The work of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) has been bolstered by a J$34 million injection from the European Union for a project dubbed ‘We Want Justice’.
The project, which aims to advance democratic rights, through the promotion of alternative dispute resolution, was launched Thursday (March 4), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. It aims to carry out its mandate through mediation, arbitration and restorative justice practices.
It will also provide capacity building training to community personnel that will help them to strengthen their local justice systems, and empower community members to take control of their lives, enhancing national security and good governance.
One of the activities under the project is a comprehensive public education programme, through the use of town hall meetings and the electronic media.
Speaking at the launch Thursday (March 4), Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, thanked the EU for its support to Jamaica and said the project will contribute to the justice reform process.
She also stated that it would afford easier access to justice in civil matters for persons from St, James, St. Catherine, Clarendon and Kingston and St. Andrew, where it will be focused.
“Equal access to justice in civil cases, including commercial matters, will be enhanced by this project, by ensuring that the financial positions of individuals do not exclude them from participating in the project, and also by ensuring that cases are treated fairly and expeditiously,” she added.
Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica, His Excellency Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni (centre), and Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Foundation, John Bassie (right), examining a document at the launch of the DRF’s ‘We Want Justice’ project, funded by the EU, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, Thursday (March 4). Seated at left is Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne.
Also speaking at the launch, Chairman of the DRF, John Bassie, pledged that the Foundation would “deliver at a standard that justifies the confidence that has been reposed in us”.
The grant to the DRF is the second project approved by the EU under its 2009 European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights allocation for Jamaica. The first grant contract was signed in December 2009, with Jamaicans for Justice, for J$34 million.
Head of the Delegation of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, His Excellency Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, said that there will be another call for proposals under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights this year.
“The Delegation of the European Union proposes highlighting this year, among other possible project activities, projects that would address pressing issues involving children and reforms in the juvenile and adult correctional facilities. This is especially important, in light of the Armadale tragedy,” he stated.