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Billions of people worldwide are still denied meaningful access to justice, which exacerbates the impact of social and economic crises, from pandemics to indebtedness and unemployment. Civil society can play a valuable role in empowering marginalised groups but it is increasingly under attack from authoritarian and repressive governments. Hina Jilani explains why a vibrant civil society benefits the whole body politic and can foster a culture of hope and empowerment across race, class, gender and generational divides.
The Elders believe that all sectors in society must step up and take responsibility to deliver access to justice to the most vulnerable individuals and communities. They work to amplify the voices of grassroots activists and civil society, particularly with regard to violence against women, and engage with heads of state and policymakers to help drive development, social justice and economic growth.
Photo credit: Skoll Foundation
“We urgently have to break the cycle of gender-based discrimination and inequality. Girls are key drivers of transformation, and investing in them will trigger a chain reaction that ultimately leads towards a peaceful and prosperous world.” – Hina Jilani
Human Rights Advocate
Co-chair of the Taskforce on Justice
Member of The Elders
Hina Jilani is a pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner, a leading activist in Pakistan's women's movement, international champion of human rights, and a member of The Elders since 2013.
Ms Jilani founded Pakistan’s first all-woman law firm, legal aid centre and national Human Rights Commissions, and served as the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders 2000-2008. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Taskforce on Justice.
Hina Jilani’s address discusses the issue of justice, and how we can counter the shrinking space for civil society and tackle the multi-faceted global crisis of injustice. If we are to counter this issue, democracy and media freedom must be respected and the powerful must be held to their words.
Find out more about Hina Jilani
Louise Arbour is a Canadian lawyer, prosecutor and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. As Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia, she made history with the incitement of a sitting head of state. She has also served as justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, and UN Special Representative for International Migration.