Access to justice and sustainable development: the missing link?

Access to justice and developmentNewsOthers

Brussels, 16 June 2016 – Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensuring equal access to justice for all are part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. The effectiveness of justice and the rule of law are central to the establishment of sustainable peace and development in post-conflict countries. But how can we prove this? This is the question raised by ASF during the European Development Days.   Millions of people worldwide do not have access to justice to assert their fundamental rights. However, development actors agree that building up the rule of law and access to justice are essential to fight inequalities and support sustainable development. To this end, promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensuring equal access to justice for all (Goal 16, target 16.3) is innovative as it extends the scope of the Sustainable Development Goals to 2030. ‘The challenge today is to prove that access to justice improves people’s living conditions in the long-term’, states Julien Moriceau, research coordinator for ASF. ‘Women and marginalised groups often only have very limited access to justice. Are international aid programmes focused on these groups really effective? How to build the trust among the population towards institutions involved in conflicts?’, asks the coordinator. The response to these challenges could lie in setting up legal aid services locally, closer to marginalised groups, for example, in rural or suburban areas, developing alternative dispute resolutions and legal empowerment of rights holders. ‘We need to consider access to justice beyond the legal institutions and offer effective remedies for the realisation of fundamental rights’, concludes Julien Moriceau. This message was shared at a lively session during the European Development Days (EDD) last week in Brussels, in association with the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. Organised by the EU, EDD are Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation.
Photo: S. Havyarimana (ASF), Dr. I. Chaara (Oxford University), Dr. J. Beqiraj (The Bingham Center for the Rule of Law) and J. Moriceau (ASF).