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On Binaries, Blind Spots, and Shades of Gray: The UN Report on LGBTQ+ Persons in Armed Conflict

“I'd prefer it if you shoot me in the head.” These were the words of a young gay man in Syria in 2015 who knew his fate was to be thrown from the roof of a high-rise building after being convicted by ISIS for sodomy. The persecution, targeting and rape of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and plus (LGBTQ+) persons in some provinces in Colombia was systematic and, often, part of a tactic of social control. In 2017, in the Eastern parts of Ukraine, LGBTQ+ persons have been persecuted and forced to flee their homes and in 2022 there have also been reports of Ukrainian transgender women who have been prohibited to leave their war-torn country during martial law as they were marked as men. In other conflicts and situations of violence, including in Yemen, Libya, Myanmar and Afghanistan, LGBTQ+ persons have been subjected to rape and other forms of gender-based violence. These and many other examples could be marshalled to illustrate that LGBTQ+…

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The Gender of Treaty Withdrawal: Lessons from the Istanbul Convention

In the early hours of 20 March 2021 the Turkish Official Gazette announced—in a one sentence statement that offered no explanation—that the President Erdoğan had decided to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe treaty on preventing and combating violence against women. Two days later, the Communication Directorate of the President offered this justification: “The…

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The Debate on the Debate on Xinjiang at the Human Rights Council: Three Framings

For all the nice talk about human rights and accountability, on 6 October 2022, a majority of States at the Human Rights Council (HRC) voted against even debating – let alone investigating – the findings of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation in the Xinjiang, China. On…

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Of Mazes and Layers: Can a UN Convention on Tax Change the Rules of the Game?

The Maze Last month, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) tabled a draft resolution calling for the elaboration of a UN convention on international tax cooperation. Lauded by civil society as “a chance of legitimate, inclusive rule-setting” the initiative is yet to be remarked on, or acknowledged by,…

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Could Russia again invoke its “essential security interests” in relation to the war in Ukraine?

I. Introduction Most recently, it seems that Russia will not initiate its withdrawal from the WTO, and has many investment treaties that are still in force. At present, there is still a possibility that investors may seek to bring claims under these investment treaties in relation to the measures taken by Russia arising out of its…

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