Ensuring Global Accountability for Gender Persecution

Targeted abuse against women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ people of all genders is rarely documented when it happens. As a result, these acts are often excluded from consideration by international and domestic trials and, in effect, are left out of history.

Gender persecution has occurred in conflicts globally. Alleged perpetrators have, for example, attacked girls’ schools in Afghanistan, tortured women in Mali because they deemed their skirts too short, and committed sexual violence against those perceived to be LGBTQI+ in Colombia. In order to strengthen accountability for such crimes, MADRE and our grassroots partners are working together to increase understanding of the crime of gender persecution and pushing national and international authorities to hold perpetrators accountable.

The Principles on Gender Persecution – Join Us!

Join us as we create guiding principles on gender persecution, focusing on prevention, protection, survivor participation, and relief and recovery.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is developing a new set of Principles on the Crime of Gender Persecution, focusing on prevention, protection, survivor participation, and relief and recovery. Civil society groups are being asked to add their voice at the outset of the process to ensure that their communities and expertise are prioritized in the new Principles.

Thanks to a global grassroots movement, we have made major progress in raising greater awareness of the crime of gender persecution among key stakeholders. Now, the time has come to strengthen this work and expand this progress beyond accountability to other key areas of law and response to atrocities, including the pillars of prevention, protection, participation, and relief and recovery.

The Principles will develop a shared understanding of gender persecution and will strengthen recognition of and redress for gender-based crimes and discrimination before, during, and after conflict. This will create a shared community of practice and utilize multiple pillars of accountability to end cycles of violence and to help survivors access meaningful justice.

In December 2024, the results from global consultation into the Principles will be announced, and then the drafting of the Principles will commence in 2025. The end result will be the launch of the Principles  in October 2025 during the 25th anniversary of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

Join us!

Policy Paper on Gender Persecution

In 2021, MADRE began its work as organizer of civil society engagement in the development of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Policy of the Crime of Gender Persecution.

In December of 2022, the ICC published the Policy Paper in a grounding breaking moment for gender justice. While gender persecution, as a crime against humanity, was included in the Rome Statute, its perpetrators went with impunity because of a lack of understanding of the gender discrimination and unequal treatment at the root of these crimes.

This Policy Paper strengthens recognition of gender persecution in investigations and legal proceedings, reaffirms the understanding of gender in international criminal law, and provides clarity on a topic overlooked for too long.

This moment reaffirms – once and for all – that targeting women and LGBTQIA+ persons in peacetime and conflict can amount to a crime against humanity, and that survivors of these crimes cannot be silenced.

Gender Persecution in Afghanistan

In 2023, MADRE, together with the Institute for Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace at CUNY School of Law, launched the report Gender Persecution in Afghanistan. This report provides in-depth analysis of the Taliban’s acts to deprive Afghans of fundamental rights on the basis of gender — acts that may amount to the crime against humanity of gender persecution. For example, the Taliban have routinely beaten, unlawfully arrested, held incommunicado, inhumanely treated, and tortured women who protest against discriminatory regulations, including the bans on girls’ education, women’s access to work, and dress regulations.

Issued as the first part of forthcoming analyses, this report focuses on deprivations of three rights: the right to education, assembly, and expression. It examines Taliban policies to deprive each of these fundamental rights on a discriminatory basis, and provides samples of crimes they committed. This includes events our partners have documented, such as targeting women human rights defenders with threats, violence, arbitrary arrest, and disappearance for exercising their right to assembly and protest. It also describes legal analysis and evidence demonstrating how these acts or crimes can amount to gender persecution.

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