OGP Newsletter

August 2017: Access to Justice
Most of the world takes a vacation in August, but #opengov never rests. In this issue, we visit the topic of access to justice with the Colombian Minister of Justice and Law and international civil society, and take a look at some recent developments in the world of open government.

In This Issue:

Colombia’s minister of Law and Justice: Apps for legal assistance
Why OGP is a good platform for increasing access to justice
How letters of rights can improve access to justice in Europe
How the Paris Declaration and the SDGs can improve access to justice - together
Remembering an access to justice warrior from South Africa
Reflections on the OGP Subnational Workshop from Scotland
Looking back at some good OGP commitments ahead of new National Action Plans
Plus news from around the world of opengov, jobs, and more

From the #OpenGovGram challenge: citizens demand accountability in India. Photo: Digvijay Singh.

LegalApp Colombia: “Legal Guidance with Just One Click”

By Enrique Gil Botero, Minister of Justice and Law, Government of Colombia

What impact is an OGP commitment having in Colombia? A big one - almost five million people have used the LegalApp platform to help them navigate the intricacies of the justice system. Colombia’s Minister of Justice and Law explains how the app works and how it’s helping citizens here.

Open Government: A Platform for Access to Justice

By Paul Maassen and Tonu Basu, OGP Support Unit

Open government brings to mind open data, access to information, and anti-corruption efforts - but what it should also bring to mind is access to justice. OGP’s civil society team talks some of the successes of access to justice using OGP as a platform - and how other countries can use it, too. Read more here.

OGP’s Paul Maassen writes for the Guardian on six ways for citizens to assert power outside the ballot box - using open government initiatives.

Three ways the Paris Declaration can advance Goal 16

By Stacey Cram, Namati

It’s been nine months since the 4th OGP Global Summit and the signature of the Paris Declaration, six years since OGP was founded, and two years since the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In different ways, these agreements and partnerships are seeking to improve access to justice. Find out how they can scale up and help each other here.

Understanding Your Rights in Police Custody

By Fair Trials

Letters of Rights help citizens in the European Union understand their legal rights when under arrest or detained. While they’ve been useful, the team at Fair Trials is looking at ways to improve access to justice by simplifying and improving this simple tool for citizens. Read more here.

Featured Commitments 2017 

As our odd-year countries send in new OGP Action Plans, we’re taking a look at some of the commitments we’ve featured this year: the successful, the interesting, and the withdrawn.

  • Mongolia: fighting to make beneficial ownership standard
  • Liberia’s land transparency commitment: setting right a painful legacy
  • How an OGP commitment is working to prevent gender-based violence in Brazil
  • Public financing of NGOs in Latvia
  • Subnational commitments in Madrid and Buenos Aires

Is there an interesting commitment being implemented in your country? Is it changing the lives of citizens? We’re all ears - submit a story on OGP’s new website!

Reflections on our time in Washington

By Paul Bradley and Emma Harvey, Open Government Scotland

In July, OGP’s fifteen Subnational Pioneers met in Washington, D.C. to discuss seven months of progress in their first-ever Action Plans. Paul Bradley, from the Scottish Government, and Emma Harvey, from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations, discuss what was learned at the workshop and how Scotland is carrying it forward. Read more here.

Why you should care about access to justice | Andrew Pilliar | TEDxRenfrewCollingwood

“Now what do I mean by access to justice? Simply that you’re able to use the legal system to plan your life and to resolve disputes. . . Being able to stand up to justice is an important part of maintaining our human dignity and believing that your legal system isn’t stacked in favor of the rich and powerful—those who can afford lawyers—is a cornerstone of our society and of our democracy.”
Quote of the Month: Andrew Pilliar
PhD student, University of British Columbia

Click on the video to listen to the full TED talk about access to justice.

Looking for subnational highlights? Look no further than our brand new publication, What’s in the Subnational Action Plans! In it, you’ll find details on action plans, commitments, and the trending topics in subnational governance.

Faces of Open Government

Remembering Nomboniso Nangu Maquebela

“Open government is really about this partnership, about civil society organizations and government working together to collaborate for the benefit of citizens and communities on the ground.”

The open government community in South Africa is remembering a crucial activist in the field of access to justice. Read the full remembrance from the Global Legal Empowerment Network here.

OGP in the News - July 2017

By Jacqueline McGraw, Communications Associate, OGP

How can citizens go beyond the ballot box? OGP’s own Paul Maassen wrote a piece for the Guardian newspaper in July, talking about successful open government initiatives around the world. That was far from all of the coverage, however - OGP made headlines in Norway, South Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria, and beyond - read it all here.

Employment Opportunities

IRM Report Production Specialist
The IRM is seeking highly organized individuals with strong writing skills to collaborate with IRM team in production of reports from review to publication.

Call for Independent Experts Panel Members
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is seeking nominations for new members of the International Experts Panel, the governing body of the IRM. These members will take on the work of reviewing documents during 2018 and will assume a role in guiding the IRM in 2020 onwards.

Donor Scoping Consultant in Africa
OGP is looking for an individual to carry out donor mapping in OGP member countries in Africa. The overall objective of this assignment is to conduct a comprehensive donor scoping and intelligence of funding agencies in 15 African countries. The consultant will lead the donor mapping process with a view to actively seek partnerships with those donors whose priorities are in line with the Open Governance Partnership and Good Governance broadly.

Call for IRM National Researchers 
The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is seeking individuals to carry out research at the national level in a variety of countries to assess government progress on implementation of their OGP Action Plans.
Buzz on #OpenGov   

Register for the OGP Regional Americas Meeting here.

OGP Deputy Chief Executive Officer Joe Powell urged more countries in the Asia-Pacific to join OGP at an ASEAN event in August.

The OGP Strategic Refresh is online and available for comment here.

Subscribe to OGP in the News to receive weekly updates about OGP's media coverage around the world.

The World of #OpenGov

Publish What You Pay has released its annual report.

Involve UK is hiring a Network and Campaign Lead.

Publish What You Fund is hiring a Research Assistant.

The GPSA Global Partners Forum will be in Washington, D.C. from October 30 - November 1.

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