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Letter to the CEDAW Committee: Supplementary information to Myanmar’s Report on an exceptional basis, scheduled for review by the CEDAW Committee at its 72nd Session

Dear Committee Members,

This letter supplements and responds to particularly concerning sections of the 6 February 2019 Exceptional Report submitted by Myanmar, which is scheduled for review by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“Committee”) on February 22, 2019 during its 72nd Session.

It is the view of the undersigned organizations that Myanmar’s submission raises serious doubts as to its willingness and ability to effectively investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes committed against the Rohingya, especially sexual and gender-based violence. Myanmar’s blanket denials that such crimes occurred and the answers presented in the report underscore not only that accountability will have to be achieved on the international level or before other domestic authorities, but also that there is a real risk of Myanmar aiming to discredit or jeopardize such accountability efforts. In addition to these overarching concerns, we seek to bring the Committee’s attention to two major areas of concern: (1) Myanmar’s refusal to acknowledge or accept responsibility for conflict, human rights abuses, and displacement; and (2) Myanmar’s inability and lack of will to meaningfully investigate and hold those responsible accountable.

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Letter to HHS: Comments in Response to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020

Dear Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma:

The Global Justice Center (“GJC”) submits this comment in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) Proposed Rule entitled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020 (the “Proposed Rule”).  For purposes of this submission, commentary is limited to the portion of the Proposed Rule that would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) so that private insurance providers that provide abortion services would be required to offer a version of the plan which does not cover abortion services.

GJC is an international human rights organization based in New York dedicated to achieving gender equality through the rule of law. For the past decade, GJC has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the law protects and promotes access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health rights for women and girls around the world. As experts in women’s rights and human rights, we write to express our vehement opposition to the Proposed Rule.

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Global HER Act Organizational Endorsement

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, regulation, or policy, in determining eligibility for assistance authorized under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), foreign nongovernmental organizations—

(1) shall not be ineligible for such assistance solely on the basis of health or medical services, including counseling and referral services, provided by such organizations with non-United States Government funds if such services do not violate the laws of the country in which they are being provided and would not violate United States Federal law if provided in the United States; and

(2) shall not be subject to requirements relating to the use of non-United States Government funds for advocacy and lobbying activities other than those that apply to United States nongovernmental organizations receiving assistance under part I of such Act.

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Senate 109 Coverage Ban

As organizations committed to advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice we believe each of us should be able to make decisions about abortion with dignity and respect, and without politicians interfering. We oppose S. 109, legislation to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and impose burdensome regulations designed to disincentivize insurers from providing abortion coverage. We know that the people disproportionately affected by policies like these are women of color, young people, and LGBTQ communities. We boldly envision a future where our families can thrive, which includes each of us making our own decisions about pregnancy and parenting, however much money we make or how we get our insurance. That means whether someone has private or government-funded health insurance, each of us should have coverage for a full range of pregnancy-related care, including abortion

S. 109 is drafted to achieve anti-abortion politicians’ goal of eliminating abortion coverage. First, this bill would make the Hyde amendment, an annual appropriations rider, permanent. S. 109 also penalizes individuals who seek private plans that cover abortion by denying consumer tax credits if they purchase plans that cover abortion care. This provision not only penalizes consumers, but would lead to insurers not offering plans that include abortion coverage. Additionally, small businesses would be denied tax credits if they decide to offer plans to their employees that include comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including abortion.

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Repro Community Opposition Letter to William Barr for Attorney General Sign-On Letter

Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein,

We write on behalf of XX reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in unified opposition to the nomination of William Barr for the role of the United States Attorney General.  Given his long and explicit record of opposition to reproductive rights and his alignment with extreme anti-abortion organizations, we strongly believe that former Attorney General Barr does not possess the ability to fairly oversee the Department of Justice and meet its obligations to protect reproductive health care rights and access without prejudice.

The mission of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice” as the chief enforcer of our nation’s laws.   With this great responsibility, the DOJ plays a critical role in our nation’s ongoing progress by defending and enforcing existing federal laws that reflect the values and principles of our country. Those landmark policies that DOJ is entrusted with defending include the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the right to safe, legal abortion.  

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Sign-on Civil Society Letter to Sec. Pompeo Regarding Erasure of SRH

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

As U.S. organizations that promote health and human rights in U.S. foreign policy, we write to express strong opposition to any attempts by the United States Department of State to censor U.S. diplomats, or any mission staff or partners. Any such effort would jeopardize global health while undermining decades of global consensus and progress.

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Sign-on letter: FY20 International FP/ RH OMB Request

Dear Director Mulvaney:
The undersigned 52 organizations, committed to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people around the world, write to urge the President to request that the FY 2020 budget include $1.66 billion for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programs, including $111 million for UNFPA, and reverse harmful policies that undermine these investments. Additional funds to support family planning and reproductive health programs ought to not come at the expense of other global health, development assistance, or humanitarian assistance programs.

We request $1.66 billion for Bilateral and Multilateral Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs provided from the Global Health Programs account, the Economic Support Fund and from the International Organizations and Programs account, including $111 million for UNFPA.

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Letter to The Honourable Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, "Re: Preliminary Examination into the Situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar"

Dear Prosecutor Bensouda,

The Global Justice Center writes to congratulate the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) on the decision to open a preliminary examination into the deportation of the Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Since impunity has long been the rule and not the exception in Myanmar, this examination offers a glimmer of hope that those who have long been oppressed by Myanmar’s military will see some measure of justice. We write to the OTP today with respect to three key issues related to this preliminary examination: (1) to emphasize the need to place the gendered experiences of these crimes at the center of the examination; (2) to urge the OTP to take a broad view to the crimes over which the International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction; and (3) to provide information with respect to any analysis of positive complementarity.

On the first point, we were pleased to attend a recent event with you at the UNGA in New York “Prosecuting Sexual and Gender-based Crimes at the International Criminal Court.” We applaud the OTP’s commitment to applying a gender analysis in all areas of its work, which has been reinforced by its strong policy on sexual and gender-based crimes. We agree that consideration of the complete nature of the crimes is necessary in order to ensure effective investigations and prosecutions. We urge that this be made a priority in the preliminary examination at hand.

Civil Society Sign-onLetter to Department of State re Human Rights Reports

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

As development of the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices begins, we are writing to raise our deep concern about significant changes in last year’s report, including the deletion of the reproductive rights subsection and limited reporting on prevalence and incidence of gender- based violence. The undersigned 97 civil society organizations call on the State Department to include robust reporting on the incidence and prevalence of gender-based violence and to reverse the decision to delete the reproductive rights subsection and ensure it is not repeated in the 2018 reports

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Org Sign-on to Letter re Matter of A-B-

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

The 465 undersigned faith-based, immigration, civil rights, human rights, worker rights, and anti- violence service and advocacy organizations write to express our profound concern for the lives and safety of immigrant survivors of domestic violence following your wrongful decision in Matter of A-B-. We ask that you immediately revoke this legally and factually erroneous decision.

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Sign-on letter to DOJ regarding their refusal to defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

We write in strong opposition to the Department of Justice’s recent decision not to defend the constitutionality of major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department’s position would once again allow insurance companies to deny coverage or charge more to people with pre-existing medical conditions and could embolden insurance companies to reinstate discriminatory coverage and pricing practices that negatively impact women. As organizations committed to advancing the health and economic security of women and their families, we urge the Department to reverse its position and defend the ACA.

The Justice Department’s refusal to defend key provisions of the ACA could have disastrous consequences for the health, well-being, and economic security of millions of women.

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