Social justice project to promote fairness

JAMAICANS are expected to experience more fairness in the justice system, through the launch of a social justice project, which is being touted to strengthen and promote rights and gender-sensitivity.

The project, launched on Thursday, was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and Ministry of Justice which was funded by the Canadian Government at a cost of CAD$12 million.

The initiative, which will run from 2023 to 2030, will have a special focus on enhancing the rights and access to justice for women, girls, people with disabilities and residents of rural and vulnerable communities.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes described the partnership as a “means to an end”, which is a just, cohesive, secure and equitable society where persons have full opportunity to gain access to justice.

“It is important to note, that no legal system properly functioning can guarantee any specific outcome in any given case or class of cases,” said Sykes who was speaking at the launch at the Ministry of Justice in Kingston.

Noting that there is always a winner and a loser in the legal system, Sykes stressed that through respectful dialogue, the general understanding of perspectives can be understood to achieve the best outcome.

“For example, in Jamaica we have a problem with high levels of interpersonal violence, in which many persons are victims, regardless of their gender. So an interesting question is whether the problem of gender-based violence can be addressed without addressing the broader question and problem of violence because the objective fact is that most of the victims of violence are in fact men,” he said.

“Most of the perpetrators of violence are in fact men and so, when we talk about gender based-violence, while it is a subset which ought to be recognised, there is the broader question of how we resolve disputes when they arise and I would humbly suggest that we take that perspective into account,” added Sykes.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck noted that with Jamaica being a very “contentious society and we try to solve problems on our own”, oftentimes problems are solved by abuses and violence.

He encouraged Jamaicans to use the available services to resolve disputes and settle conflicts.

“This programme is really one where we expect strong communication so that every citizen is made aware you have help, you can get help. Use the services being provided by the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders and State agencies and in doing so, we hopefully can create a kinder and gentler society, we certainly can reduce, deter and prevent as many violent confrontation, which figuratively gives Jamaica a bad name,” said Chuck.

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