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Access to Justice

Access to justice for all is an important human right. We worked with governments and civil society to help make this right a reality.
A paralegal and counsellor provides counselling, rights education and basic legal aid to victims of domestic violence in India. (Photo: My Choices Foundation)

The Issue

More than five billion people still live outside the protection of the law. 

When justice and security is only available to the rich and the powerful, when there is impunity for those who break laws and abuse rights, this weakens states and their capacity to preserve the rule of law and to pursue development, social justice and economic growth as agreed under the SDGs.

Since the scale of the justice gap was revealed over ten years ago, not enough progress has been made to extend the provision of justice to the people who need it most, especially women, people living in poverty and minority groups.

Our Approach

We believe that all sectors in society must step up and take responsibility to deliver access to justice to the most vulnerable individuals and communities.

We will amplify the voices of grassroots activists and civil society, and engage with heads of state and policymakers to help drive development, social justice and economic growth.

Violence against women is a global injustice. We will encourage action by political, traditional and religious leaders to change behaviour and support survivors.

Hina Jilani addresses civil society campaigning for #JusticeForAll in February 2018.

Access to justice: closing the gap

Watch Mary Robinson, Ban Ki-moon, Graça Machel and Ernesto Zedillo explain why The Elders believe the time is right for a new push to deliver justice for all. 

Access to Justice for Women

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and exacerbated gaps in justice systems globally, compounded by a worrying disregard in some quarters for the rule of law, particularly at the state level. This crisis has had a particular impact on the lives and rights of women. In January 2022, The Elders released a policy paper on the imperative to close the justice gap for women and strengthen the rule of law.

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