Human Rights and Justice Institutions

It is now widely accepted that justice institutions are crucial for good governance and sustainable development and play an important role in promoting and protecting human rights. Recent World Development Reports have highlighted the role of justice—along with citizen security and economic opportunity—in breaking cycles of fragility and conflict.

Justice institutions are critical to the fair distribution of power and rights. They also underpin the forms and functions of other institutions that deliver public services and regulate access to resources. Clear, equitable rules and processes can facilitate effective and peaceful transitional change and can create the enabling conditions for a functioning social and economic net by challenging inequitable practices. At the same time, there is still limited understanding of how equitable justice systems emerge and thus how they can be supported or promoted. While recent experience in advancing legal and judicial reform has generated some partial successes and lessons learned, there is a growing understanding of the limitations of existing approaches.

In recognition of how well-functioning justice systems empower countries to combat extreme poverty and economic inequality, the World Bank's Justice for the Poor (J4P) program engages with justice reform as a cross-cutting issue in the practice of development. Grounded in evidence-based approaches focused on the perspective of the poor and marginalized, the program aims to improve the delivery of justice services and to support sustainable and equitable development processes that manage grievance and conflict stresses effectively.

J4P works in countries across East Asia and the Pacific (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu), as well as in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone). The program focuses on access to justice, equity in service delivery, and land and natural resource governance, with attention to gender and development effectiveness in all of its projects.

Nordic Trust Fund

World Bank and Human Rights

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