Crimes Against Humanity Treaty Toolkit

A New Treaty On Crimes Against Humanity

A new convention on crimes against humanity (CAH) is in its final draft stages, but most civil society groups — including women, LGBTIQ, disability, Indigenous, aboriginal, youth, caste, and racial and ethnic minority rights groups — have not weighed in. While the current treaty draft embraces strong language from the Rome Statute (which created the International Criminal Court (ICC)), including gender as a protected class from persecution, it also adopts an opaque definition of gender.

Civil society organizations have changed the course of history by organizing together to ensure that all human rights violations are taken seriously in key international documents. The CAH drafting process is moving quickly in the UN process, and now is a critical time to get involved.


The last two decades of international law have clarified that women’s rights and LGBTIQ rights are human rights, making the gender definition contained in the Rome Statute opaque.

Strong convention language that complies with existing human rights law would be an invaluable tool for confronting impunity and enhancing state efforts to prevent and punish gender-based crimes. However, a text that does not understand gender could sideline women and other marginalized victims and result in even greater impunity for gender-based crimes amounting to crimes against humanity.

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