Australia supports research to strengthen Vanuatu justice sector crisis preparedness

    Minister of Justice and Community Services (MJCS), the Hon John Amos launched the report today with Acting Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp.

    Minister unveils new Australia supported research and guidance to enhance sector’s crisis preparedness, response and recovery service delivery and coordination.

    PORT VILA, JUNE 5: The Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MJCS) has today launched significant new research designed to help strengthen the justice sector in times of crisis. As the region continues to navigate the impacts of climate change, this research, undertaken in partnership with Australia, aims to enhance preparedness, response and recovery service delivery across Vanuatu’s justice, protection and security agencies.

    The research, titled Bridging the humanitarian and development nexus in justice sector reform in Vanuatu: A mapping of good global practice, is a reminder that the impacts of crises typically fall heaviest on people already living in vulnerable situations. Crimes and social unrest often increase during crises, especially family violence. This places increased demand on justice, policing and protection services, despite the services themselves facing challenges to recover and restore core capabilities.

    In the wake of the devastating cyclone season in 2023, the Vanuatu Government endorsed steps to further align the justice sector with Vanuatu’s existing humanitarian coordination systems. The report provides examples of domestic, regional and global justice sector good practice, and offers a clear evidence base to inform Vanuatu’s work across the chain of justice during crises.

    The Minister of Justice and Community Services (MJCS), the Hon John Amos launched the report today with Acting Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp. Minister Amos said the report highlights how the core capabilities of the courts, public solicitor, public prosecutor and corrections along with essential protection services, are frequently interrupted when disaster strikes.

    “Our communities have faced a series of devastating cyclones in recent years and the justice sector has not been immune to the negative impacts,” said Minister Amos. “Our sector leaders witnessed first-hand how crises can threaten the rights of individuals – people in the most vulnerable situations ¬¬– to access essential justice and protection services.

    “Today’s launch is a critical opportunity for us to start preparing for the future. We thank Australia for its support building knowledge and supporting the actions by agencies already occurring in this space. The Government of Vanuatu looks forward to continuing our work, together with Australia, to build a robust and resilient justice sector that can face any crisis - which comes our way.” Acting Australian High Commissioner Philp said the partnership represented Vanuatu and Australia’s joint determination to strengthen legal institutions and support those most in need.

    “Australia is pleased to support this research, so we can help the sector as a whole to take tangible steps towards supporting those in the most vulnerable situations,” said Acting High Commissioner Philp.

    “Justice and law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in reducing and responding to risks during crises, in particular ensuring the rights of people in vulnerable situations and in preventing and responding to gender-based violence.”

    This research not only recalls past commitments but offers essential guidance on good global practice to support the Ministry building improved capacity and services.

    Following on from the report’s recommendations, MJCS agencies will co-develop a road map of actions, including:

    • refreshing agency continuity planning and budgeting
    • embedding community-based mechanisms in Vanuatu's humanitarian coordination architecture
    • sector-wide reviews of overarching strategies and planning, including the Justice and Community Services Sector Strategy 2024-2030 which is currently being finalised.

    Please publish modules in offcanvas position.