Gudfala moning to

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs Dr. Paul Mae

Australian High Commissioner Dr. Lachlan Strahan

Permanent secretary Ms. Karin Qalokale

Public solicitor Mr. Howard Lowry

Senior govenrment officals

Diplomatic corps

Development partners

Civil society organzations

Youth and women leaders

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

Nem blong me, Levan Bouadze and I am the UNDP Regional Representative, based in Fiji. It is a pleasure to be here in Honiara to launch the Solomon Islands Access to Justice Study and indeed, to open the Disability Sector Collaboration Workshop. It is excellent to see such wide representation from government ministries, justice sector agencies and civil society here this morning- a clear reflection of the sector wide commitment to the 2030 Agenda.

Sustainable Development Goals

A peaceful and inclusive society with equal access to justice and strong institutions is essential to many of the other challenges which are being faced today- which is why Sustainable Development Goal 16 is fundamental to achieving the 17 SDGs.

Background to the Access to Justice Study and the Access to Justice Project

The Solomon Islands Access to Justice Study was supported by the Australian Government and UNDP and overseen by the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Access to Justice Technical Working Group. The Study serves as an evidence base on which to develop partnerships to enhance confidence in and experience of the justice system in the Solomon Islands.

A noteworthy finding from the study was that many women and people with disabilities do not know about their rights or how to channel their complaints. Such a finding is part of the same narrative the world over regarding the experience of marginalized groups and their access to the justice sector.

Globally, UNDP implements access to justice projects by supporting national partners to address justice through a human rights-based approach, to expand access to justice, particularly for women, youth, people with disabilities, marginalized groups and displaced communities.

Guided by the A2J Study, the Solomon Islands Access to Justice project, supported by the Australian Government and implemented by UNDP seeks to do just that in supporting the Public Solicitors Office to expand its reach in the provinces with the deployment of paralegals and community legal advocates.

The link with the workshop

The Access to Justice Study also revealed that people with disabilities are more pessimistic about justice services overall and reported low levels of awareness and accessibility to different justice institutions. Furthermore, the Study highlighted the need for practical accommodations to make service provision for people with disabilities more accessible and appropriate.

As part of the Access to Justice Project, and in partnership with People with Disabilities Solomon Islands, the disability sector collaboration workshop which will take place over the next two days provides the opportunity to discuss collaborative initiatives in the region and the Solomon Islands to include legal aid clinics and legal outreach and awareness for people with disabilities.

Acknowledgements 

 would like to express UNDP’s appreciation to the Solomon Islands Government, particularly the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and the Public Solicitors Office for our strong partnerships and support for this study, the A2J Project and for the ongoing commitment to enhancing access to justice. We look forward to continuing this collaboration into the future.  

I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to the Australian Government through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their continuing support to the Access to Justice Project. 

The collaboration and partnership of stakeholders to achieve a common goal requires determination, leadership and creativity and it is clear that today is another step on the journey to achieve equal access to justice for all. 

To close

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I trust that the Access to Justice Study will provide an evidence base from which to inform further justice initiatives and I look forward to hearing about such initiative’s in the future.

To the participants of the disability sector collaboration workshop, I wish you all the best in your deliberations over the next two days .

Tagio tumas and I wish you all a blessed day.

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