Enabling Access to Justice is Crucial to Building Inclusive Societies

Nov 17, 2012

(from left to right) Mr Marcus Brand, Human Rights and Access to Justice Advisor, UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Centre; Ms Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, India; Dr Ashwani Kumar, Honorable Minister of Law and Justice; Mr D.K. Sikri, Secretary, Department of Justice (DoJ), Ministry of Law and Justice; Mr Atul Kaushik, Joint Secretary, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice.

New Delhi -  “Injustice caused through disability of any kind is our focus and requires sustained efforts to ensure that we eliminate all the barriers that result in failure of justice, said Honorable Minister of Law and Justice, Dr. Ashwani Kumar.

He was speaking at a two-day international conference of experts that started today in New Delhi, organized by the Department of Justice in the Government of India and UNDP, to share best practices towards improving access to legal aid for the poor and marginalized.

Outlining the importance of legal aid as a tool of empowerment, the Minister stressed that “The right to legal aid is not merely a constitutional directive or statutory right but is an unalienable and integral part of the basic fabric of the Constitution of India.”

The conference has brought together representatives from 20 countries to discuss legal empowerment and exchange views on strengthening the capacity of the institutions responsible for ensuring equitable access to justice.

Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, “Improving access to justice is essential for expanding poor people’s choices, ensuring that they benefit from India’s progressive legal provisions and are able to break the cycle of exclusion.”

Since 2009, the UNDP-Department of Justice Partnership on access to justice has reached out to over two million people across 87 districts with the aim of improving the institutional capacities of justice service providers. Initiatives focus on ways to empower communities to demand justice and secure entitlements under rights-based legislations and government schemes.

Contact information

Kanta Singh; 9811301315; kanta.singh@undp.org

Swati Mehta; 9711487010; swati.mehta@undp.org

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