Apia, Samoa – The Law and Justice Sector in Samoa today launched its Plan to guide its work over the next five years. In a brief ceremony at the Tanoa Hotel, Sogi, the caretaker Prime Minister spoke about the significance of having this plan in place.
“Overall, Samoa is generally considered a peaceful, stable and secure society unlike other societies within our own region. However, violent crimes and assaults are rising and presently at alarming levels especially in respect to the safety and security of our society and its domestic situations. The Sector takes this increasing prevalence seriously and with the development of the new Samoa Law and Justice Sector Plan, you now have a revised collective strategic instrument and roadmap to guide the work of our Sector, thus holding this critical sector and leaders accountable in the fight to improve community safety, accessibility to justice systems and border security and national safeguards,” said the caretaker PM, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
The creation of the Plan was funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) via its core resources and the Spotlight Initiative, a joint United Nations-European Union project to address violence against women and girls. Access to justice is a vital part of the UNDP mandate to reduce poverty and strengthen democratic governance. Within the broad context of justice reform, UNDP's niche lies in supporting justice and related systems to work for the disadvantaged.
The Plan aligns with national, regional and global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 5 – Gender Equality, and 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
“The Spotlight Initiative focuses on domestic violence and intimate partner violence. The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (MJCA) is one of the lead implementing partners under Spotlight and is working directly with UNDP to strengthen national laws and policies, and institutions. This also links to the acceleration of the 2030 agenda. Sustainable development can only become a reality if we include half of the population, who are females. MJCA, through the Law & Justice Sector, is seen as a key game changer to promote a safe and enabling environment for inclusion to happen. The Plan serves as a living policy tool that informs practices and processes that place the protection and safety of our people as citizens at the center of decision making for policy development and programming, thus linking sustainable development with gender equality and peaceful and inclusive societies,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen.
The Plan focuses on achieving three key areas:
- Community Safety and Wellbeing as a result of a Law and Justice Sector that prioritises Crime Prevention and Crime Management;
- Improved accessibility to the Justice System, in harmonization with governance and integrity of the customary and formal justice systems in place; and
- Improved border security and national safeguards as a result of a Law and Justice Sector that prioritises good governance principles and respect for the rule of law that enables a secure and resilient Samoa.
The Law & Justice Sector includes the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, Ministry of Police and Prisons, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Ombudsman, Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Samoa Law Reform Commission, and the recent addition of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Given the cross cutting nature of the Law and Justice Sector, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Commission also play an active role in the Sector. The non-government agencies include the Samoa Law Society, SUNGO, representative of matai, representative of women and the National Council of Churches.
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