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Fall 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the Global Justice Center's first quarterly newsletter! In this moment of turmoil and change, we took the opportunity to reflect on how we're engaging with our community of allies and supporters. With this quarterly newsletter, we'll be delivering a streamlined update on our most exciting and important work.

The GJC team looks forward to this new opportunity to share our work with you. And as always, thank you for standing with us and making our bold, feminist advocacy possible.

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June News Update: 2020 Annual Report

Dear Friend,

From a global pandemic to vicious attacks on democracy and human rights, 2020 presented some of the most formidable challenges the Global Justice Center has ever faced. How we rebuild and repair in the years ahead will define generations to come.

Reflecting on this momentous year, we are thrilled to share our 2020 Annual Report with you. The full report will release next week, but please enjoy this preview video featuring our own Grant Shubin. In it, Grant discusses our work last year to defend the Women, Peace, and Security agenda from patriarchal attacks.

Thank you for standing with us for another year of advocacy for radical, feminist change. We look forward to continuing the fight with you in 2021 and beyond.

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May News Update: Pushing President Biden on Abortion

Dear Friend,

The Biden administration has repeatedly defined itself as a champion of sexual and reproductive rights. In his four months in power, President Biden has taken some action to back up this label.

But it takes a committed reproductive rights movement to hold this administration to the sweeping promises it made. That's why we joined 140+ organizations to demand the president implement international recommendations on abortion rights.

Thank you for standing with us as we continue to hold the US — and every government — accountable for protecting the human right to abortion access.

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April News Update: Women Lead the Resistance in Myanmar

Dear Friend,

In its decades-long campaign of persecution against ethnic groups, Myanmar's military has often reserved its most brutal acts of violence for women. Now that the military is in sole control once again, women in Myanmar are doing what they've always done: fight back.

Social and news media are flooded with images of women leading and filling the massive protests against military rule. Yet, the international community is failing to center the human rights of women and other historically oppressed groups in its response to the crisis.

Thank you for standing with us as we demand justice and human rights lead the global response to the coup.

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March News Update: The Biden Record on Women's Rights

Dear Friend,

In the weeks leading up to President Biden's inauguration, we urged the president to go beyond rolling back Trump policies by embracing a "feminist foreign policy agenda that places marginalized communities, including women and LGBTQIA+ people, at its center."

Two months later, there's plenty to be excited about. The Biden administration repealed the global and domestic gag rules, appointed a diverse cabinet, and established the White House Gender Policy Council.

Yet it's critical we demand more. Biden still refuses to use the word "abortion," fueling the stigmatization of a human right. We've also heard little commitment to the repeal of the Helms Amendment, an international abortion restriction that serves as the legal foundation for the Global Gag Rule.

Thank you for standing with us as we fight for a feminist foreign policy.

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February News Update: A Coup in Burma

Dear Friend,

In the early morning hours of February 1, Myanmar's military, the Tatmadaw, seized power. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested along with many other political figures and government critics.

The Global Justice Center has long warned of the consequences of an international failure to hold the military accountable for its crimes. The world is now forced to recognize what democracy activists and ethnic women in Burma have long known: the military is the chief obstacle to democracy and human rights in the country.

Thank you for joining us as we push the international community to learn from its mistakes by taking concrete action against this military coup.

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January News Update: Human Rights in the Biden Era

Dear Friend,

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly committed to reforge the US commitment to human rights and repair America's relationship with the world. But what should this look like?

Organizations like GJC are outlining concrete steps the Biden administration can take. But more than anything, we must reject "business as usual" that has led to failures on human rights by past Democratic administrations. As we said recently in our joint op-ed for Foreign Policy, it's critical the Biden administration root its actions in the language of universal human rights.

Thank you for standing with us as we work to seize this unique moment to advance our rights.

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December News Update: Envisioning a Post-Trump World

Dear Friend,

Four years of President Trump has devastated sexual and reproductive rights around the world. The Biden-Harris administration promises to "build back better" on human rights and global institutions, but what does that look like exactly?

As Serra Sippel of CHANGE said during our recent webinar, policies like a repeal of the Global Gag Rule "must be the floor, not the ceiling." The Biden administration must take a systematic approach to dismantling Trump-era policies, using feminism as a guiding principle.

Join us as we gear up to fight for our feminist vision for human rights.

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November News Update: Beating Back Global Patriarchy

Dear Friend,

After months of negotiations between nations and advocacy from organizations like GJC, Russia's resolution on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) failed in the UN Security Council last month. It was a victory for women's rights.

As a member of the NGO Working Group on WPS, we made it clear that any attempt to chip away at this crucial agenda mandating gender equality in peace processes must be resisted. Russia's resolution could have turned back the clock on 20 years of progress and we thank every nation who refused to go along with it.

This is no time to surrender our hard-won progress on the rights of women and marginalized communities. Thank you for standing with us as we fight back.

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October News Update: 20 Years of Women Demanding Power

On October 31, 2000, the United Nations Security Council handed down a bold vision mandating the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security. Sadly, much of the progress made since then remains rhetoric rather than a reality for most women around the world.

Even worse, what progress we have made is under threat from powerful, patriarchal governments. Countries like the United States and Russia continue to make clear their hostility to the women, peace, and security agenda.

Stand with us as we fight back attacks and push for progress on this critical tool in the fight for gender equality.

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September News Update: Our Feminist Past and Future

The first-ever virtual Global Justice Awards have come and gone, and we couldn't be happier with our night of celebration and collaboration. Thanks to you, we feel as emboldened as ever to continue our fight for gender equality.

We had the honor of presenting awards to Dr. Senait Fisseha and the Women's League of Burma, women who truly embody what a #FeministInspiration means to the staff of the Global Justice Center and to gender justice advocates around the world.

We are nothing without our incredible allies and supporters. Let's win a feminist future together.

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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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