark anniversary, GJC will be doubling down on its efforts to ensure the world recognizes sexual and reproductive health as integral to the prosperity and empowerment of women and girls

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October News Update: Gender Equality at the UN

I had a tremendous honor this month to sit on a panel with a group of extraordinary feminists in the human rights field: Agnès Callamard, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Dr. Anne Marie Goetz, former Chief Advisor on Peace & Security, UN Women; and Melissa Upreti, Expert on the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women.

It was for an event GJC hosted on gender-sensitive approaches to international law. Agnès, myself, and the other panelists discussed the absolute necessity of centering gender and utilizing a feminist perspective as we work towards a fairer, more equal world. The conversation reinforced for me the importance of the Global Justice Center’s mission and our unique and innovative approach to using international law for gender equality.

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September News Update: Justice for Genocide of the Rohingya

The United Nations couldn’t be any clearer: a genocide has occurred in Burma against the Rohingya and the international community must take action. To remind the world of its responsibility to act in the face of genocide, the Global Justice Center will be engaging the UN General Assembly and other forums to urge world leaders to act to ensure justice and accountability.

Along with our partners at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, GJC will join the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh and the Minister of Justice of Gambia for a UN General Assembly side-event on solutions to the Rohingya crisis. GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan will about GJC’s work to ensure justice for sexual and gender-based violence against the Rohingya. 

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August News Update: Ready to be Heard on the World Stage

The United Nations, the US Congress, and the European Union are all on summer recess. For the Global Justice Center, however, the struggle for human rights never rests. 

We are busy preparing for a number of high-profile events and forums on the international stage, including an upcoming UN Security Council Arria meeting on accountability in Burma — an issue GJC has worked on for over a decade. We are also gearing up for the UN General Assembly beginning September 17.

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July News Update: Akila's First Year as President

Looking back on my first year as President of the Global Justice Center, I am so proud of all that we have accomplished. We were on the floor of the UN Security Council fighting to preserve gains on reproductive rights in the face of a hostile U.S. administration. Expert UN bodies, including the Fact-Finding Mission for Myanmar and the International Criminal Court, considered our legal analysis of gender-based crimes committed against the Rohingya in their work.

We are more motivated than ever to leverage our expertise into action to break down centuries of patriarchal oppression and inequality. With the steadfast support of our allies behind us and justice on our side, I firmly believe that we can make this vision a reality.

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June News Update: We Won't Go Back

The Trump administration’s new strategy on Women, Peace, and Security is one more glaring example of their dangerous, regressive, and illegal approach to women’s health and rights. The United States is eroding women’s equality at home and abroad by exporting censorship, enacting restrictive abortion policies, and undermining protections for survivors of sexual violence in conflict.

We will not let the Trump administration turn back the clock. Women and girls deserve to live with dignity, in full control of their bodies, and with equal protection under the law.

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May News Update: The Time Is Urgent, And You Must Take It

This May was a whirlwind of events for the Global Justice Center. 

We hosted the inaugural Global Justice Awards, and were honored to see so many friends and allies show their support for our mission. We were inspired by Patricia Sellers' powerful acceptance speech: "to all the young feminist lawyers: go to the places where they say you have no business. The time is urgent, and you must take it."

Taking those words to heart, we advocated for gender justice at events around the world—from the launch of the Gendered Peace project at the London School of Economics to the Gender and Genocide panel on the sidelines of the UN Security Council debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.

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April News Update: Reproductive Rights at the Security Council

Last week, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2467 on Women, Peace and Security. As a last minute compromise, language on sexual and reproductive heath was removed, undermining the resolution's goal to address the needs of victims of sexual violence in conflict.

Reproductive health care—including access to abortion services—is a critical component of necessary and comprehensive medical care for survivors of sexual violence in conflict. 

We will not allow these priorities to be played against one another. Sexual and reproductive rights must not be sacrificed in order to gain other protections.

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March News Update: No Rollbacks on Gender Justice

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is coming to an end, and we have been busy over the last two weeks bringing our legal analysis to the conversations about equality and empowerment. 

While this year's CSW has provided a platform for many crucial and progressive discussions, we are troubled by reports that the United States is working to remove the term "gender" from CSW's outcome document. If realized, this would represent a major step backwards for gender justice.

We cannot accept rollbacks on gender equality. The international community must stand together and fight to uphold the rights of women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ community.

 

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Why I Support the Global Justice Center

Happy International Women’s Day!

My name is Jelena Pia, and I am thrilled to serve as a new board member for the Global Justice Center, an organization that embodies my feminist principles and passion for gender justice.

Every day, but especially today, I am grateful to be a part of the GJC family.As a diplomat and activist, I have seen firsthand how GJC has fundamentally shifted the global conversation on issues relating to justice and accountability for sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.

As a representative of a small country, Andorra, at the United Nations, I was at the forefront of negotiations of international norms and treaties that set new standards for gender justice. The experience taught me the power of access and the injustice that comes with not allowing those who most need it to have a voice.

Joining GJC's board member allows me to continue my journey and stay true to my values. Throughout my career, I made sure to always remember what it means to be a woman from a small country. I know that strengthening women’s leadership and supporting the work of activists is critical to the women, peace and security agenda.

February News Update: Demanding Justice at the UN Security Council

Earlier this month, GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan briefed the United Nations Security Council on accountability for conflict-related sexual violence.

As Akila emphasized to Council members, "When states and the United Nations fail to act, it sends a dangerous message that genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity can be committed with impunity."

We know that, at its core, sexual violence in conflict is an expression of patriarchy and inequality. From Burma to Iraq, the Global Justice Center is fighting to make sure perpetrators of sexual violence are not shielded from justice by antiquated and discriminatory domestic laws.

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