Join Justice For All for the February coalition call meeting on Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 10 am EST. We will be joined by other experts on some upcoming opportunities on engaging with the SDG VNR and OGP processes.
We hope to see you there! Please mention any other community members who might be interested in joining with an @NAME.
Hello colleague, can we join you even when speaking in French, we have many challenges to face human rights abusers in Eastern DRC, but we are still active to see if we can eradicate some challenges in the end of good respect for human rights by doing the legal empowerment campaigns, we are always together and make sure to help us mobilize the fund to help us to clear the right humais we are always at the looking for him who can support us in the small humanitarian activities we are doing in eastern DRC
Thank you @GostinKyubwa - you are more than welcome to join the calls and we hope you will share your experiences in DRC. At this stage, the calls are available in English, but please feel free to post any follow up questions or comments in your language in this post and we will do our best to address them during and after the call.
Thank you for these comprehensive call notes. Some small clarifications on the VNR Workshop in SA. The workshop is completely full right now and we cannot accommodate more participants in person. I’d be happy to provide feedback from this workshop. The workshop is supported by both the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Mott Foundation.
Here’s a summary of the August 2019 Coalition call
@cocolammers started the call by introducing the High-Level Political Forum (Governments Report on progress SDGs), citing this year, in particular, as an important because SDG 16 which includes a commitment to ensure equal access to justice for All was reviewed for the first time during the HLPF.
This was an important time for the community to come together and show progress around the campaign alongside governments and civil society specifically on grassroots approaches to legal empowerment and also highlight some of the challenges we face in implementing this agenda.
@cocolammers then invited Gabriela to share updates and she started with her participation in the HLPF including:
There was a Side event with other organizations including (FEMA) from Chile and a regional campaign for the signing and ratification of the Escazu agreement toward explaining and discussing how this agreement helps to advance the SDGs especially the Goal on access to justice for all.
The event was organized by World Justice Institute, Namati, Dar from Peru, Civicus, ECLAC (Executive secretary of the Escazu agreement) and Ambassadors of Uruguay and Peru towards discussing how the agreement helps to ensure the environmental rights for Latin American and Caribbean Group
Her participation in the event was to shed light on what the main barriers were on vulnerable groups within the region when they try to access Justice in environmental issues and how the Escazu agreement sets new standards and minimum guarantees to overcome those barriers and to also advance SDG 16
The barriers were discussed as generally related to violence within the region which according to Global Witness is one of the most dangerous regions for environmental organizations, human rights and land defenders in protecting the environment and fighting for their rights
States that ratify this agreement have to establish different mechanisms including policies towards creating a safe environment for these defenders and ensure they can work safely and access their rights
Chile: reported some actions on this goal
There is a current campaign to not only report general actions on access to justice but also to have specific measures for access to justice towards having better policies regarding vulnerable groups
This is an important year because by September (the next climate summit) and the next SDG summit for the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean to sign and ratify this agreement
The next Steps are:
To continue working towards the climate change summit in September and December; to have states ratify this agreement towards raising standards and protection of the most vulnerable groups and challenged the members to support the campaign and the different organizations working on this
It is however noteworthy that only a handful of countries have ratified this agreement thus far and there was still more to do.
** High-Level Dinner with The Elders**
The Elders earlier this year launched a new access to justice strategy that really promotes the idea of legal empowerment and grassroots approaches to justice as a method for accelerating action for the SDGs and there was also a High-Level dinner event.
Was in a roundtable with colleagues towards the improvement of the implementation of goal 16 (Access to justice initiative by Open Society, Ministry of Justice Argentina and Ambassadors towards including a new indicator for goal 16 that measures the different standards of Goal 16 (civil justice indicator)
Taskforce on justice shared the campaign and the initiative they are working on with OECD on the new civil justice indicator
As the only representative from CSOs Gabriela asked how they could help the initiative, Identifying the first step as including this demand of a civil justice indicator in the grassroots justice defenders work in their countries and also include the shadow report to give information on civil justice while also including countries governments’ recommendations in a Shadow report
Acknowledging the excitement in seeing momentum on Escazu Agreement @cocolamers then highlighted some of the key moments of the HLPF
Justice for all was a major theme throughout the HLPF (themes of access grassroots justice and legal empowerment were very present) and specifically the need for greater financing and protection for Grassroots Justice Defenders were featured throughout the two weeks ranging from policy products and HIgh-Level remarks from policymakers (including a key remark) to key discussions, Hashtag #Justice For All was trending throughout the week
The Justice For All campaign ensured that the voices of Grassroots Justice Defenders were heard by High-level people (policy and decision-makers in the spaces) including the announcement of the winners of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize winners at a High-Level Justice event including other events
Regional priorities on access to justice were promoted and featured in an exciting way e.g. the Escazu agreement. There was a deliberate focus on not just global campaigns but also regional ones
National progress on access to justice was reported on; Chile presented their Voluntary National Review Report alongside 46 other with a number of them including specific references to access to justice and people-centered approaches and grassroots centered approaches to justice like legal empowerment
A number of grassroots justice organizations and legal empowerment organizations have and are planning on preparing complimentary reports access to justice highlighting the real situation including gaps and opportunities for accelerating progress in their contexts
There was a case made for more commitments and localization of the Goal 16 agenda moving forward with next year marking five years since the adoption of the Sustainable development goals commitment with next year an opportunity to show what has happened in five years since the adoption of the sustainable development goal agenda
Themes that came out were to focus more on commitments and not just gaps and challenges through localization of the agenda by supporting National and local level effort who will accelerate this agenda
For more information, you can follow the post below
@staceycram then gave an update on the justice events that took place in the week
A high-level event that focussed on Justice for All. The launch of the pathfinders task force report on justice as it’s official nation’s launch
The 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize by the Global Legal Empowerment Network winners announcement
@staceycram then underscored how different way in which the event was done in the past seeing Grassroots Justice Defenders and High Level Political Heads of State and dignitaries collaboratively coming together towards discussing what are the key ways to combat access to justice and a more holistic understanding of what justice means with Grassroots Justice Defenders representing a number of issues including housing, immigration rights, access to healthcare.
Representatives from a number of countries highlighting and speaking to the global nature of the event
There was a greater understanding of access to justice and recognition of the number of people lacking access to justice having increased in the last ten years. It came through very strongly in this event including the remarks of the secretary-general who in his oral review of the event quoted the number of 5.1 billion people lacking access to justice and tackling this injustice as key way to address the SDG agenda
There was also live streaming to two events:
a) Mary Robinson and Hina Jelani of the Elders talking with the winners of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize @BLAST in Bangladesh @VidaLife / Urbana from United States) and @Nirman from India
b) An event more focussed on hearing voices of grassroots justice defenders in the university (stacey to share links) that took place in the University in partnership with the Bernstein Institute
Production of useful resources including:
a) A summary document that listed what countries reported through their VNRs with commitments from Indonesia, Litchstenstein, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Ghana, the Central African Republic in their VNRs, etc
b) A Document from the dutch government who have committed to doubling their commitment to access to justice speaking to the financing component of the campaign
Launch of the “Missing” campaign towards accelerating progress in increasing the number of commitments looking to the UNGA that sought to highlight both the scale of the problem and more so the pathways to solving the justice gap including looking at what countries are doing and encouraging those at the UN and at home to make these concrete actions and commitments within their governments or organizations
A member of the Global Legal Empowerment Network and finalist of the Grassroots Justice Prize (Women’s Justice Initiative) from Guatemala were also selected for the SDG 16+ stories campaign (that saw 200 organizations submit videos) to come share their work on implementing SDG 16 at the grassroots level) in front of policy makers government and civil society
With very comprehensive updates on the High-Level Political Forum joel from the World Justice Initiative went ahead to give an update on the Status of Civil Justice indicator highlighting some challenges:
The proposal was accepted in June for inclusion and review. The last couple of weeks saw an additional meeting of the IAG to look at all proposals submitted so far and took a soft vote, there was some objection to the inclusion of the new indicator. Citing the use of legal means surveys and the need to build a new data collection mechanism or adding a new module to national surveys was objected to by some members of the committee leaving the indicator not included in the open consultation
The team is currently working with UNDP and OECD on potentially including a revised indicator on the framework, with concerns currently being addressed and perhaps submitting a simplified version
A decision to be made this week on the next course of action
Getting an indicator in the open consultation process would be helpful
This is an ongoing process and the review isn’t the end
There is a group putting together a Handbook on how to collect government statistics including civil justice
Commiting to have more information on the week’s end
@staceycram then asked whether there were any particularly anti parties
Joel clarified that they did not know specific countries that objected but atleast 10 from a variety of regions
Share Pathfinders document about the HLPF
This document shares what countries have shared in reports
With Joel’s update @davidarach then led the update on Kenya starting with some context
60% of Kenya’s land categorized as community land who use it for livelihoods and settlement. These lands are unfortunately under threat including mining and large infrastructural development and communities have lost their lands in anticipation of further discoveries
*In 2016 the government of Kenya passed a progressive law that gives communities the opportunity to claim and register their lands by devolving the administration and governance of land to local communities requiring that communities organize themselves, define and describe their claims and that the communities draft bylaws they will use to govern their lands and setup their governance structure (with these requirements they can then approach government and apply for registration
*However to date no community has applied for the registration since the law was passed with reasons including no knowledge of the law. The government has not done any awareness campaign on this law despite it being their responsibility as prescribed in the law leaving communities at continued risk in losing their lands
*In the spirit of legal empowerment, CLP has through a rigorous process been working with communities to ensure that they draft bylaws that ensures inclusivity in decision making, a democratic governance mechanism, inclusive dispute resolution and accountability within the communities.
After working with communities for this whole time, the CLPteam spoke to them about their rights including the roles and responsibilities of government and
Communities (being facilitated to the Capital City by the CLP team) decided to walk to the Ministry donning their traditional regalia showing a true demonstration of power in masses
The Ministry who was always silent when CSOs approached them quickly acted; receiving all the communities’ applications and stamping them
The communities were then promised a response within the next four months and that their applications would be processed speaking a great deal to the power of masses and communities being organized in demanding for their rights
Within the discussions, it was quite noteworthy that legal empowerment is still very crucial in opening up the democratic space within the country and to sustain efforts in promoting democracy and the rule of law
The team is hoping to have another meet and greet towards building upon earlier conversations including areas members are working on and collaboration
For more information on the meet and greet follow the post below
Regional updates by @aimeeongesso
Dar es Salaam conference
It was convened in December 2018 in Dares Salam bringing together governments and civil society from the East Arfocan States
They signed an MOU at national level committing state and non state actors to work together to promote legal empowerment and legal aid in their respective countries
This year, following the Dares Salam convening; civil society organizations met towards identifying how far they have come in respect to that MOU
However there was a gap noted; of lack collaboration and coordination between the East African States in trying to address the legal empowerment agenda
There will be another meeting to explore how collaboration can be taken further with this Est African grouping working on a technical secretariat that will be in charge of coordinating legal empowerment efforts at the regional level
At national level there are network members such as Kituo Cha Sheria, ICJ Kenya and the Legal Resources Foundation working on a paralegal curriculum together with the National Legal Aid service presenting opportunities for network members to engage
ICJ and Paralegal Support Network (PASUNE) in Kenya are working to mentor South Sudan (who are recovering from war) within the legal empowerment space by helping in drafting their legal empowerment bills and policies
The Asia Pro Bono conference
Will be happening in Nepal from September 13 to 15 (a week or two before the UNGA) bringing together practitioners in the legal empowerment space and Grassroots Justice Defenders and advocates and governments and policymakers.
This is an important moment to link these themes for regional priorities and also at the global level
There will be high-level justice events focussing on grassroots justice and legal empowerment including promoting ideas of people-centered justice approaches which the Pathfinders task force on Justice is also promoting
Coming to the end of the call @cocolammers transitioned into forward-looking action
With the UNGA looming and the SDG agenda entering four years the SDG agenda will be reviewed by governments for the first time
Missing Campaign (Coco)
Focus on trying to garner as many commitments as possible leading up to the UNGA with both governments, civil society and the private sector coming together to collectively say what they will do to take action on this agenda
A fun and interactive way to submit your tips for solving the case of JusticeForAll missing and accelerating progress on SDG 16
What to do about it> the campaign is soliciting ideas on how we want to accelerate progress or how you are already accelerating progress on these issues through the website Help Crack the Case! - Justice For All
Having solicited the ideas
They will be presented meaningfully at the UNGA alongside governments made on this agenda
Officially register commitments with the United Nations in their registry and taken seriously in the big global level
UNGA SDG Summit
The first time the whole SDG agenda is being reviewed at the highest state level reviewed by governments
All countries will give an update on how they are supporting, delivering and getting along with the delivery of fulfillment of the SDG summit,
There is still time to influence countries delegation
Try to get in commitments and reflection on SDG 16 or 16+ agenda and use this report as a tool to hold them accountable
Increase media coverage on this agenda
The campaign will be working to influence countries we have been working with to ensure the message is vocal
The overall political statement will be released around the general assembly that has reference to access to justice (currently being translated to be shared when available)
We will be finding speaking opportunities for people if you will be at the UNGA (events are still being developed and processed)
UNGA not only focussed on SDGs
Follow up with country-level delegation to influence report
A political statement has been negotiated but people can still influence these statements
@staceycram then invited anyone who would be at the UNGA to give an update in the cal
Access to justice on environmental issues presented an opportunity to explore how legal empowerment will advance the climate movement (environmental and land issues)
Universal Health Care Day
It will focus mainly on how to deliver healthcare for all
Access to justice is central to universal healthcare
There will be a concerted effort towards raising noise on this issue
The call then ended with optimism on seeing a lot of commitments and potentially, some events being finalized towards the UNGA.
Following an eventful couple of months, we are excited to share more updates on the campaign and mostly hear from you about what the past month has been like as we continue to champion the cause of Justice For All
A few things to look forward to this month:
Updates on the campaign to champion for the inclusion of the civil justice indicator on the SDGs
The campaign to register justice commitments with UNDESA
Updates leading into the UN General Assembly at the end of September
National and regional updates from members
This month’s campaign coalition call shall be on the 10th of September 2019
In case you haven’t yet, please register for this month’s coalition call which will be tomorrow through the link below
@exchange_2018kenya it has been a while since we heard from you on the forum, feel free to let us know on how you are each advancing Justice for All in your organizations as some of you look to participate in the Asia ProBono Conference.
Join Justice For All for the October coalition call meeting on Tuesday 8 October 2019 at 10 am EST. We will be joined by other network members who will be reporting back from the UNGA and updating on the new commitments that have been made to accelerate action on justice. We will also hear updates on the new civil justice indicator, the climate summit, Asia Pro Bono conference and updates from colleagues in Latin America.
We hope to see you there! Please mention any other community members who might be interested in joining!
Sharing the notes from last month’s Justice For All Coalition Call. Don’t forget, if you missed the call you can always access the recording. Look forward to seeing everyone for the November call taking place next Tuesday, November 12th. If you need to register you can sign up any time here.