Humanitas360 had the opportunity to participate in a high level event at the United Nations in New York discussing about the necessary measures to obtain access to justice under the Sustainable Development Goal 16.3.
The panel focused on the importance of access to legal aid, primarily for poor and marginalized accusers. Even though many countries have laws ensuring the right to legal aid for poor persons accused on crimes, it seems every country in the world is still facing a deep access to legal aid crisis. This has led to a grave injustice to poor and marginalized persons, who through this reality are facing extended and arbitrary prison sentences, pretrial detentions, coerced confessions, torture and wrongful convictions. On top of criminal representation, in many countries poor people who are facing civic legal problems also are not provided with legal aid and therefore can at times be left homeless, jobless, without medical care and without food. Aside of this being an overwhelming global crisis, as the panelists pointed out this aspect of justice is constantly overlooked despite its large consequences.
The panel was meant to begin an ongoing discussion of how to obtain access to justice by promoting legal aid and emphasizing how crucial the access to legal representation is. As Humanitas360 continues to strive to create an empowered Latin America, the prison system in the Americas cannot be overlooked. Working to better the broken governance in Latin America, Humanitas360 plans to take actions to promote access to legal aid in order to advocate for justice as a measure to create equal and peaceful societies.