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MADRE ADVOCACY AT WORK

gender apartheid as a crime against humanity

Ensuring recognition of gender apartheid against women, girls, and/including LGBTQIA+ people.

Afghan woman activist, Rabia, looks straight ahead

Maureen Drennan

In certain conflicts or atrocity contexts across the globe, armed actors have committed human rights violations and crimes against women, girls, and/including LGBTQIA+ people in an effort to enforce institutionalized regimes of systematic oppression and domination. To address this, civil society advocates and legal experts are calling for recognition of gender apartheid as a crime, and for its inclusion in a proposed crimes against humanity treaty.

Codification of gender apartheid as a crime against humanity will contribute to the progressive development of international law, and serve as an important tool to hold perpetrators of gender crimes accountable. MADRE is working with a coalition of civil society actors to promote its codification with a definition that captures all victims, including LGBTQIA+ people.


MADRE created a factsheet to equip advocates from an array of disciplines with tools to respond to questions about how to promote an inclusive definition of gender apartheid while maintaining momentum toward its recognition as a crime.


In January 2024, MADRE, along with partner organizations, made a submission to the Gender Apartheid Inquiry, an examination of the situation of women in Afghanistan and Iran conducted by a U.K. Parliamentary Panel and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. The Gender Apartheid Inquiry aims to identify practical and meaningful steps to address rights violations and crimes against women and girls within existing legal frameworks, while also exploring how these acts fit into the concept of gender apartheid.

MADRE’s submission focused on the situation of women, girls, and/including LGBTQIA+ people in Afghanistan. It explored how gender apartheid can complement existing criminal law infrastructure, and emphasized that a proper definition of gender apartheid should ensure that all victims of such crimes are recognized under law.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has committed human rights violations and alleged crimes against women, girls, and/including LGBTQIA+ people in an effort to enforce an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination.

An inclusive definition of gender apartheid would make visible longstanding discrimination that women, girls, and/ including LGBTQIA+ people face acutely when it is enforced through crimes as part of such regimes.

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