Access to justice as an enabler of children’s development and fulfillment of other rights
Terre des hommes (Tdh) UK recently sent a written submission to the House of Commons International Development Committee (IDC) with regards to a government inquiry on SDG16: achieving peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
The submission focused specifically on access to justice as an enabler of children’s development and as a means of fulfilling other rights. The Executive Summary follows below, and the full report can be accessed here.
Peaceful, just, and inclusive societies require access to justice. Access to justice cannot exist without stable institutions that not only respect the rule of law but also provide specialised programmes for the most vulnerable and least visible members of society: children. Justice for children is a cornerstone of achieving the global ambition of justice for all. Unless urgent attention is directed to children, the global ambition of leaving no one behind will not be achieved.
The Government has a longstanding history of showing leadership at a global level on a number of thematic issues related to SDG16, namely around the global agenda to eliminate violence against children as well as the justice for all agenda. However, a considerable gap is noticeable when it comes to attention to justice for children. This submission, therefore, argues that the Government’s commitments to accelerate justice should emphasise the crucial importance of prioritizing justice for children as an inextricable part of achieving the SDG 16 targets. It is vital for these responses to be grounded in a human rights framework with a focus on international instruments, in conjunction with domestic policies to develop the Government’s approach to supporting the achievement of the SDG 16 targets and to leave no one behind. Throughout the process, children should be empowered to participate as active agents of change.