Justice Action Update
Working for people-centered justice while the world is on fire feels a bit like renovating your basement while the roof is being blown off your house. Does it make any sense to keep going? Our answer is — not surprisingly — yes, because the foundations of our societies are deteriorating, and our institutions are in urgent need of repair.
In the words of the UN Secretary-General: “There is a growing disconnect between people and the institutions that serve them, with many feeling left behind and no longer confident that the system is working for them.” This is not a global North or a global South issue — it is relevant in every country of the world. This mismatch between what our institutions offer and what people need, is perhaps most relevant in the justice sector.
One year ago, a group of countries formed the Justice Action Coalition and wrote to the UN Secretary-General: “We believe that transforming justice, by putting people at the center, is key to reviving the bonds that hold our societies together, and to re-establishing trust between people and communities, and governments.”
This first edition of the Justice Action Update reports on recent activity of the Justice Action Coalition, includes an overview of new data and evidence on people-centered justice, and contains a calendar high-lighting upcoming events and meetings.
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The senior level meeting of the coalition last November, focused on increased collaboration in the lead up to the 2023 SDG Summit. It resulted in an agreed Joint Action Plan which includes a list of national and international priorities as well as joint deliverables. These joint deliverables will be produced by and with organizations working on people-centered justice.
A group of partners met for a Justice Strategy Day on 8 March 2022 in Washington DC, to discuss plans to shape the workstreams and joint deliverables. The meeting was an informal exchange, generously hosted by the World Justice Project and with participants from HiiL, WJP, IDLO IDRC, OECD, OGP, Pathfinders, the Netherlands, UNDP, UN Women and USAID.
Participants agreed to work together on a set of joint deliverables on people-centered justice for 2023, expressed willingness to support countries that make the pivot towards people-centered justice and discussed the idea of creating a more permanent structure that coordinates and amplifies efforts to put people at the center of justice and brainstormed modalities.
The first Senior Level Meeting was held on April 14, 2022, exactly one year after the Ministerial meeting which launched the Justice Action Coalition. Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Liberia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United States, and Zambia were represented, as were participants from The Elders, g7+, HiiL, ICTJ, IDLO, OECD, OGP, Pathfinders, UNDP, UN Women, UN’s EOSG, and WJP.
Participants discussed the proposed outcomes for the Ministerial Meeting on 30 May 2022, including launching the Justice Appeal 2023 and the formation of a task team to develop a more permanent structure for the coalition. They shared national updates and plans and reviewed the updated joint deliverables for the coalition for 2023.
Canada in the spotlight
Gathering and analyzing people-centered justice data to steer the transformation of justice systems sits at the core of the work of the Justice Action Coalition. In this update we put the spotlight on Justice Canada for its work in collecting people-centered justice data.
- The Canadian Legal Problems Survey identifies the serious legal problems people face, how they attempted to resolve them, and how these experiences impacted their lives. The survey was conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Department of Justice Canada and other federal departments and had 30.000 respondents.
- A series of qualitative studies explore and report on the experiences of specific populations including those left furthest behind, were conducted by Justice Canada to complement the survey. Community-based researchers were contracted to conduct the studies which focused on problems faced by;
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and other sexual-minority people,
- Immigrants in British Columbia,
- Immigrants in Ontario,
- People with disabilities living in Atlantic Canada,
- People with disabilities in Central Canada,
- Diverse people with disabilities,
- Black Canadians and,
- Young Black Canadians.
- Justice Canada has shared data and methodologies and has supported other Justice Coalition member states in refining their own processes through knowledge exchanges. Such exchanges are helpful as they allow countries to share experiences, challenges, and best practices.
World Justice Forum
Join the largest global event on justice this year, the World Justice Forum, in The Hague from 30 May-3 June. If you can’t make it to The Hague, then be sure to participate online, but in any case: register now!
The program looks amazing and includes, from the Pathfinders side and amongst many others, the Ministerial meeting and a senior level meeting of the Justice Action Coalition, the launch of the Ibero-American Justice Alliance, and events organized by the Young Justice Leaders, the Justice for Children Working Group and the Working Group on Customary and Informal Justice.
Opinions, blogs and other news
- Hila Jilani, of the Elders, shared her reflections on the current situation in Ukraine and reminded the importance of access to justice and steps needed to be taken to ensure it.
- Roger Duthie, from the ICTJ, published an article on the preventative role of transitional justice and its relationship with peace processes.
- Sam Muller of HiiL, and Maaike de Langen of Pathfinders wrote on Devex: We must talk about better justice systems, proposing four concrete actions to deliver people-centered justice.
- USAID has released its first ever Rule of Law policy for external review. The policy shifts the Rule of Law paradigm to people-centered justice.
- Sara Hossain of BLAST and Sam Muller of HiiL, were invited to speak as experts during informal consultations in which UN member states debated Our Common Agenda.
- Sarah Papineau made statements on behalf of IDLO at the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee and at the Thematic Consultation on Our Common Agenda
- Pathfinders announced the first ever cohort of Young Justice Leaders, representing all regions, diverse areas of expertise and a variety of backgrounds.
- Maha Jweied presented an overview of all justice commitments made by OGP members in their National Action Plans, in her paper Taking Action for Justice.
Latest reports on people-centered justice
- The Elders launched a policy brief on the importance of closing the justice gap for women and strengthening the rule of law post- COVID-19.
- HiiL published three policy briefs about Gamechangers for people-centered justice, on community justice services, user-friendly contracts and one-stop shop dispute resolutions.
- International Legal Foundation released a report on Nepal’s juvenile justice system, for which every child in detention in Nepal was surveyed.
- UN Women and UNDP launched a gender justice platform and presented its first report on the meaningful participation of women in transitional justice.
- IDLO published a report on climate justice for women and girls which calls for enhancing women’s rights to land and resources, empowering them to claim environmental rights, and strengthening regulatory frameworks and capacity for feminist action.
- UN DESA, IDLO and the Government of Italy are organizing the SDG 16 Conference 2022, to be held from 21 to 22 April in a hybrid format, focused on a people-centered approach to governance.
- The World Justice Forum will be held in The Hague from 30 May-3 June (see above).
- The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) will be held from 5–15 July 2022 on Building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Get in touch!
Have an event, report or activity related to people-centered justice that you would like to see featured in this update? Contact: Themba.Mahleka@nyu.edu
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