World leaders have committed to ending AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, but stigma and discrimination remain significant obstacles. In particular, police are critical, front-line determinants of risk for many people living with HIV (PLHIV) and members of other key affected populations (KAPs). The negative impact of adverse police behaviors and practices on HIV risk is well documented, and these risks undermine global efforts to end AIDS. Far less well documented, and less common, are attempts to ameliorate this impact by working to change police behaviors.
To reform laws is to reform societies. At IDLO, this is something that we have had thirty years to learn. And there are no more important laws than fundamental laws – national Constitutions. One of greatest, the Constitution of the United States of America, has served that nation well for nearly a quarter of a millennium. Constitutions encapsulate a vision. In countries struggling to overcome trauma, as is the case of Kenya; struggling to be reborn, as in Somalia; or struggling to be born at all, as in South Sudan, Constitutions respond to a collective need for unity and renewal.
But Constitutions are also highly technical documents. They set the parameters for law and justice in a given jurisdiction. For this reason, they require legal resources and expertise unavailable in many developing nations. By providing those resources and expertise, IDLO is proud to have assisted several countries through complex constitutional processes.
IDLO's Victoria Harrison Neves, spoke to our Country Representative for Myanmar, Kartik Sharma, about the transition underway in that country, the opportunities for supporting the rule of law at this time, and the practicalities of working in such an environment.
IDLO - When did you arrive in Myanmar?
Rates of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) remain high in Uganda due to cultural practices, continued internal displacement, and low capacity of the justice system. IDLO is working to advance accountability for SGBV crimes committed in times of or after armed conflict in Uganda.
It is well recognized that discrimination against people living with HIV and affected populations (such as injecting drug users and women in the sex industry) blocks HIV prevention efforts. Discrimination discourages HIV testing and can limit access to care and treatment services. IDLO is working to provide legal information and representation to HIV-affected and key populations in Benin. Through collaboration with local organizations, IDLO is building local capacity in Benin and strengthening the legal response to help those living with HIV assert their rights and address intolerance.
The Africa conference on rule of law and development opened in Dar es Salaam yesterday with over 140 delegates attending, including two former Presidents of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa and Jayak Kikwete.
The Upper House of the Afghan National Assembly has recognized the work of IDLO legal trainer and adviser Gul Ghutai Afzalyar with an award for her efforts to reform and clarify the Legislation for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (LEVAW) in Afghanistan.
The protracted civil war and the weak state control over territory in Somalia has enabled new criminal activities to take hold, including illegal checkpoints, maritime piracy, cybercrimes, money laundering and counterfeiting, human trafficking, extortion, terrorist financing, and the smuggling of weapons and food over Somalia’s porous borders. The Somali Federal Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and national police are well aware of these newer forms of criminality plaguing Somalia, but are unable to effectively combat them.
Ukraine has embarked on a wide-ranging process of reform, and the momentum is there to overcome a legacy of bureaucratic stagnation, arbitrariness and corruption. The government has committed itself to the long-term reform of the Ukrainian justice sector, and the President has developed a strategy that identifies the need for increased independence, transparency, competence, accountability and efficiency of the rule of law and justice institutions.
In 2010, the people of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new Constitution, following a protracted struggle for constitutional reform spanning over two decades. Under the new Constitution, the elections of 2013 were the first in Kenya’s multiparty history with Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) processes in place. With these mechanisms, disputes can be resolved legally, peacefully and speedily – as opposed to resulting in violence or being allowed to drag through the courts.
In Burundi, land tenure registration is the primary way for the government to deal with the large number of land disputes across the country. A series of pilot programs aimed at resolving land rights issues have been initiated in recent years. To date, however, it is unclear whether these pilot programs have had their intended effect of reducing the number of land disputes.
Evaluation of the project "Supporting Justice Sector and Anti-Corruption Reforms in Ukraine - Phase 1"As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report): “Evaluation of the project "Supporting Justice Sector and Anti-Corruption Reforms in Ukraine - Phase 1”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.
Evaluation (Mid-Term) of the project "Strengthening the Criminal Justice Chain in the North of Mali (SCJC)"As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Mid-Term Evaluation Brief for the project, “Strengthening the Criminal Justice Chain in the North of Mali (SCJC)”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.
Evaluation of the project "Support to Kenyan Constitutional Implementation Process with a Focus on Devolution and Gender Reforms"As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report): “Thematic Evaluation of the International Development Law Organization's (IDLO) Support to the Kenyan Constitution Implementation Process with a Focus on Devol