Judiciary for Juniors Programme 2023 Successfully Concludes

December 21, 2023

The Judiciary for Juniors (J4J) Programme 2023, a transformative initiative aimed at fostering interest and understanding of the judicial sector among young people of the Maldives, has concluded today. Supported by the UK Government, with UK Aid from the British People and in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives, J4J was led by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA), with the engagement of a diverse array of justice sector partners, including the Attorney General’s Office, Prosecutor General’s Office, Supreme Court, High Court, Drug Court, Family Court, Juvenile Court, Civil Court, Criminal Court, Bar Council of Maldives, Judges Association, and K.Huraa Magistrate Court, which facilitated an insightful tour.

The eight-day programme, spearheaded by a team of facilitators comprising Judges, Prosecutors, Lawyers, Legal Officers from courts, JSC, DJA, UNDP staff, and other experts within the judicial sector, provided a comprehensive exploration of the judiciary. Participants had the unique opportunity to follow a case from its lodgment in a court to the culmination of the sentencing process. The program, culminating in a practice courts session on the final day, focused on eight key areas integral to the judicial system.

"UK is pleased to partner with UNDP for the second time on the Judiciary for Juniors program. Equipping young aspiring individuals with the knowledge and information on the judiciary is key to promoting access to justice and rule of law," said Kazi Dinsmore, UK Deputy High Commissioner. 

“Together with initiatives such as Judiciary for Juniors, it is our privilege to maintain UNDP’s long-standing support to the justice sector, and to have been a steadfast partner in our journey towards a more transparent and accessible judiciary. In this process we are grateful to our development and national partners,” said Pek Chuan Gan, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in the Maldives, speaking at the closely ceremony. 

UNDP Maldives has been a longstanding partner dedicated to the development and support of the Maldivian Judiciary. Through various avenues, including support for the implementation of the legal framework and collaboration on key legislation such as the Criminal Code and the Civil Procedures Code, UNDP has consistently worked towards disseminating crucial information and raising awareness about the judiciary.

UNDP Maldives, through initiatives like J4J, MVLaw, Engumakee Baareh, and other advocacy campaigns, is actively focusing on capacity building, communication strategies, and public engagement, in support of the judiciary. 

The Judiciary for Juniors programme, tailored to bridge the gap between the judiciary and young people, becomes even more crucial as the Maldives witnesses a demographic youth bulge coupled with rising youth unemployment and disenfranchisement. Initiatives like J4J play a significant role in minimizing the perceived distance between young people and State institutions, fostering a sense of engagement and participation.

A total of 35 youth, aged 15-25, including 19 girls/women and 17 boys/men, successfully completed the training, with 1 Person with Disabilities. The program aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

"At the end of the Judiciary for Juniors program. I appreciate the mentors, organizers, and donors who supported us. To my fellow participants and families, thank you for the support and encouragement. Let's use our knowledge to promote justice, integrity, and compassion in society," said participant Mohamed Mibsam Fareed.

"I’ve never seen the beauty of feminism like I have this week. Listening to their stories, their obstacles, and challenges, but mostly seeing the respect they receive and the authority they have. The unspoken admiration is just, just," said participant Malaak Hussain Rasheed.

The Judiciary for Juniors Programme is not just a training initiative but a call to action, emphasizing the critical need to engage young people in the development sectors, especially in justice and policy-making. The program's success underscores the significance of innovative approaches in fostering a more informed, participatory, and inclusive society.