HOPE for Gender Equality

HOPE for Gender Equality



UNDP Justice Project provides support to the rule of law institutions with a heightened focus on gender justice and access to justice of the disadvantaged groups. The areas of work include i) enhancing access to justice of women GBV survivors (strengthened access to legal information and the quality of legal aid services), ii) strengthening gender-responsiveness in the sector (survivor-centered and responsive criminal justice processes, increase of women’s representation in the legal profession), and iii) correctional facilities in line with the human rights standards and female inmates’ special needs.



Timor-Leste has made great strides in stabilizing and developing the country for the last two decades since independence. However, destabilizing factors and injustice continue to exist, particularly for women and girls. The human rights situation in prisons and detention centers needs to be improved for the best interests of female inmates. The prison facilities in Timor-Leste are generally overcrowded, unable to accommodate inmates in accordance with Rule 12 of the Nelson Mandela Rules.  This is not an exception when it comes to a breastfeeding mother with a child in prison. A child under the age of three is legally allowed to stay with his or her incarcerated mother, yet adequate facilities are non-existent. The project intends to tackle the institutionalized human rights violations currently occurring in correctional facilities to restore a sense of dignity and empowerment, as well as ensure gender-sensitivity. Considering female prisoners' disadvantaged status within the facilities and society, the project will provide female­focused legal aid assistance, vocational and literacy training, and establish sex-segregated, gender-friendly spaces in prisons. The human rights and gender-sensitivity training for the correctional officers and inmates, both men and women, will also be accompanied to contribute to behavioural and institutional changes. The key government partners include the Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Institution, and the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Inclusion. The project will collaborate with sister UN agencies to bring synergies, efficacy, and potential scale-up. 


Major Achievements

  • Establishing the GBV response guidelines and trained personnel in the rule of law institutions
  • Support to the multisectoral response to Gender Based Violence
  • Providing holistic support from safe accommodation to legal, medical, psychosocial assistance an vocational training to GBV survivors in remote areas through the partnership with grassroots organizations
  • Law graduates (55% female) trained to be better prepared for the entrance exam to the national magistrates’ course to increase women representation
  • Higher employment opportunities for law graduates through an internship program in local civil society organizations and law firms addressing social and gender justice issues
  • Legal literacy campaigns in remote areas
  • Refurbishment of women prison in accordance with the human rights standards
  • Providing legal aid service and vocational and financial literacy training to women pre-trial detainees/convicts and gender-sensitivity training to correction officers and inmates.


Project Outcome


The proejct aims to: 

  • Strengthening sustainability and the rule of law institutional capacity in increasing access to justice to better serve the disadvantaged groups, particularly rural women and girls.
  • Enhancing gender responsiveness in the justice and security sector especially in responding to Gender Based Violence
  • Improving gender and social sensitivity with increased competence and legal knowledge among current and future legal professionals
  • Increasing correctional facilities’ compliance with the human rights standards and good practices in responding to women inmates’ special needs.

Magistrates and legal professionals attending the training


Related Materials

HOPE Factsheet 2021

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Project PIP

Download here




April 2021


March 2022






United Nations Development Programme








Full Project information