Remarks - Launch of the Social Justice Project
January 12, 2023
Thursday, 12 January 2023, 9:00 am at Ministry of Justice
- Hon Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice
- Hon. Marlene Malahoo-Forte, KC, MP JP, Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs
- Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development, Canada
- Hon. Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes, OJ, CD, Chief Justice of Jamaica
- Dr. Derrick McKoy, CD, JP, Attorney General of Jamaica
- H.E. Emina Tudakovic - High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica
- Mrs. Grace-Ann Stewart McFarlane, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice (& the moderator of the event)
- Ms. Paula Llewellyn, CD, KC, Director of Public Prosecutions
- Members of the media
- Other distinguished guests
Today, marks the continuation of Jamaica’s ongoing pursuit to expand access to justice, and build a fair, equitable and just society for all Jamaicans.
Collectively, we aspire to advance this agenda through the Social Justice project, So-Just for short.
This programmatic intervention fully aligns with Jamaica’s Vision 2030 for a safe, cohesive, and just society, Sustainable Development Goal 16 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 to build resilience through structural transformation.
Together we will ensure that no one is left behind. This includes women and girls, particularly survivors of sexual offences, domestic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV), men and boys, Youth, the poor and uneducated, Persons with disabilities, Persons living in remote or rural locations, and Persons affected by social stigma to name a few.
If social justice is to become the new norm of the justice system, it must prioritize equity, access, participation, and rights for all, leaving no one behind.
Jamaica has solid foundations on which to build a solid culture of social justice:
- A strong constitutional and legislative foundation, including a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, embedded within the Constitution
- Laws and policies, to protect women, children and other vulnerable groups from discrimination and gender-based violence
- A National Development Plan that envisions a secure, cohesive and just society.
Buoyed by technical and financial support from the Government of Canada and the UNDP under the initial Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) programme (2011 – 2021), the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has demonstrated an ambitious and extensive reform process guided by the Justice Reform Implementation Plan to tackle the institutional, technological, and infrastructural limitations to effective justice service delivery.
While there are substantial improvements, gaps continue to exist between the institutional transformation occurring within justice sector institutions and the lived experiences of the most vulnerable court users.
Through the So-Just project we can address some of these limitations. Within seven years we aim to strengthen legislation, improve institutional effectiveness and the delivery of justice services to advance the rights and equitable outcomes for all Jamaicans.
This is a defining moment in Jamaica’s bold and exemplary journey to strengthen its justice system. It calls for us to confront social and cultural biases.
It calls on us to systematically dismantle the barriers which deny too many vulnerable Jamaicans the right to access their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.
UNDP is your proud partner in this critical journey for social justice under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, and with funding from Global Affairs Canada.
Our commitment to Jamaica’s justice sector reform journey is unwavering because we believe it holds the power to unlocking Jamaica’s development and economic growth potential while undermining the roots of poverty.
UNDP looks forward to another mutually beneficial partnership with the Ministry of Justice. I also take this opportunity to express our profound and sincere appreciation to the Government of Canada for their continued investment in the justice sector. Your teams, Minister and Ambassador have served and guided the success of today with distinction.
I leave you with these words from an unknown sage: "A society without access to justice for everyone is a society where injustice can come to anyone”.
I am confident that the work we start today will preserve the freedom of not just the vulnerable, but all of us.
This is a defining moment in Jamaica’s bold and exemplary journey to strengthen its justice system. It calls for us to confront social and cultural biases. It calls on us to systematically dismantle the barriers which deny too many vulnerable Jamaicans the right to access their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms. UNDP is your proud partner in this critical journey for social justice under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, and with funding from Global Affairs Canada.Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative