As the COVID-19 crisis may lead to an erosion of trust in public services and governments, urgent questions should also be asked about how measures to prevent its spread can adversely affect the rule of law and human rights. UNESCO and UNODC stress the importance of education which teaches awareness of human rights and ultimately helps build more equal, sustainable and inclusive societies and economies that are more resilient in the face of crisis.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is an international court headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago. The CCJ has both a Community treaty jurisdiction (much like the European Court of Justice does for Europe), and a final appellate jurisdiction to which four Caribbean states currently subscribe. Its complement extends to 80 staff members, including seven judges. In response to COVID-19, the court adopted special measures to protect the health and safety of staff and judges, while continuing to guarantee access for court users.
With an infinite curiosity and a predilection for voicing honest opinions, children tend to enjoy the mental exercise of ranking their favourite things. This month, they were given the opportunity to watch short movies online and to vote on their preferences in the Takorama Film Festival, designed to engage children around the world with stimulating subjects and appealing animations.
This unique festival has accompanied children in various situations of COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing confinement over the past few weeks, exposing them to artistic contributions which tackle solidarity, tolerance and respect for others - subjects which form an integral part of the work of Education for Justice, an initiative of UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.
The justice sectors in Council of Europe member states have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Special arrangements have been introduced in most systems in order to respect the need for social distancing, while at the same time delivering a minimum level of service in cases where postponement would have particularly harmful implications. This is the case notably as regards proceedings involving children, custody, domestic violence and detention. This responsiveness is to be welcomed.
As part of the Doha Declaration Education for Justice initiative, UNODC and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens have announced that they will soon begin implementation of a new Women's Empowerment Programme (WEP) catering to young females from Latin America. The WEP, made possible thanks to generous support from the State of Qatar, will transform education policy into action in order to promote justice, the rule of law and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Programme will focus on training and equipping 20 young women from Latin American countries with the skill-set to act as SDG leaders within their fields of work. While all of the 17 SDGs provide the framework for the WEP, its focus will be on SDGs 4,5,16 and 17.