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The Twin Crises of Public Health and the Rule of Law

The World Justice Project is focusing knowledge- and awareness-building activities across four issue areas where the public health crisis and rule of law intersect most urgently: corruption, accountable governance, fundamental rights, and access to justice for all. This series of policy briefs highlights emerging concerns in each of these areas.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Global Justice Gap

This policy brief on COVID-19 and its effects on the global justice gap is part of a multidisciplinary initiative from the World Justice Project to expand knowledge of the relationship between public health and the rule of law, and to identify measures to tackle the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rule of law.

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World Justice Challenge 2021

The World Justice Challenge 2021: Advancing the Rule of Law in a Time of Crisis is a global competition to identify, recognize, and promote good practices and high-impact projects and policies that protect and advance areas of the rule of law most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Over the second half of 2020, the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, World Justice Project, and the Open Society Justice Initiative will host a series of conversations to identify strategies to strengthen the collection and use of justice data in the COVID-19 era. 

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The World Justice Project lost two leading champions for our rule of law cause with the passing last week of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and William H. Gates, Sr., both Honorary Chairs of the Project. We were honored by their longstanding involvement in our work and commit ourselves to making the WJP a worthy part of their legacy. We share here our memories and tributes to their work. 

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Fundamental Rights and the COVID-19 Pandemic

This policy brief is part of a multidisciplinary initiative from the World Justice Project to expand knowledge of the relationship between public health and the rule of law, and to identify measures to tackle the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rule of law where they intersect. 

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As part of WJP's Rule of Law Solutions Initiative, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley speaks with the founder of LawPàdí, a legal empowerment platform. LawPàdí pairs a legal referral service with innovative approaches to legal education, such as street law clinics and automated chat bots, in order to help Nigerians resolve their most common civil justice problems. The conversation touches on the security ramifications of access to justice in the Sahel, and dives into measures of program impact, the role of legal self-help, the strategic use of data, and the importance of building public trust. Ultimately, Ibidapo-Obe shares his vision for a streamlined system of justice in Nigeria.
 

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As part of WJP's Rule of Law Solutions Initiative, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley speaks with the founder of Femmes et Droits Humains, a non-governmental organization working to include Malian women in the justice and peacebuilding process. The conversation addresses the cultural disparities confronting Malian boys and girls as these pertain to education and access to justice, the effort to educate women about their rights under international law, and the importance of building a women's movement to resist theocratic rule. There is also a sobering discussion about the Malian government's reliance on customary justice to address instability.
 

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As part of WJP's Rule of Law Solutions Initiative, World Justice Project researcher and ACLS Mellon Fellow Joe Haley speaks with the founder of tech startup Bankly, Tomiola Adejana. They met in the Hague, Netherlands, where Adejana had just been announced as the 2020 winner of the Innovating Justice Challenge, an incubator program run by the Hague Institute for Innovating Law. Their conversation explores Bankly's strategy for using traditional networks to introduce digital finance to Nigeria's "last mile." They also discuss the strategic role of impact investment, the process of social entrepreneurship, and the regulatory challenges confronting a financial startup in Nigeria.
 

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For the past twenty-six years of its post-Soviet history, Belarus, controlled by Alexander Lukashenko, has seen many affronts to justice and the rule of law – from politically motivated murders to routine falsifications of voting protocols and figures. The Belarusian political crisis capturing the world's attention today is part of a larger story in which key dimensions of the rule of law may help us understand the drivers of change.

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World Justice Project Executive Director Elizabeth Andersen is joined by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria and member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, to discuss the right of peaceful assembly. A new General Comment issued this week by the United Nations Human Rights Committee provides guidance on this topic at a critical moment, with protest movements on the rise across the globe, any many countries grappling with the appropriate response—something that has become even more complicated with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions on large gatherings.
 

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Killian Dorier, Senior Program Associate for Engagement at the World Justice Project, is joined by Nikole Nelson, Executive Director of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, and Walter Flores, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems (CEGSS) to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected indigenous communities in the United States and abroad, and what this additional pressure on countries' rule of law systems means for them.

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Accountable Governance and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reports from around the world suggest a wide range of responses to the pandemic, some well within the boundaries of established legal norms, and others that suggest a manipulation of the emergency for ulterior motives. In WJP's latest policy brief, we examine how COVID-19 crisis presents an enormous stress test for accountable governance—upon which an effective public health response depends.  

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