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Print this pageProgramming for Justice: Access for All



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CRIN Guides and Toolkits


United Nations Development Programme, Bangkok


A Practitioner's Guide to a Human Rights-Based Approach to Access to Justice.

PDF document

The linkages between human rights and development have been highlighted by a growing amount of literature over the past few years. However, handbooks that provide practical guidance on how to link the two are still rare. In this context this Practitioner’s Guide, Programming for Justice: Access for All, provides an excellent and long overdue contribution in highlighting practical linkages between the different components of the justice sector and the normative framework of human rights.

This Guidebook primarily addresses UNDP staff who have the responsibility of supporting programmes to secure the human rights of people afflicted by poverty and other disadvantages in  developing countries. It would be useful also to their counterparts in governments and civil society organisations.

The Guide has been produced by UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Rights and Justice Initiative. UNDP embarked on this endeavor in August 2002 to engage in systematic knowledge sharing with one of the intended end results to produce a handbook with practical suggestions for implementing access to justice programmes. Since then, facilitated by the Bangkok and Kathmandu SURFs, half a dozen regional workshops have been held, hundreds of projects have been screened and “deconstructed” to codify useful lessons and a multitude of ideas have been exchanged on the access to justice knowledge network. Meanwhile, the Initiative has continued to grow, with 16 UNDP country offices and more than 30 UNDP country office practitioners now involved in the Initiative, sharing their knowledge and experience with each other.

Two aspects of the Initiative need to be highlighted because they were instrumental in preparing this Guide:

First, a UNDP community of practice was at the heart of the undertaking, meaning that the generation, codification and dissemination of knowledge happened primarily through practitioners rather than theoreticians. We believe that the practical orientation and the focus on translating concepts into action are reflected in the structure and content of this guide.

Second, the Initiative applied a human rights-based approach to development by advocating (a) the use of relevant human rights standards as a roadmap for policy change; (b) the voice of disadvantaged people; (c) the establishment of a clear framework for accountability in development; and (c) the analysis of conflict risks and power inequalities in development efforts.

Drawing on experiences and lessons learned from different access to justice interventions within the Asia-Pacific and sometimes beyond, this Practitioner’s Guide discusses a wide range of obstacles and capacity development strategies to enhance access to justice. The formal and informal systems of justice, legal aid and empowerment as well as specific obstacles facing disadvantaged groups and those in conflict situations in terms of their ability to access justice are all examined in the different sections of the Guide.

The various entry points suggested in the Guide should not be seen as prescriptive, since strategies will need to be tailored to specific development problems or obstacles. Instead, the Guide offers a methodology to assess problems in access to justice and design tailored responses.

The suggestions made in the Guide are already being pilot tested by UNDP, at both the country and regional levels. This exercise is being supported by the regional governance portfolio of programmes implemented by the Regional Center in Bangkok, in collaborative partnership with the Bureau for Development Policy. Donors, as well as national and regional institutional partners have all contributed to this product, and are expected to be critical actors in furthering this exercise. We welcome their continued involvement in the future and fruition of this initiative. As more lessons are learned from the application of the manual, we will update the Guide to ensure that it remains dynamic and applicable to a variety of development contexts.

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Last updated 17/08/2011 03:59:22

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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