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The Policy Paper on Gender Persecution

A Call to Action for Civil Society

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has released the first draft of the Policy Paper on Gender Persecution. This Policy Paper aims to strengthen recognition of and accountability for the crime of gender persecution in investigations and legal proceedings – a truly groundbreaking opportunity for clarity on a topic that has been overlooked for too long. The crime of gender persecution is the only legal charge under international criminal law that can be used to holistically hold gender-based crimes accountable, apart from sexual violence.

This is our moment to reaffirm – once and for all – that targeting women and LGBTIQ, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons in peacetime and conflict can amount to a crime against humanity. By better understanding how and when gender persecution occurs, we can strengthen accountability, meaningfully include survivors in building sustainable peace, and disrupt the cycle of gender-based violence. To do this, civil society needs to make our voice heard in this new policy paper initiative.

Building on our long history of fighting for accountability for gender-based crimes within international law frameworks, MADRE is bringing together civil society to participate in the development of the Policy Paper on Gender Persecution. This Policy Paper presents a unique opportunity to bring together the voices of grassroots movements from across the globe to ensure that their perspectives inform this historic process.

The Office of the Prosecutor first announced the development of the Policy Paper in December 2021 and then opened an initial consultation period from December 2021 to March 2022 for governments, legal experts, and civil society to submit comments regarding the content of the first draft of the policy. With the release of the first draft, the OTP has opened a second consultation period, and the final policy will be released in December 2022 at the Assembly of States Parties.

Get involved!

Serving as the secretariat for civil society participation in the call for submissions, MADRE, along with our partners, facilitated submissions from nearly 400 organizations and 150 activists from over 100 countries and territories, as well as UN Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts, UN agencies and governments, for the first public consultation for the new policy initiative on gender persecution. These calls were then compiled into an open letter and submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor. Submissions included a contribution from 84 Afghan women and Afghan civil society members, 10 Iraqi civil society organizations, and our partner the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI). A number of other academic institutions, feminist legal scholars, and organizations with which we work further made their own contributions, such as OutRight Action International and our local partner in Colombia, Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN).

Write your own submission: Share your perspectives directly with the Office of the Prosecutor by writing a submission. For example, your submission can detail the forms of gender persecution that occur in your region or how these crimes impact people at the intersection of multiple forms of oppression or discrimination. Comments on the draft can be sent by November 23, 2022 to:  

Share the resource guide: Share this resource guide, available in English, French, and Spanish, with your networks, and rally organizations in your community to make sure that your perspectives are a part of this historic process. 

To read more about MADRE's work to include civil society voices in the new policy paper, read our timeline of events chronicling efforts to date.