Rule of Law and Access to Justice Forum held in Izmir

01 Nov 2011

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In an effort to intensify efforts to promote the rule of law, Annual Rule of Law and Access to Justice Regional Community of Practice Forum has been organized in late September in Izmir.

New Horizons - The forum hosted the high level participation of practitioners in the region including the representatives of UNDP Country Offices, Ministry of Justice, high courts, bar associations and civil society organizations.

There was also a considerable interest to the event from the Ministry of Justice and Justice Academy of Turkey as co-organizers of the 2011 Regional Community of Practice on Rule of Law and Access to Justice.

In his opening speech, Ahmet Kahraman; Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice underlined the importance of impartial, fast and efficient justice system for ensuring the rule of law and promoted a justice system which inspires confidence among the citizens themselves and facilitate their access to basic services provided.

In his address to the international participants, Kahraman also emphasized the significance of such platforms and community of practices for the share of knowledge and experience in the field of judicial reform processes, which has been accelerated in recent years due to shift in traditional understanding of justice around the globe.

Turkey’s progress

The forum provided an opportunity to reflect the recent progress in the field of judicial reform in Turkey including but not limited to the restructuring of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, promotion of e-justice system, probation services and prisons workshops, which are considered as milestones in facilitating access to justice in Turkey.

The Community of Practice also provided inputs for new programming in UNDP`s support to the countries in the field of access to justice and rule of law in the region.

The discussions on challenges faced by disadvantaged groups, with a special focus on women and youth in accessing justice system provided an important insight for the participant countries in the development of new programmes targeting the disadvantaged groups of children, youth, women and disabled.

Apart from showcasing the best practice and identifying challenges for UNDP development programming in the region, the forum also featured presentations from experts in the field of rule of law, access to justice, Universal Periodic Review (UPR), gender, minority, and other issues.

Transition period

The forum has created further synergies among the practitioners with some of the catalytic initiatives being implemented at the country level.

In the past decade equitable and accessible justice has increasingly been recognised as key component in promoting good governance, the rule of law and poverty reduction.

Transition positioned justice sector reform as a priority for many countries in Europe and the CIS which have succeeded to a large extent in creating effective and efficient governance systems that respect the rule of law and human rights.