At JVI, we know just how integral access to justice is in transforming a community for good. Without a fair and effective justice system communities struggle: criminals walk the streets with impunity, benefits and services are distributed with bias and disarray, and the voices of individuals who most need to be heard will never be carried to their leaders.
A well-functioning justice system is the foundation to any other development program or goal. Without fair implementation and enforcement, even the best laws and reforms are just good intentions. “Without increased justice, the world will not be able to end poverty, reduce inequality, reach the furthest behind first, create conditions for shared and sustainable prosperity, or promote peace and inclusion.”
In 2015, world leaders came together at a UN Summit to define the goals that we are all striving for together in creating a just and prosperous society. The broader focus of the goals, called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is to end poverty in a sustainable manner, but many of the SDGs have justice-specific targets that help us picture more concretely where we are headed and what work is ours to do. Of particular relevance is Goal 16, which states “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Goal 16 echoes JVI’s strategy of working on all levels of society: empowering individuals, strengthening partner organizations, and creating systemic change in justice systems.
In an effort to capture a realistic snapshot of what it would take to reach these goals, and provide proven and actionable steps to take, a task force was formed: The Task Force on Justice. The task force recently published their findings and recommendations in this report, which estimates that at least 253 million people live in extreme conditions of injustice, denied their most basic human rights and deprived of any meaningful legal protections. The heartbeat of JVI is to seek out these individuals and help them transform their world into a place of justice.
We agree whole-heartedly with the Task Force on Justice when they recommend shifting focus to a people-centered approach to justice reform. “A people-centered approach to justice reform starts with people’s needs, and aims to solve the justice problems that matter most to them”. JVI’s latest program model is called “Nyay Kendra” which means “Justice Hub” in Hindi. The Nyay Kendra is a walk-in legal resource center that will provide desperately needed and previously unavailable justice services to members of some of the most vulnerable communities in Asia. A Nyay Kendra provides access to legal professionals who are ready and willing to assist with whatever issues are most urgent to the community in which they are situated. JVI’s hope is that these centers play a significant role in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and providing access to justice for all!
To learn more about the Nyay Kendra program and how you can be a part, click here.
To download the Task Force on Justice Report, click here.
 Justice for All, The Report of The Task Force on Justice, April 2019