Improved Access to Fair, Legitimate & Effective Justice in Pakistan
Status: Completed Start Date: Apr 2017 End Date: Jun 2019 Geographic Coverage: Punjab, Muzaffargarh, Bhakkar & Khanewal Focus Area: Women Political Participation SDG Goal: 5 Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls Implementing Partner: SPO Funding Partner: Oxfam & EU
Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) with the financial support of Oxfam and EU is implementing this project.
The objectives of this collaboration are to;
Establish safe-spaces for women and marginalized groups to share their grievances for justice.
Build capacity of Ba-Ikhtiar Groups and Local Government Representatives so that these contribute towards Gender and Human Rights Inclusive Justice Systems.
Mobilize political will for Improved Access to Justice through More Effective Semi Formal Justice Providers (SFJPs) Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), in April 2017 started implementation of Oxfam funded ‘Improved Access to Fair, Legitimate and Effective Justice in Pakistan’ project in three target districts of Punjab; Khanewal, Bhakkar and Muzaffargarh. Since its inception in April, till December 2017, the Project interventions have contributed towards improved awareness of women, youth and marginalized groups on their rights and using accessing justice through semi-formal justice systems like and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centers and Musalihat Anjuman. SPO in this project has worked with Semi-Formal Justice Providers (SFJPs) at Union Council (UC) Level – Musalihat Anjuman and District Level – ADR Centers; due to certain issues, Thana Masalaht Committee were not included in SFJPs, SPO worked at. Ba-Ikhtiar Groups have provided a safer space for the citizens, specifically women, youth and marginalized groups, to raise their voice and share needs regarding inclusive justice provision through SFJPs.
Punjab Local Government Act 2013 necessitates SFJPs at Union Council level to be notified within thirty days of establishment of Local Government. However, as majority of the elected UC Chairmen were unaware of this responsibility, Musalihat Anjuman, were not notified within the set timeframe. 15 of total 27 SFJPs in three districts were formed in UCS of project target areas till December 2017 in Panchayats as project is focused more in rural areas. Remaining 12 will be formed in the year 2018.
Twenty seven Ba-Ikhtiar Groups are in place for managing and addressing citizen’s need in district Muzaffargarh, Khanewal and Bhakkar. District Advocacy Forum of the districts Bhakkar, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh have identified the issues and will consolidate the data on it, for incorporating these issues in the advocacy plans for the year 2018. These issues were about inheritance disputes, child custody and domestic violence. With an increased trust level on SFJPs, local community are using Ba-Ikhtiar Groups as information sharing platform for access to justice through SFJPs.
Identified and selected semi-formal justice providers understand the need for inclusive justice within project districts. The capacity building trainings of Ba-Ikhtiar Groups and local government officials has resulted in more gender sensitized SFJPs. As a result Local Bodies representatives of target districts promised support for women’s representation. Musalihat Anjuman in compliance with the Punjab Local Government Act 2013. Musalihat Anjuman ensured full support for inclusive participation of minorities and persons with disabilities.
Political will has been mobilized at UC and district level in Muzaffargarh, Bhakkar and Khanewal. The Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of District Councils in all three project districts are very responsive and supportive of the project implementation. Through the cooperation and support of District Council the Musalihat Anjuman in fifteeen Ba-Ikhtiar target Union Councils have been formed and notified. The district Government has further showed its interest to work with SPO regarding formation and activation of Musalihat Anjuman in all other Union Councils of their respective districts.