Speech of UNDP Country Director on the Launching of the National Strategy on Access to Justice and the National Dialog on Improving Legal Aid Programme in IndonesiaMay 10, 2016
Your Excellency Minister Sofyan A. Djalil, Minister of National Development Planning/Head of National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas)
Your Excellency Mr. Stig Traavik, Ambassador of Norway in Indonesia,
Representatives of ministries and agencies,
Development partners, legal aid organisations, representative customary council from Aceh, Central Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi,
Members of the media,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
It is a privilege for me to be here with you and to participate on behalf of UNDP in the launching of the National Strategy on Access to Justice (Strategi Nasional Akses terhadap Keadilan) II 2016-2019 and the National Dialogue on Improving the Legal Aid Programme in Indonesia.
Today’s event is very much part of UNDP’s work for justice sector reform and access to justice in Indonesia, which we engage in with the Government and all national actors. This work is in particular being conducted through the project Strengthening Access to Justice in Indonesia (SAJI) under a partnership between Bappenas, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and UNDP.
I would like to thank Minister Sofyan A. Jalil for his presence today and for his continued commitment and the whole Bappenas for the fruitful cooperation and support to UNDP. I also want to express my sincere gratitude to Ambassador Travik and the members of the Royal Norwegian Embassy for the financial support they give to UNDP but also for the forging of a very substantive partnership on issues we are committed to like justice, gender equality or forest protection.
Today Indonesia’s National Strategy on Access to Justice will be launched. This Stategy builds on a first Strategy, to which UNDP had provided inputs. This time again, we are very honoured to have supported the formulation and launch of this revised Strategy, which we regard as an important document to facilitate access to justice for Indonesian people, particularly women, children, poor, vulnerable, and marginalized groups.
Over the last few years we have seen the Government commence a widespread overhaul of the legal and regulatory environment for access to justice in Indonesia, which UNDP strongly supports. Access to justice is part of the broader justice sector reform, but access to justice is also about access to basic rights such as education, health, legal identity or access to use natural resources, which in a country like Indonesia is particularly important, particularly for local communities and orang asli. Hampered access to justice for those communities as well as small fishermen undermines their right protection and also often makes them poorer.
The National Strategy aims at ensuring that all government ministries and agencies develop and implement their own action plans that will enable every citizen, including those vulnerable communities, to access legal services. This objective takes on a particular importance given Indonesia’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. Indonesia is one of the four pilot countries for this goal 16, which includes a specific target 16.3 on equal access to justice. It is actually the first time that member States of the United Nations have committed to ensuring equal access to justice by 2030, and leave no one behind without access to justice.
As Indonesia like all member States will monitor and report on their progress on the Goals, the full and successful implementation of the Strategy will be key to instrumental for the Republic of Indonesia to meet this commitment. On behalf of UNPD please allow me to congratulate the Government of Indonesia on his commitment to access to justice and on the launching of the National Strategy. Let me also express UNDP’s readiness to work with Government, in particular Bappenas and all actors in the Indonesian society on its successful implementation.
Minister, Ambassador, ladies and gentlemen,
The National Dialogue on Legal Aid that will follow the launching is particularly timely in the context that I have just described. This is because there cannot be equal access to justice without legal aid. Those who need justice most –the marginalized, discriminated, and excluded whom we pledge not to leave behind are also those who know least about their rights and can least afford to hire lawyers to help them.
Legal aid is of course about counsel and representation in court proceedings but lawyers, legal aid organizations and paralegals have a role to play in informing people about their rights and help them to have those rights recognized for instance helping, couples getting their marriage certificate in order to get birth certificates for their children, helping women’s access to land ownership, etc.
The National Dialogue will discuss how to improve the legal aid programme that has been implemented since 2013. The SAJI project with Bappenas, Norway and UNDP partnered has brought about improvement in access to justice in the areas of Indonesia where it has been implemented. SAJI has been instrumental in identifying key issues related to legal aid and access to justice in those areas. And we can confidently state that SAJI support to legal aid organisations as well as adat justice leaders, including women leaders, has made a positive difference.
When visiting Aceh last December, I witnessed how legal aid providers help poor justice seekers and also heard directly from a large group of women adat leaders how they role has become more active and accepted as a result of the project activities to support them. At the policy level, I have also followed how the project has allowed legal aid organizations to engage with Aceh Provincial Parliament (DPRA) on a draft qanun to make it more conducive to legal aid services to the poor. It is meaningful that Aceh has come to illustrate how adat justice can go along with the formal justice system in Indonesia and that based on Aceh’s experience, our project has facilitated an MoU, to be signed next week, between the police, provincial government and the customary justice forum in Central Sulawesi on tackling small cases through the informal justice system. I believe Bappenas, Norway and UNDP should be proud of what SAJI has accomplished. At the same time, SAJI has helped us see the challenges that citizens, in particular women and vulnerable groups still face to access justice, and the constraints that legal aid organisation encounter.
The national dialogue brings together representatives from government, civil society, and legal aid providers. I am delighted that we have today the presence our key counterparts from the areas whee SAJI has worked, that is Aceh, Central Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi as well as from Yogyakarta, East Java, West Java, Banten, and Jakarta. Your views and concrete experience will be extremely valuable to this national dialogue.
The ojective of the dialogue is to produce a set of actionable recommendations to better manage the national legal aid programme and build the capacity of legal aid providers to better deliver legal services. UNDP hopes that the recommendations resulting from this dialogue will be adopted and implemented by the Government and other actors.
As the SAJI project comes to an end, I hope that Bappenas and UNDP will find a new modality to work together to capitalize on UNDP’s expertise and experience and jointly support the implementation of the National Strategy as well as the development of legal aid for the benefit of the people of Indonesia.