ADC, UNDP sign an agreement to ensure equal justice for the vulnerable
The Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bhutan signed an agreement on 14 November in Thimphu.
UNDP Resident Representative, Niamh Collier-Smith and Johannes Binder, Resident Coordinator of ADC signed the agreement to enhance equal access to justice for vulnerable groups by supporting the development of an enabling legal and policy environment in Bhutan.
The agreement sets off a two-year cooperation of 2017 and 2018 that focus on improving the rights of Bhutan’s most vulnerable groups through an integrated and well-coordinated justice sector.
It expects to strengthen the parliamentary committee’s legislative, oversight and representational capacity and strategic information to measure Gross National Happiness and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Johannes Binder said that the programme was of a very high priority. “It is a human-dignity centered program,” he said adding that will ultimately bring about better participation in every field.
He also said that working for the vulnerable becomes all the more important because socioeconomic development is taking place at a very quick pace, he said was creating an imbalance in the development process.
During the course of second phase of the program, the agency representatives were trained on adminis- tration of justice for vulnerable groups which expects to benefit women and marginalized groups such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and people with disabilities and those living with HIV.
The capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) working with victims of domestic violence expects to be strengthened as well.
Niamh Collier-Smith said that the agencies and institutions need to look at the kind of support they need so that the vulnerabilities faced by people could be addressed in the best possible way.
She also said that the partnership not only focuses on SDG 16 on peace and justice but also the UN’s commitment to leave no one behind.
The partnership targets Members of Parlia- ment and the Parliament Secretariat, Office of the Attorney General, judges and representatives of the Bhutan National Legal Institute and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law and the Royal Bhutan Police.
While the key targets include the representatives of civil society organizations which include Respect Educate Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW), Lhak-Sam, the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and the Multi-Sectoral Task Force towards ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
The cooperation is aimed at integrating SDG 16 implementation into the strategic plans of the Parliament and the Justice Sector by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, access to justice for all and by building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
It also hopes to reinforce the collaboration between state and non-state actors on achieving access to justice for all.
The agreement builds on the results achieved during the first Phase of 2013 to 2016 of ADC’s support to the UN One Programme from 2013 to 2018 includes a vulnerability baseline assessment, the national disability policy formulation process, advocacy to High Level Task Force on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the development of the Office of the Attorney General’s strategic plan.