"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

The Rising Tide of a Stronger Judiciary

ICAAD’s work to improve access to justice for women and girls in the Pacific is currently focusing on fact that sentences are reduced in 52% of cases of violent crimes against women and girls because of gender-bias and customary reconciliation practices. In many cases perpetrators are given an incredibly lenient sentence or no sentence at all, and justice is not served.

Univ. of Queensland Pro Bono Law Center – Faculty, Admin., Students with ICAAD

ICAAD has continued to make tremendous progress on its initiative, TrackGBV (Gender Based Violence), a regional sentencing database that provides advocates and judges tools and data to improve access to justice for women and girls in GBV cases. ICAAD is developing TrackGBV in conjunction with:

  • Law Firms: Clifford Chance (U.K.); Colin Biggers & Paisley (Aus.); DLA Piper (Aus.); Linklaters (U.K.); Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (U.S.); and White & Case (U.S.)
  • Universities: University of the South Pacific School of Law; University of Queensland; and Queensland University of Technology
  • Technologists: HURIDOCS; LexisNexis (pending)

From March 2nd -15th, Co-Founders Hansdeep Singh and Jaspreet Singh traveled to 5 cities in 3 countries (Australia, Vanuatu, and Fiji) to meet and partner with local civil society organizations, women’s rights advocates, universities, law firms, and government officials.

Their aim was to further assess the needs of local advocates and garner support for TrackGBV, as well as promote future rule of law trainings for advocates, lawyers, and judges informed by the data from the initiative. The trip was a success, with many members of the judiciary, government, and civil society highlighting their desire to see more consistency, transparency, and accountability in domestic violence and sexual offense cases.

Vanuatu Women’s Centre – Lynrose, Margret, and Vola

On behalf of the entire ICAAD team, thank you for your ongoing support!

 

#RaiseYourShield

On May 17, 2019, ICAAD Advisor Erin Thomas’ publication: Compacts of Free Association in FSM, RMI, and Palau: Implications for the 2023-2024 Renewal Negotiations (hrbrief.org/2019/03/compacts-of-free-association-in-fsm-rmi-and-palau-implications-for-the-2023-2...) was cited by the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jr., in an op-ed published in The Hill (thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/444291-pacific-defense-pact-renewal-vital-to-the-u...). In her piece, Erin points to critical issues stakeholders have raised regarding human trafficking, adoption policies, and COFA migrant rights among other important human rights issues.

Some of the above-mentioned policy gaps span several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly 10 (reduced inequalities) and 17 (partnership for the goals). Holistically, the existing COFA agreements represent the type of inequity that SDG 10 seeks to address. SDG 17 promotes inclusive and participatory decision-making at the international, national, and local levels. Developing transparency on both sides will allow for a more equitable process and outcome for the renewal negotiations.

The issues within the existing agreements also involve SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) and limited access to justice regarding redress for nuclear testing and environmental destruction. This impacts targets and indicators including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 3 (good health and well-being). Finally, SDG 10 and 8’s targets for responsible migration policies are important considering the limited provisions for COFA migrants in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
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