UN Submissions

Submission to UK International Development Committee — Gender and Mass Atrocities

The following responds specifically to the topic: How the UK Government’s approach to atrocity prevention interacts with other government policies and areas of work, such as the FCDO’s approach to conflict prevention, the Women, Peace and Security agenda and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative

Gender inequality is itself a root cause of mass violence and also increases its harm on disadvantaged groups, including women and gender minorities. As such, prevention that incorporates a gender lens has routinely been found to be more effective at adequately responding to situations of mass  atrocities and creating lasting peace. Prevention models must actively dismantle structural inequality through equitable representation in their programming, targeted efforts to prevent and suppress sexual and gender-based violence (“SGBV”), and include gender sensitivity in all stages of their responses. Despite the clear connection between successful atrocity prevention and gender integration, there are significant gaps in how States conceptualize and implement atrocity prevention. The failure to reckon with gendered experiences in prevention is evidenced by limited inclusion of gender indicia, or inclusion of overly simplified gender-related indicia, in early warning systems and risk assessments.

This submission outlines the need for UK leadership on gendering atrocity prevention and core principles to guide that leadership. First, it provides an overview of how gender informs the commission, planning, and harm of mass atrocity crimes, thus necessitating a gendered response. Second, it demonstrates how the inadequate accountability mechanisms, particularly gender gaps, feed the shortcomings of prevention frameworks. Third, the submission maps key international legal standards which must guide the UK’s prevention efforts and identify concrete measures for the integration of gender in atrocity prevention. Fourth, it assesses the opportunities and challenges in the UK’s current policies on atrocity prevention and their implementation. Finally, it provides recommendations on how the UK can improve its policies and practice with regard to atrocity prevention.

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GJC Public Comment - Commission on Unalienable Rights

Dear Members of the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights,

This past May, the Global Justice Center sent a submission regarding our concerns with respect to the Commission, its work, and the potential harm that a final report produced by the Commission may have on the international human rights framework, specifically as it pertains to the right to abortion. 

Now, we write to you again as part of the two week public comment period following the release of the Commission’s draft report on July 16, 2020. First, we wish to call attention to the fact this is an inadequate length of time for meaningful engagement, both by the public and by the Commission, before finalization of the report. There is little reason to believe that this report is even viewed as a draft version, since the Commission has already completed all of its meetings and there is no mention of “draft” in the text of the draft report itself. Having reviewed the July 16 “Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights” (“report”) and listened to Secretary Pompeo’s speech at its unveiling, as well as the following Commission meeting, we write again to express our concerns with the report and any final product that emerges from this Commission. More specifically, we are alarmed by the Commission’s flawed representation of the international human rights framework, its legal requirements, and its framing of abortion.


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Submission to the Commission on Unalienable Rights

Dear Members of the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights,

As a human rights non-governmental organization, we write to express our deep concern with the Commission, its work to date, and the potential harm that a final report produced by the Commission, in line with its mandate and the views expressed by several of its members, may have on the international human rights framework.

In particular, based on comments made by members of the Commission during public hearings, we are concerned that the Commission’s final report will aim to reinterpret the agreed-upon international human rights framework in a manner that regresses on clearly recognized and protected rights, including through the establishment of interpretations that are at odds with those from human rights bodies, experts, and courts, and may seek to establish a false and preferential hierarchy of rights. Any hierarchy that privileges some human rights - such as the freedom of religion - to the exclusion of others - such as sexual and reproductive rights, is fundamentally contrary to the framework of modern human rights, including as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”). Finally, we have strong concerns with regards to the Commission’s approach to sexual and reproductive rights, which is the particular focus of this submission.

With this letter we wish to reiterate that the international human rights law framework already adequately defines human rights; in particular, within that framework access to safe abortion has become firmly entrenched as a protected right.

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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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Letter to Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva: Re: The Commission’s Policy on Abortions for Women and Girls Impregnated by Rape in Armed Conflict

GJC writes a letter to Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, to urge the European Commission to change its humanitarian aid policy in order to uphold the rights of women and girls raped and impregnated in armed conflict under the Geneva Conventions. 

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