Making Justice Work for the Marginalized
What is the project about?
Poor access to justice has been a critical barrier to human development in the Philippines. In the absence of justice, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable for their actions.
To defend their rights, the marginalized sectors, especially IPs and women, must have access to justice that is not only fair and equitable, but also cost-effective and efficient. This will require substantive investment in capacity development not only of the justice system, but that of grassroots level organizations as well, who represent the voice and interests of the marginalized and disadvantaged. Interventions under the programme will continue to support processes of systemic change through which the marginalized are protected and enabled to use the law to advance their rights and their interests as citizens and actors in development. It will approach development from the bottom up, empowering people to demand and exercise their rights while at the same time strengthening mechanisms and processes to better respond to the needs of the marginalized. This includes the strengthening legal identity, voice and standing of the marginalized to ensure an inclusive development process.
Strategic interventions under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Country Programme Document (CPD) from 2012 to 2016 will therefore be two-fold:
- To uncover barriers equality in justice systems that restricts access to justice and human rights of marginalized sectors; and
- To propose ways to address these barriers either by way of capacity development, strengthening enabling structures / systems and promoting reform to improve policy environment in the justice sector.
In terms of strengthening Indigenous Justice, the project will seek to establish interfacing mechanisms between the formal and informal justice that promotes the rule of law and respect for human rights. A capacity development program will be provided for IP judges, alternative law groups and other IP support groups on the informal / formal justice system. Moreover, procedural guidelines in the justice system will be reviewed and strengthened. In order to enhance customary law as a system to redress IP grievances, a UNDP will assist government and the judiciary in formulating a new policy direction. Effective mechanisms at both the national and local levels to provide independent advice to justice pillars on law and justice issues affecting IPs established; alternative dispute mechanisms are documented and promoted.
To promote Environmental Justice, the project will not only strengthen the role that governance plays in managing the environment, but also the rights, obligations, and responsibilities that stakeholders have in ensuring a safe and sustainable environment for all. To this end, the proposed UNDP definition of “environmental governance” places green rights at the center of the concept. The concept of green governance can be used as a lens to uncover and bring to the fore pressing governance issues that violate the peoples’ right to a safe and sustainable environment. UNDP will then calibrate on-going projects of the Democratic Governance Unit to address these issues, in partnership with the Environment portfolio.
The project also aims to promote the Legal Empowerment of the Poor and other marginalized groups, so that citizens are protected and able to use the law to advance their rights and interests. To this end, the importance of legal protection and rule of law and how they are linked to poverty and exclusion will be emphasized, to the extent that poverty is not a social reality but rather a result of weaknesses and inadequacies in policies, mechanisms, and markets.
This project will advance legal empowerment of the poor by empowering both duty-bearers and claimholders to fulfill their mandate and claim their right to justice. On the side of the duty-bearers, orientation programmes will be provided for key agencies involved with basic sector issues, while for a between government and the basic sectors will be organized to through the revision and dissemination of focused manuals, that aim to increase citizens awareness of their fundamental rights, as well as how they can access justice, and attain the progressive fulfillment of these rights.
What have we accomplished so far?
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Delivery in previous fiscal year
- Project start date:
- January 2012
- Estimated end date:
- December 2016
- Geographic coverage:
- National but with affirmative action for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
- Focus Area:
- Democratic Governance
- MDGs 1, 3, 7 and 8
- Project officer:
- Emmanuel E. Buendia, Team Leader, Democratic Governance
- Supreme Court of the Philippines, Philippine Judicial Academy, Alternative Law Groups