The Attorney-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs recently launched Australia’s Framework for Law and Justice in the Pacific. The Framework is a high-level statement of priorities intended to guide Australia’s work in the Pacific law and justice sector. The Framework commits Australia to help Pacific countries strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights. It states that ‘[t]he performance of the law and justice system is critical to the preservation of fundamental human rights, promotion of the rule of law and access to justice, particularly for the poor and vulnerable. Without development in this area, achievement of the MDGs will be beyond reach’
The Framework emphasizes the importance of building partnerships with Pacific government and non-government agencies and building local capacity. It details specific commitments in areas including transnational crimes, gender equality and violence against women, public administration and access to justice.
The Human Rights Law Resource Centre provided comments on a draft of the Framework which were subsequently incorporated in the final document. The Centre’s comments discussed ways in which the protection and promotion of human rights contribute to positive security, governance and development outcomes and recommended that the human rights framework play a central role in Australia’s law and justice engagement with the Pacific.