"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

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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