This month’s featured resource is From the Global to the Local: Leveraging International Engagement to Advance Justice at Home by Network member Maha Jweied (@mahajweied), fellow at the Center on International Cooperation and advisor to the Pathfinders for Justice.
This policy paper sets out how the former U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice leveraged international activity and mechanisms, including the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to advance its domestic priorities. The strategy resulted in notable accomplishments and even protected a number of them after the office was closed in 2018. The paper recommends that the incoming Biden-Harris Administration reestablish the Office for Access to Justice, revitalize the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable charged with implementing Goal 16 for the United States, link U.S. domestic priorities to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and prioritize the United States’ role as a leader in the global movement for equal justice for all.
This paper describes how this global-to-local strategy works and details its benefits:
The first part describes how the Office for Access to Justice leveraged international mechanisms and processesto advance its domestic mission. This activity not only helped the office achieve its priorities – such asincreasing resources for indigent defense providers and institutionalizing and elevating federal engagement oncivil legal aid – it also helped to protect the work of the office after it was closed in 2018.
The second part explains the benefits of international engagement for government, civil society, the public, andthe private sector using efforts tied to improving access to justice as an example. Importantly, this strategy andits benefits are not reserved for access to justice, but can be employed to advance other human rights, anti-poverty priorities, and implementation of all the Sustainable Development Goals.
It concludes with recommendations for the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to recommit the federalgovernment to responding to the access to justice crisis and reengage with the international community tofurther its domestic policy agenda.
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The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to [email protected]