UNDP, with support from the Government of Germany, to strengthen access to justice mechanisms for the most vulnerable and marginalized

05 May 2011

Disadvantaged communities across the world, often find it difficult to access justice redress mechanisms for a number of reasons. Lack of awareness and access on the part of the claimant and insufficient capacity on the part of service-providers, are often reasons which lead to a breakdown of trust in the justice system.  The Government of Sri Lanka has taken a number of important steps to restore people’s faith in the legal system, including scaling up its implementation of the Equal Access to Justice (A2J) Project.  The scale-up of the A2J project has been made possible with support of over $2 million (1,511,433 Euros) from Germany over the coming two years (2011-2012).
 
The additional resources made available by the Government of Germany focus on increasing A2J’s support to the court system, training of government officials, including language training, legal aid, alternative grievance redress mechanisms, prisons, and alternative sentencing.  This additional support deepens A2J’s commitment to disadvantaged groups, including conflict affected persons, vulnerable women and prisoners held on remand. 
 
The key objective of the A2J project is to strengthen the justice sector by working at two levels : at one level, it works with service provides to better equip them to deal with the grievances experienced by disadvantaged groups; at a second level, it works with disadvantaged groups to help them access legal services.
 
This is the second phase of the Equal Access to Justice Project, which started in 2004, with the support of UNDP. The second phase is implemented by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration. In addition, the project works in close partnership with the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Land & Land Development, Legal Aid Commission, Bar Association of Sri Lanka, and selected NGOs and community based organizations.