Scaling up efforts to strengthen enforcement of law, access to justice and social integration
On February 12, 2014, UNDP in Sri Lanka launched its new flagship programme, Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration (SELAJSI), in the presence of Mr. Haoliang Xu, the visiting United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Chair, United Nations Development Group Asia-Pacific and UNDP Assistant Administrator & Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Hon. Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Justice, Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Hon. S. C. Muthukumarana, Deputy Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, Mr. Eric Illayaparachchi, Secretary of Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, and Mr. Subinay Nandy, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka.
Through its earlier Access to Justice Projects (2004-2012), UNDP became a key partner to the Sri Lankan Government for access to justice programming. These projects contributed to increasing the awareness of local communities about their rights and the legal and judicial mechanisms to protect them. They also helped to improve legal aid service delivery and access to legal documentation, particularly in the conflict-affected Eastern and Northern parts as well as the poverty-affected plantation sector of the country.
Based on these projects, and under UNDP’s new Country Programme, the Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration (SELAJSI) Programme, will focus on ensuring that gains in the justice sector are institutionalized, systematized and scaled-up. By doing so, the Programme will also contribute to supporting several of the commitments made by the Government of Sri Lanka, namely the National Human Rights Action Plan (2011-2016), the National Policy Framework for Social Integration, and National Plan of Action to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which have made important recommendations towards reconciliation and strengthening the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
The Programme will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms and the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs. The Programme will also build on efforts by civil society organizations, especially women’s and youth organizations, to engage in social integration and reconciliation efforts in the country, and provide platforms to strengthen partnerships among different groups.