The USAID New Justice Program, Ministry of Justice, Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining areas for further cooperation in implementing best practices in justice for children, including improving the quality of free legal aid for them.
“We have been cooperating with UNICEF and the USAID New Justice Program for a long time. And we thank them for their active cooperation and support for the reform of justice for children. This memorandum will be the basis for further initiatives aimed at creating a child-friendly justice system,” said Denys Malyuska, Minister of Justice of Ukraine.
“The primary task of any democratic government is to ensure access to justice for all, including one of the most vulnerable groups – children. It is therefore critical that laws, policies and practices related to the protection of the rights of children fully respond to the specific needs of juveniles,” emphasized Thomas White, Director of the Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID Regional Mission for Ukraine and Belarus, during the online discussion on the MOU implementation.
“USAID is honored through the New Justice Program to support the Ministry of Justice and its Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision. The United States looks forward to seeing continued progress in reforming the Ukrainian justice sector with respect to the specific needs of children,” said Thomas White.
David Vaughn, USAID New Justice Program Chief of Party, emphasized that this is the second memorandum with the Ministry of Justice, the Coordination Center and UNICEF. “This proves that the coordination of our work in the implementation of child-friendly justice is extremely important and relevant,” he underlined.
The USAID New Justice Program, in conjunction with UNICEF, will provide expert support to the Ministry of Justice and the Coordination Center in improving the respective legal framework, as well as in training trainers and conducting regional trainings for free secondary legal aid lawyers on effective representation and protection of children’s rights in various type of proceedings.
“The training format for lawyers that we have developed jointly with the USAID New Justice Program is designed to ensure a sustainable training program and to have our own trainers in the Free Legal Aid (FLA) system who will carry on this work. This is very important, because the number of lawyers in the FLA system is increasing significantly and they all are interested in continuous training,” said Alexander Baranov, acting Director of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision.
Additionally, the Ministry of Justice, Coordination Center and USAID New Justice Program are working together to develop common standards for the training of justice system professionals working with children (lawyers, judges, prosecutors, policemen, etc.), taking into account international experience and the results of existing training courses and programs.
These joint efforts are aimed at creating child-friendly justice, which in its turn will increase the level of security in communities and facilitate their social and economic development.