Justice Defender Sukti Dhital shares her perspectives on reimagining justice: human rights through legal empowerment in anticipation of the Reimagining Justice conference taking place in NYC this week.
According to the United Nations, more than four billion people live outside the protection of the law. Adding to this unjust and ongoing status quo are profound levels of income inequality and rising authoritarianism, deepening the marginalization of communities across the globe. The result is an urgent need to reimagine justice, to build legal systems that work for everyone, driven by the voices of those who have been historically powerless.
American writer James Baldwin once said that to “know how justice is administered in a country” one must go to the “unprotected” and listen to their stories to learn “not whether the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it.”
Legal empowerment is a growing field of human rights practice, scholarship, and education that strives to do just this—to listen to the stories of communities affected by injustice, and to reverse the tide by strengthening the capacity of marginalized individuals to use the law to find solutions to their justice problems.