ADC, UNDP sign an agree­ment to en­sure equal jus­tice for the vul­ner­a­ble

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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.

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