Feminism in Focus Global Justice Center | 2018 Annual Report

Message From Akila

Who We Are

The Global Justice Center (GJC) is an international human rights organization building a global rule of law rooted in human rights and gender equality. Our creative and tenacious staff of legal experts are pushing the boundaries of feminist legal advocacy, developing innovative legal arguments and strategies to embed full gender equality into the law.

We are and will always be the group that exposes and attempts to root out the patriarchy inscribed in so many international and domestic laws. We are fiercely independent and are unafraid to take on controversial topics.

GJC has a proven and respected track record of unapologetic feminist advocacy, scoring landmark victories worldwide in the fights for sexual and reproductive rights and against impunity for gender-based violence. Our priority is making sure that women and girls can live with dignity, in full control of their bodies, and with equal protection under the law.

The GJC Equation

What Are Our Priorities? We focus on two priority areas that we believe are critical to the basic health, safety, and well-being of girls and women globally—fighting for sexual and reproductive rights and demanding justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
What Is Our Toolset? We use the law as a catalyst for radical change. Our combination of legal expertise and feminist analysis sets us apart from other organizations in the human rights field. We are the feminists in policy circles and the lawyers among gender advocates.
How Do We Create Change? We develop progressive interpretations of international law, then support policymakers as they work to fulfill their legal obligations. Our work has three key components: 1) innovative legal analysis; 2) strategic advocacy; and 3) collaborative partnerships.
Why Focus on Women and Girls? We are committed to advancing gender equality, both in the law and in practice. Women and girls face unique risks, and are often excluded from the highest levels of decision making. Historically, men get laws while women get policy. We are working to change that.
Where Do We Work? We work in places with the most potential for systemic change, like conflict and post-conflict situations and transitional democracies. We are active in some of the world’s most troubling and dangerous places for women, such as Burma and Iraq.
The Global Justice Center's role is pushing the boundaries. They are bold and unencumbered in their advocacy, and use innovative, creative approaches.

Barbara Crane | Former Executive Vice President for Technical Leadership and Advocacy, Ipas

The Global Justice Center takes an innovative approach to international law, recognizing opportunities to create gender equality in the law and pushing the envelope on existing precedents.⁠ ⁠

Gretchen Freeman Cappio | Board Member, Global Justice Center; Partner, Keller Rohrback Law Offices LLP

Everything we have learned over the past decade⁠—both in our successes and our setbacks⁠—forms the arsenal of legal tools, advocacy know-how, and outside-the-box thinking that sets the Global Justice Center apart.

Akila Radhakrishnan | President, Global Justice Center

Snapshot of 2018

We Fought for Reproductive Rights

We have never been afraid to take risks and make long-term investments to ensure that access to safe abortion is recognized as a fundamental right and, especially in the context of today’s backlashes to women’s rights, remains on the international agenda. With expertise in international law and access to global fora such as the UN Security Council, we bring unique and critical skills to this fight.

This year, we pushed major donor countries and funders to change their policies and explicitly communicate to their grantees that their funds may, and indeed must, be used to provide safe abortions to girls and women raped in war. We also continued to build the normative framework to ensure that abortion is provided as a matter of right and proudly partnered with diverse organizations working to oppose US abortion restrictions both at home and abroad.

"From our first meeting at the White House, I knew that the Global Justice Center would be the driving force needed to move the needle forward on safe abortion access for survivors of war rape, thanks to their creativity, persistence, and legal acumen." —Tina Tchen | Former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, Partner at Buckley LLP

Program: Abortion Access in Conflict

After more than a decade of strategic advocacy, we have achieved broad recognition of our innovative legal argument that war rape victims must be provided access to safe abortions as a matter of right under international humanitarian law.

In 2018, we worked to make sure that these significant policy gains translate to concrete action so that they can make a real difference in the lives of women and girls in conflict zones.

Program: Illegal US Abortion Policy

US policies, both congressional restrictions and executive orders, have a “chilling effect” on abortion services and speech. This censorship not only endangers lives, it is a clear violation of international law. We are countering all US restrictions, including congressional restrictions (like the Helms, Siljander, and Hyde Amendments) and executive actions (like the Global Gag Rule and Domestic Gag Rule) to build an affirmative legal framework for safe abortion access.

In 2018, we continued to document and gather information about the impact of these restrictions, including through four new Freedom of Information Act requests, developed and published the innovative legal argument on how these restrictions violate international guarantees of free speech and association, and challenged these policies as violations of international law.

We Demanded Justice for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

The prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, often with no accountability, is a central barrier in the global fight for gender equality. With increasing attacks on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other accountability mechanisms, the widespread and persistent use of rape as a weapon of war in places like Burma and Iraq, and a political environment hostile to the international human rights framework, our work is more important than ever.

In 2018, we continued to address key barriers to justice and accountability for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence at the domestic and international levels, and worked to strengthen national legal mechanisms and systems to achieve gender justice.

Program: Mass Atrocity Crimes

Our legal analyses of gender and mass atrocity crimes have had a profound impact on the way these crimes are addressed by the legal, advocacy, and accountability communities. Through our expert legal analysis, work in partnerships (including through the NGO Working Groups on Women, Peace, and Security and the Security Council), and participation and presentations at conferences and events, we have fundamentally shifted the conversation and moved the needle forward on justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based crimes.

In 2018, we embedded a gender perspective and survivor-centered approach into traditionally male-dominated spaces of mass atrocity prevention and accountability.

Program: Discriminatory Legal Systems

Domestic laws and policies can provide the foundation for a just and holistic approach to address and eliminate gender-based violence. However, in legal systems around the world, the rights of women and girls fall far below international legal standards and many perpetuate discrimination.

In 2018, we used international laws and standards as a guide to build a more just and equal legal framework for women and girls.

Thank you to our donors for your generous support

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. We are proud to recognize members of our community who made gifts between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.

With your support, our smart and strategic legal team is taking on some of the most pressing challenges to gender equality around the world. Together, we are breaking barriers, fighting the patriarchy, and building a more just and equal world for all.


Created with images by MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/REUTERS - "Sudanese demonstrators show their two finger salute as they arrive for the sit-in protest outside Defence Ministry in Khartoum" • Mohammad Ponir Hossain/REUTERS - "Rohingya refugee women hold placards as they take part in a protest at the Kutupalong refugee camp to mark the one-year anniversary of their exodus in Cox's Bazar" • Youssef Boudlal/REUTERS - "Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, demonstrate at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour" • Sertac Kayar/REUTERS - "Yazidi women attend a demonstration at a refugee camp in Kurdish-dominated city of Diyarbakir, Turkey"

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