Press Releases

Global Justice Center Marks Sixth Anniversary of Rohingya Genocide

NEW YORK — The Global Justice today joins its Rohingya partners as well as human rights activists around the world in commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Rohingya genocide.

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

“The sobering reality on today’s anniversary is that the Rohingya are in a condition no less dire than the one they fled six years ago. Nearly a million are barely surviving in refugee camps with no ability to safely return home. A similar number remain in Myanmar, enduring massive rights restrictions and insecurity under the same authority responsible for their genocide.

“This is an accelerating human rights catastrophe, and the international community must reckon with its responsibility for it. Impunity is the foundation upon which genocidal military leaders staged their coup in 2021, and it continues to serve as fuel for its brutal campaigns of persecution. Through its failure to take meaningful action, bodies like the UN Security Council have condoned and sustained this impunity.

“Our international institutions helped to foment this crisis — they can help end it too. Existing sanctions and international court cases are critical steps, but it’s nowhere near enough. The world must listen to Rohingya, who have been clear about what they need from the beginning: accountability for perpetrators, an end to discriminatory policies against them and a pathway to a  safe, dignified return to Myanmar. They deserve no less.”

Global Justice Center President Akila Radhakrishnan Announces Resignation

Global Justice Center President Akila Radhakrishnan today announced her resignation. After 14 years at the organization — including 5 as president — she will resign by the end of this year.

Here is her letter to the GJC community: 

Dear friends,

Leading the Global Justice Center has never been just a job for me. That’s why it’s bittersweet for me to share some important personal news with you: after 14 incredible years at GJC, including five years as President, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my role and leave GJC by the end of this year. 

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. My time here has been nothing short of extraordinary, and it has been an incredibly important part of my life. However, I also believe that good leadership means knowing when to take a step back and create pathways for new ideas, strategies, and leadership. For GJC this is also an opportunity to live our values of feminism and power-sharing within our own operations.

The past 14 years at GJC have been deeply rewarding. I have had the absolute privilege of shaping GJC’s strategy, vision, and projects, and of working alongside incredible staff, donors, and partners. From pioneering the argument that abortion is protected care under international humanitarian law, to supporting our partners in Myanmar in their pursuit of justice and accountability at the International Court of Justice and beyond, and being at the forefront of a feminist approach to a new crimes against humanity treaty, I am immensely proud of GJC’s accomplishments.

I believe that GJC will only stand to gain by bringing in new leadership in this next chapter. This is a wonderful opportunity for GJC’s future, one that I am excited for us all to embrace. Organizational leaders often receive a disproportionate amount of credit for the work of an entire team. Still, in my case, every accomplishment has been the result of the work of a brilliant and committed staff. The organization remains in excellent hands with the Board and the Staff, and we are all committed to ushering in a seamless and fruitful transition. 

In the next few days, GJC’s Board of Directors will launch a search for my successor as president. GJC has successfully navigated challenging transition periods before, and I have complete faith that my successor will be profoundly dedicated to advancing reproductive freedom, gender equality, and access to justice.

I ask that, as this transition takes place, you continue to support our work and embrace this exciting opportunity with me to invest in the future of our small but mighty organization. The Global Justice Center is made stronger by our community of supporters, and we welcome you to reach out with questions as they may arise. 

This isn’t goodbye just yet; it’s an invitation to stand with us as we navigate a significant but necessary shift for GJC’s future. Thank you for your continued partnership.

In solidarity,

Akila Radhakrishnan

Global Justice Center Marks the First Anniversary of US Supreme Court Ruling Repealing Constitutional Right to Abortion

NEW YORK — On Saturday, the Global Justice will join abortion rights advocates in the United States and around the world in recognizing the first anniversary of the US Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The Dobbs ruling ended nearly five decades of constitutional protections for abortion care in the United States.

The recent briefing paper “Human Rights Crisis: Abortion in the United States After Dobbs” offers the first investigation into widespread violations of human rights occurring as a consequence of the ruling. The paper was published by the Global Justice Center, Human Rights Watch, Pregnancy Justice, National Birth Equity Collaborative, Physicians for Human Rights, and Foley Hoag.

Elena Sarver, Senior Legal Adviser at the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“The last year has been nothing less than a ceaseless catastrophe for pregnant people in the United States. Tens of millions live in states where abortion is either heavily restricted or completely unavailable. Patients with dangerous or nonviable pregnancies are being turned away from hospitals and forced to endure cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. And doctors are caught in the middle of it all, forced to choose between their patient’s health and their own livelihoods.

“This is a full-blown human rights crisis, and it’s time we treated it that way. Abortion bans violate our rights to health, life, privacy, to be free from torture, and more. Yet for too long, despite efforts to promote human rights abroad, US policymakers have denied these human rights protections to their own people. The experience of countries like Ireland, Peru, and Colombia shows us that human rights can be harnessed to achieve historic advances for abortion rights.

“Yet despite the pain we’re seeing around the country, abortion rights advocates are successfully fighting back in many states. It’s critical that we support these efforts and feed them into the international movement to expand abortion access. By this time next year, let’s make abortion accessible and regulated solely as medical care in the United States.”

190+ Organizations Urge UN Special Rapporteurs to Act on Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court Decision

More than 190 organizations and individuals, including health practitioners and human rights experts, today sent a letter to United Nations experts in response to the United States Supreme Court decision that repealed the constitutional right to abortion.

The letter documents how abortion restrictions imposed in the wake of the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization have deprived women, girls, and persons capable of pregnancy of their human rights to life, health, privacy, liberty, freedom from torture, and more.

It goes on to argue that the Dobbs ruling puts the United States in breach of obligations under several legally-binding international treaties it has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention against Torture.

In addition to its call to action, the letter includes original research as well as testimony from physicians around the country. The full letter and list of signatories is here.

Dr. Christine Ryan, Legal Director at the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“The protections of Roe had long eroded before the court’s ruling, but Dobbs put to rest any doubt of the United States’ failure to meet its human rights obligations. Decades of binding treaties have firmly established abortion as a human right. Now that the violation of this right is clear to all, the international community has a responsibility to act to hold the U.S. accountable.”

Christina Hioureas, Partner at Foley Hoag and Chair of the firm’s United Nations Practice Group, the law firm acting for the coalition, issued the following statement:

“Dobbs is the nail in the coffin on reproductive freedom in the United States. The consequences of Dobbs is that women, girls and persons capable of pregnancy across the United States are being deprived of critical access to health care and autonomy over their bodies and their lives. Simply put, women and girls will die as a result of this decision. The criminalization of access to reproductive health implicates the United States’ obligations under international law and is, thus, a matter of grave concern for the international community as a whole.”

Payal Shah, Director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones at Physicians for Human Rights, issued the following statement:

“The Dobbs decision has placed a target on the backs of pregnant patients and health care providers. The criminalization of abortion in many U.S. states has resulted in health care workers being mandated to act in complicity with violations of their patients’ rights, or to face imprisonment, professional sanction, fines, or harassment. As clinicians in this letter and around the country have shared, laws criminalizing abortion care will increase health disparities and impact the provision of health care across many specializations, from emergency medical care to family medicine to oncology and rheumatology. These harms will be most profoundly felt by Black, Indigenous, and low-income women. The international community, including UN Special Rapporteurs, must condemn this egregious rollback of human rights and affirm the U.S.’ obligation to ensure abortion rights.”

Lauren Wranosky, Research and Program Associate at Pregnancy Justice, issued the following statement:

“The Dobbs decision abandoned the constitutional right to abortion, violated U.S. legal obligations under treaties such as ICCPR, and exposed the fact that Roe was never enough. Many will continue to be jailed, convicted, and sentenced to prison for having abortions, experiencing pregnancy losses, or giving birth to healthy babies. This destroys families, inflicts trauma, and targets the most vulnerable by replacing healthcare with criminalization. We know this humanitarian crisis will only get worse, and we demand that the U.S. government join international peers as a leader in securing reproductive justice for all.”

Annerieke Smaak Daniel, Women’s Rights Researcher at Human Rights Watch, issued the following statement:

“Abortion is a form of health care needed more frequently by women of color, especially Black women, than white women in the US. Abortion restrictions compound economic, social, and geographic barriers to health care, including contraception, disproportionately impacting Black women’s ability to access the care we need. The US federal government is not meeting its human rights obligation to ensure access to abortion and to address and eliminate structural racism and discrimination in the US, and the impact on the health and rights of Black women is clear.”

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.”