Sri Lanka: UNODC promotes knowledge sharing among community groups, government officials and criminal justice practitioners on access to justice and fundamental rights

Jaffna (Northern Province) and Weerawila (Southern  Province), Sri Lanka/29 January 2023: With support of the UN Secretary General’s Peace Building Fund (PBF), UNODC is currently implementing a project on ‘Promoting Access to Justice and Protecting the Rights Space to Foster Peace in Sri Lanka’.

In this context, a series of interventions were conducted in January in Sri Lanka, aimed at strengthening stakeholder awareness and capacities to strengthen the justice and fundamental rights framework.

In collaboration with the Legal Aid Commission, Bar Association of Sri Lanka and UNOPS, three focused capacity-building workshops were delivered for 40 state officials, 25 community workers and civil society organisations, and 30 female lawyers in Jaffna (Northern Province) and Weerawila (Southern  Province) in Sri Lanka.

The trainings were designed to enhance understanding of applicable legal frameworks and provisions to protect fundamental rights. Discussions focused on addressing issues of fear of stigmatization, cultural perceptions, social alienation and public trust in law enforcement.

The workshops aimed at strengthening coordination between civil society and criminal justice agencies, giving due consideration to the existing economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka.

UNODC works on empowerment of women in the justice process by promoting critical leadership with increased knowledge and capacities. Through the initiative, UNODC reached out to communities to enable them in understanding existing redress and referral mechanisms.

This activity contributed to SDG 5 and 16:

(Supported by the UN Secretary General’s Peace Building Fund)