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Putting gender-based persecution in the international spotlight

30th September 2021

Northumbria University, Newcastle, is holding an international conference exploring the progress and challenges of bringing justice to victims across the world who have suffered persecution based on their gender.

Adjudicating Gender-Based Persecution at the International Criminal Court & Beyond: A Monumental Step and the Challenges That Lie Ahead, will be held at the University on the 7th and 8th October. The conference will consider why historically, gender has not been viewed as a relevant category of persecution in international criminal law, whereas victimisation based on race, religion, politics, nationality and ethnicity has long been considered relevant.

Sponsored by The Modern Law Review, one of the most prestigious law journals in the UK, the conference is open to academics, students and members of the public. As a welcome return to on-campus activities at Northumbria, it has also attracted high-profile speakers including the UK’s former Appeals Judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Sir Howard Morrison QC, leading international human rights lawyers, and experts from the United Nations as well as PhD students.  

Organised by Professor Mohamed Badar, Chair of Comparative & International Criminal Law at Northumbria, the conference follows a number of similar events held at the University on international criminal justice. These include tackling Hate Propaganda and the Communication Challenges facing internationalised criminal tribunals in today’s misinformation age.

Professor Badar said: “Gender-based persecution is a vitally important aspect of international criminal law, so to have so many eminent speakers debate the subject here at Northumbria is an immensely valuable learning opportunity for our students, fellow academics and indeed the wider community.”

“While most gender-based crimes brought before the ICC have been those of a sexual violence character, gender-based persecution is not limited to sexual violence. On the contrary, acts of persecution extend to, for instance, killings, forced labour, and the deprivation of civil and political rights. This is illustrated in very recent cases before the ICC, including Islamist militants in Mali’s deprivation of women of the right of freedom of assembly, the imposition of forced marriages in Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and the killing of ethnic Fur men in Darfur.”

Fellow speaker Niamh Hayes, from the Gender and Children Unit at the Office of the Prosecutor, ICC, added:“Gender-based persecution is a very significant crime, as it is one of the main avenues where international criminal law and international human rights law overlap. Gender is one of the many discriminatory grounds that drives the crime of persecution - along with politics, ethnicity, religion, race, nationality and culture - and it is important to understand how these intersecting forms of discrimination can impact women, men, children and LGBT individuals who are victims of international crimes.”

Further emphasising the need to recognise gender-based persecution, International human rights attorney and partner at Washington DC-based law firm Anethum Global, Sara Elizabeth Dill, said: “When access to information is easier than ever before, and humanitarian crises are occurring in multiple countries, it is more important than ever to provide accurate information and engage in dialogues beyond just academia and the international law sectors. As we all prepare to welcome Afghan refugees, or those fleeing human rights violations from any country, people will want to know what has occurred, and how they can help as non-lawyers, especially to mentor and befriend Afghan women and children who have lost everything. But we also need to build on conferences like this one to work together on all levels, in all sectors of society (business, education, health care) to develop strategies to prevent these atrocities and empower civilian populations and the rule of law.”

For further details and to register for the conference please visit our website

 

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Northumbria Law School is one of the largest law schools in the UK, with a national and international reputation for excellence in legal education.

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Northumbria Law School is one of the largest law schools in the UK, with a national and international reputation for excellence in legal education for those interested in studying law.

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