During the opening session of the Asia Pacific Justice Forum (December 8-9, 2022), Professor Margaret Satterthwaite, UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and professor of clinical law at the New York University School of Law, outlined the importance of an independent judiciary for countering rising authoritarianism. 

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To mark the second anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Rosenthal took inspiration from Frederick Douglass’s powerful 1852 exhortation to the nation, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” Rosenthal is an advocate for the arts and justice, serves as chief operating officer and corporate secretary of The Juilliard School, and participated in the 2022 World Justice Forum.

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At the closing session of the Asia Pacific Justice Forum (December 8-9, 2022), UN Special Rapporteur Vitit Muntarbhorn called for empathy and "transformative partnership" to expand the rule of law for all. In the remarks and video below, he lays out a vision for advancing the three regional priorities at the heart of the conference: access to justice, judicial independence, and freedom of expression.

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The World Justice Project, Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice (AIPJ2), and KEMITRAAN Partnership for Governance Reform recently hosted the Asia Pacific Justice Forum to focus on three pressing rule of law issues in the region - judicial independence, combatting disinformation, and ensuring access to justice for minorities.  WJP and our Forum partners welcomed more than 100 attendees to Jakarta, Indonesia for two days of interactive sessions and panels focused on these topics. Hundreds more participated in the Forum virtually.   

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A year and a half ago, Mehnaz was a teenager living in Afghanistan. She had friends, went to school and was part of a cycling team.  Then, everything changed.  “After the Taliban took over, the world of cycling, education, and the world of my dreams all became dark to my eyes. I lost all hope, and my heart was broken,” Mehnaz said. 

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Three wrongfully convicted men whose story WJP highlighted earlier this year are now free in Mexico. On December 7, Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Gonzalo García Hernández, Juan Luis López García and Héctor Muñoz Muñoz were unjustly convicted of attempted kidnapping and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Deprived of their freedom since 2015, the men were immediately released following the ruling. 

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Brazil has experienced one of the world’s largest declines in rule of law since 2016, with its overall rule of law score falling each year for five consecutive years, according to data from the 2022 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index. These declinescome amidst a five-year trend of global backsliding. In Brazil, as globally, the declines have been largely driven by rising authoritarianism, exhibited by weakened constraints on government powers and the deterioration of fundamental rights and freedoms. The falling effectiveness of the civil justice system, exacerbated by COVID pressures, has been another major driver of declines.

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“Stick to your knitting.” That’s what some companies are hearing as part of an “ESG backlash” that says they should stay out of social and environmental issues, according to Conference Board ESG Center Executive Director Paul Washington.

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Confidence in accountability for U.S. public officials plummeted from 2016 to 2021, according to World Justice Project (WJP) surveys.  Would a high-level official pay a price for pocketing public money? Would a politically connected person be held responsible for a non-violent crime?  The answers increasingly became no among the general public and legal experts.  This year, the United States finally turned a corner on its overall WJP Rule of Law Index score after sharp declines in the preceding five years, but it still has much lost ground to regain.    In recognition of this challenge, the WJP is embarking on a new U.S. campaign to strengthen rule of law and “rebuild trust.” Co-founder and Board Chair William Hubbard announced the effort at a recent rule of law briefing cosponsored by the American Bar Association Cornerstones of Democracy Commission. 

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