In Argentina, civil society groups and community members came together with government and academic entities in a series of events and meetings beginning in 2017 to create the Access to Justice Agreement: A Reforms Agenda for the Effectiveness of Rights (also available en español). Published in December 2018, this effort was galvanized by Network member Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia to promote an agenda for reforms in Argentina to guarantee the effectiveness of the rights of people and equal access to justice, particularly for vulnerable groups or those requiring strong government protection.
The proposals outlined in this document seek to improve Argentina’s access to justice standards for citizenship, particularly for disadvantaged sectors of society. The authors argue that these sectors face “serious violations of their fundamental rights,” as the Judiciary and public offices are physically and financially inaccessible, legal counsel is not guaranteed, and the existing procedures do not cover all legal needs and citizenship requests. Further, many people in Argentina are unaware of their rights or the mechanisms available for conflict-resolution and, as such, conflicts intensify.
Within the context of Argentina’s recently announced Judiciary reform Plan de Justicia 2020 (Justice Plan 2020) and this year’s Voluntary National Review on UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, there presents good opportunity for debate and discussion on what reforms Argentina still needs to realize justice for all. While some “access to justice territorial devices” have been implemented to extend legal counsel to disadvantaged groups and there is broad national consensus on the adoption of minimum standards put forth by the Brasilia Regulations Regarding Access to Justice for Vulnerable People, the authors argue more needs to be done to address the civil conflicts in Argentina.
The Access to Justice Agreement is people-centered; the reform proposals are focused on the persons experiencing violations of their rights and the lack of proper stages to solve their legal needs. The Agreement argues that people should be able to know, use, and transform the law. The outlined proposals are intended to be translated into public policy and to trigger reform processes to revert the main deficit in access to justice regarding non-criminal conflict in Argentina. The authors suggest this can happen through a national law on access to justice as well as through gradual and specific reforms in laws and the design of policies.
Read the full Access to Justice Agreement here.