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EU launches new rule of law programme in KP, Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Today, the European Union and its partners launched a programme that aims to promote the rule of law and enhance the criminal justice system in Pakistan, with a specific focus on the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan. Anchored in the vision that an enhanced and reformed justice sector is the only sustainable solution for addressing critical and systematic weaknesses in justice delivery, the programme spans from 2021 till 2025, and is financed with EUR20 million. Jointly implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the programme aims to support reform processes to ensure delivery of people-cantered justice, enhance access to justice for all, particularly women and less privileged/marginalized groups; and improve service delivery of the security sector in line with constitutional safeguards and international standards. The project will provide technical assistance to legal reforms and the Rule of Law roadmaps in KP and Balochistan. Special focus will be set on access to justice through free legal aid and alternative dispute resolution, as well as legal literacy for citizens. On the institutional side, the project will assist in upgrading facilities and processes to enhance citizen friendly service delivery.

The launch event was held in a socially distanced setting, with many participants and key stakeholders attending virtually. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed graced the occasion as Chief Guest, along with Androulla Kaminara, EU Ambassador to Pakistan and Representatives of the three UN Agencies.

CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed thanked the EU and UN agencies for their support and expressed his confidence in the programme. “I am certain that together, we will be able to enhance access to justice for all, particularly women, less privileged and the marginalized groups and improve service delivery. The Government of Pakistan will extend all its support to the programme, enabling it to achieve its goal.”

EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara thanked the UN agencies, provincial and federal government, and other important stakeholders for their support in strengthening the Rule of Law in Pakistan. “Inclusive access to justice for all is an important prerequisite for a peaceful and just society. Today’s programme builds on the long-term commitment of the EU to improving the Rule of Law and access to justice for all in Pakistan. The new programme is part of the priorities of the EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan 2019 and financed under the EU Multi-Annual Indicative Program 2014-2020. Both strategic documents support the implementation of the Vision 2025 in the focal areas: rural development, education, good governance, human rights, and Rule of Law.”—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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