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Advancing justice - and gender equality - through the Global Judicial Integrity Network 

28 June 2018 - Every initiative undertaken by UNODC and the entire United Nations family aims to spread equality throughout the world. For a fair, peaceful and just global community, and to achieve SDG 16 for which UNODC works continuously (peace, justice and strong institutions), men and women must be equal in all aspects of work and life. Gender equality, a fundamental value, is a pillar of the organization's work around the globe, and of the programmes it undertakes in numerous countries.

However, gender equality and the empowerment of women remains an issue which must be addressed in most parts of the world, with women still experiencing inequalities and multiple forms of discrimination within many professional fields. Redressing gender inequalities is at the core of UNODC's Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and a goal shared by the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration as it works to promote a culture of lawfulness around the world, providing education and training and supporting the full participation of women in every professional sphere.

The Global Judicial Integrity Network (GJIN), launched in April 2018 as one of UNODC's unique contributions to advancing justice around the world, also tackles the issue of gender equality in its promotion of judicial integrity. During the 14 th Biannual Conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) held last month in Buenos Aires, UNODC contributed to discussions centred on issues such as the empowerment of women on the bench, education, equal access to justice, and providing networking facilities and tools to strengthen the leadership and bring judges together.

The conference - which was attended by some 1,000 judges from around the world representing 77 jurisdictions and national associations of women judges - offered a platform for UNODC to present the Network, within the specific realm of gender-related legal and judicial issues. During a dedicated panel discussion, participants debated how the Network was working to raise awareness among judges on numerous matters falling into the gender domain, including sexual harassment and sextortion. The commitment to include this topic in training materials and in judicial conduct standards, in line with the Declaration on Judicial Integrity adopted at the launch of the Network, was emphasized by UNODC's representatives at the conference.

The Network's attention to gender-related judicial integrity issues is strong; in the first episode of a series of podcasts in which judges around the world address various judicial integrity issues, UNODC speaks with Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane of Sri Lanka about gender equality matters, and about sextortion and sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, training on judicial integrity has already begun in earnest. Immediately following the launch of the Network, 120 federal and state-level Brazilian judges took part in a judicial integrity and independence workshop in São Paulo, during which they were presented with the Network's  new website and its online library of resources, and with the process to develop the Judicial Ethics Training Tools.

The training was organized by the National Judicial School (Enfam) and the São Paulo State Judicial School, with the support of UNODC and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). Brazil is one of the pilot sites for the implementation of the Judicial Ethics Training Tools package being developed by UNODC under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration. It follows up on the activities of the first " training of trainers" on the subject of judicial ethics held in March this year in Brussels, in partnership with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the Judicial College of England and Wales.

For Justice Maria Theresa Moura, Director-General of the Brazilian National Magistrates School and member of the Network's International Advisory Board, the Global Judicial Integrity Network is particularly important in its support of national efforts to strengthen judicial ethics training.

Speaking at the workshop, she stressed the need to create a culture of judicial integrity as a response to the demands of society, telling her judicial peers: "There is no Rule of Law without an integral, impartial, independent, transparent and diligent judiciary."

Additional information: 
Final Declaration of the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Registration to the Global Judicial Integrity Network
Global Judicial Integrity Network resources database
Global Judicial Integrity Network Terms of Reference
UNODC and Gender