Discussion as part of the Interactive Session on Access to Justice for Minorities during the World Justice Project's Asia Pacific Justice Forum
From left to right: Hannah Lim, Head of Rule of Law and Emerging Markets, LexisNexis Southeast Asia (Moderator); Dio Ashar Wicaksana, Co-founder and Executive Director, Indonesia Judicial Research Society, Indonesia; Ajay Shankar Jha, Executive Director, Public Defender Society of Nepal; Angkhana Neelapaijit, UN Expert and Member of UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Thailand

 

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.   

December’s Asia Pacific Justice Forum brought together business, government, and civil society leaders from across the region for discussions on judicial independence, combatting disinformation, and access to justice and a deeper look at how these issues affect rule of law. 

The Asia Pacific Justice Forum comes at a critical moment. While rule of law fell in 61% of the 140 countries and jurisdictions featured in the 2022 WJP Rule of Law Index this year, rule of law fell in 71% of Asia Pacific countries. At the same time, five countries in the region—New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Korea—are in the top 20 of this year’s Index.  

Meanwhile, five countries in Asia Pacific—Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Cambodia—rank at the bottom of the Index, underscoring the dramatic rule of law gap in the region.   

Overall, even with this gap, no Asia Pacific country’s score improved by more than 2% in the Index since 2015. As a result, addressing top rule of law priorities and building partnerships in the region remain an urgent issue.  

You can watch the livestreams from Day 1 and Day 2 of the Asia Pacific Justice Forum below. 

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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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