The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives, with the generous support of the British High Commission in the Maldives has presented the Department of Judicial Administration with digital equipment for the Magistrate Courts, to facilitate vital judicial services work remotely and increase access to justice for communities.
“Providing judicial services online since the early days of the pandemic was an impressive achievement by the Department of Judicial Administration. They say justice delayed is justice denied. Seeing the positive steps taken, the UK was pleased to provide additional assistance to further extend the reach of the rule of law throughout the islands and atolls of Maldives,” said the British High Commissioner to the Maldives, Her Excellency Caron Röhsler, speaking at the handover ceremony.
The latest handover of the ICT assets is part of UNDP and partners’ continued support to the digitalization process of the Judiciary. Since the onset of the pandemic, UNDP has provided digitalization equipment to the Apex Courts in Male’ and to key justice sector stakeholders such as the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. From September 2020 to December 2020 alone, more than 11,000 online hearings were facilitated by the Judiciary with these new technological solutions in place. This support will assist the magistrate courts to significantly multiply the number of court hearings from last year, and continue providing judicial services to remote communities at a time like this with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
“UNDP is proud to support the digitalization efforts of the judiciary, with the goal to ensure that justice institutions are responsive to the rights and needs of all populations during this pandemic and beyond. It is important to consider the access to justice services that need to be provided for hard to reach and vulnerable populations, including access to legal aid and information, comprehensive services for victims and survivors of violence, and the protection of migrants and displaced populations. This is a vital step towards increasing public confidence and belief in the judiciary and justice sector as a whole,” said Vera Hakim, UNDP Resident Representative ad interim in the Maldives, handing over the assets to the Judiciary.
The Asset Transfer Letter to the Department of Judicial Administration was received by Uza. Aishath Rizna, Chief Judicial Administrator, at the handover event presided by Chief Guest Honorable Uza. Hisaan Hussain, Chairperson of Judicial Services Commission.
In her remarks, Chief Judicial Administrator, Aishath Rizna, extended her sincere gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the judiciary for the continued support provided by UNDP. “Contribution and support in the form of ICT equipment from UNDP will help to strengthen the ability to continue and further develop and enhance and improve access to justice across the judiciary. It also facilitates continuous judicial education which has ensured training and knowledge sharing programs for the judges during the pandemic in addition to providing access to justice services remotely,” Uz. Rizna said, speaking at the ceremony.
The digital equipment handed over to the Magistrate Court today was made possible with the generous support of the British High Commission through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund programme in the Maldives. Along with the High Commission, UNDP acknowledged the continued support by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office towards the development of Maldives and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the country.
Decentralizing services for island communities is a fundamental step to achieving the SDGs for the Maldives. UNDP and partners’ commitment to digital disruption initiatives for the justice sector ensures the achievement of the Goals – especially Goal 10 on Reduced Inequalities, and Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, as Maldives Builds Forward Better from crises.