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Press Releases

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.”

The Global Justice Center Marks the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

NEW YORK  — The Global Justice Center today joins abortion rights advocates across the United States by commemorating the 50-year anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion.

Today’s anniversary comes just months after Roe was overturned in June 2022 by the Supreme Court. This ruling was the culmination of decades of work by the anti-abortion movement that began immediately after Roe was decided in January 1973.

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

“We join all of our allies in the struggle for abortion rights today in mourning the end of Roe v. Wade on its 50th anniversary. Everyone in the United States owes a great debt to the 1973 ruling and the movement responsible for it. But, of course, Roe was always the floor, not the ceiling. Millions, particularly marginalized populations, were denied access to abortion in the decades that followed.

“Thanks to the anti-abortion movement that mobilized immediately after Roe, the story of abortion access in the United States since 1973 has been one of steady regression. Increasingly severe restrictions on abortion care, both at the state level and nationally, were imposed and upheld by courts over the intervening decades. The promise of Roe was denied to entire generations.

“Now is the time to build a new, inclusive foundation for abortion access grounded in universal human rights. From Ireland to Columbia, many countries around the world are beginning to do just that. The United States can join them and create a world where bodily autonomy is a lived reality for all.”

New Filing in Argentinian Genocide Case Against Myanmar Military Presents Recommendations for Treatment of Sexual Violence Victims

BUENOS AIRES/NEW YORK — The Global Justice Center and the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) today submitted recommendations to the Argentinian judiciary in a case brought against Myanmar military leaders for the genocide of the Rohingya.

The case was filed by BROUK and launched by the Second Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court in 2021 under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows any court to prosecute certain human rights abuses, regardless of where they were committed.

Today’s submission seeks to prepare the court for testimony from victims of sexual violence. It presents internationally-recognized principles for interviewing and engaging with victims. The submission also sets out standards for how the court should asses evidence of sexual violence.

Tun Khin, BROUK President, issued the following statement:

“More than five years after the genocide of the Rohingya, this case represents a crucial path to justice for crimes committed in Myanmar, particularly for victims of sexual violence. The Argentinian courts have an opportunity to be on the right side of history and provide justice that, until now, has seemed illusive.”

Angela Mudukuti, Senior Legal Advisor with the Global Justice Center, issued the following statement:

“Supporting victims of sexual violence, and our partners BROUK in their quest for justice, is of the utmost importance to the Global Justice Center. We submitted these recommendations because, historically, courts all over the world have failed to engage with victims and survivors of sexual violence in a way that avoids retraumatization and gives their testimony the weight it deserves. We remain hopeful that our submission will support the Argentinian judiciary in treating survivors and victims with dignity.”

UN Security Council Passes First-Ever Resolution on Myanmar

NEW YORK  — The United Nations Security Council today passed a resolution urging an end to the crisis in Myanmar. Despite decades of human rights abuses by the military, including the 2017 genocide of the Rohingya and the 2021 military coup, today’s resolution is the first the Security Council has passed on the situation in Myanmar.

Passed without opposition and three abstentions, the resolution “expressed deep concern” at the ongoing state of emergency imposed by the military and its impact on civilians. It stressed the need for humanitarian access to the country and the release of political prisoners.

The resolution also set a timeframe for future Security Council attention, requesting a report from the UN Secretary General or the Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar by March 15, 2023. 

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

“Today’s resolution is long overdue, but it’s still a critical step forward for a Security Council whose silence on Myanmar had long supported global inaction and continued a cycle of impunity in the face of staggering human rights abuses. We know the Security Council has a legal and moral responsibility to respond to the crisis in Myanmar. And this resolution offers some reassurance that Council members understand this fact.

“However, we can’t deny that Council members missed an opportunity for more robust action. Most important was their failure to create a mechanism for regular reporting on the situation in Myanmar. This is a crisis that is continuously evolving and deepening. So it is urgent that Council members treat this resolution as a first step by developing a comprehensive and ongoing plan of action.”

International Criminal Court Upholds Conviction of Lord’s Resistance Army Commander

Ruling in Case Against Dominic Ongwen Sets Historic Precedent on Reproductive Autonomy

NEW YORK/THE HAGUE  — The International Criminal Court today upheld the conviction of Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel force that operated in Uganda for decades.

In 2021, Ongwen was found guilty of 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Northern Uganda between 2002 and 2005. This included many sexual and gender-based crimes such as forced marriage and forced pregnancy, neither of which had previously tried at the ICC.

The Global Justice Center, Amnesty International, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, and Dr. Rosemary Grey filed an amicus brief on the crime of forced pregnancy in the case in December of 2021. They presented this analysis to the court during appeal hearings in February of this year. In its ruling today, the court affirmed this analysis and found that the legal interest behind the crime of forced pregnancy is “woman’s reproductive health and autonomy and the right to family planning,” and that national abortion laws are irrelevant to the court’s analysis of the crime.

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

“Today’s ruling is a victory not only for the victims of Dominic Ongwen, but for all victims of sexual and gender-based violence that come to the ICC for justice. This is especially true for victims of forced pregnancy, whose human rights are now further protected by the creation of a historic precedent on reproductive autonomy in international law.” 

Alix Vuillemin, Advocacy Director at Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, issued the following statement:

“Today, the crime of ‘forced pregnancy’ was recognized by the ICC as the incomparable violence done to women who are raped, forcibly made pregnant, and confined with the intent to keep them pregnant. As we said in the 1990s in pushing for the criminalisation of these acts, with forced pregnancy, the invasion of the body and self is total. Women are being treated as chattel for the purpose of reproduction, which is another form of gender enslavement. Decades later, with this judgment, the ICC has given us sharper tools to advance the recognition, accountability and prevention of this violence.”

Matt Cannock, Amnesty International's Center for International Justice, issued the following statement:

“The Appeals Chamber's decision will doubtless prove critical for the future of the International Criminal Court's consideration of the crime of forced pregnancy, and it firmly holds the door open to victims of this horrendous crime to access justice before the court and beyond.

“In particular we welcome the court's crucial finding, centered around human rights considerations, that the crime of forced pregnancy seeks to protect women’s ‘reproductive health and autonomy and the right to family planning’ - an absence of which can cause severe physical and psychological harms and lasting personal, social and economic consequences.”

Dr. Rosemary Grey, Lecturer at Sydney Law School, issued the following statement:

“Today, the value of reproductive autonomy was recognised by the International Criminal Court’s highest chamber. The decision affirms that forced pregnancy is among the most serious crimes of international concern, regardless of whether reproductive rights are protected under national law. It’s inspiring — and long overdue — to see the court taking this strong stance on reproductive rights under international law. And inspiring to see the strength of the two women whose evidence supported this historic conviction for forced pregnancy.”