Today, International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest anti-slavery organization, praises the inclusion of justice in the United Nation’s new Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Development Goal 16 aims to "promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
"Functioning justice systems are not a reality for billions of the world’s poor yet are critical for safeguarding all other areas of development,” said Gary Haugen, founder and CEO of IJM. "In working towards the new SDG goal of promoting peace, establishing justice, and creating a world where everyone can feel safe, the other 16 goals will be given a greater chance to be truly meaningful to the poorest of the poor.”
Established on the heels of the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals have set out to create a road map for addressing extreme poverty and ensuring a better quality of life for everyone in the world in the next 15 years.
In March 2015, Haugen outlined why justice is critical to fighting poverty in a TED Talk entitled "The Hidden Reason for Poverty the World Needs to Address Now,” stating:
"The truth is, the poor of our world are trapped in whole systems of violence…The path forward is really pretty clear. Number one: We have to start making stopping violence indispensable to the fight against poverty.”
With the SDG’s now including a justice component, the challenge for national governments, donor governments, and international development institutions will be to innovate and test ways of re-engineering and professionalizing law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems so that it can be implemented. IJM calls upon the U.S., Canada, and other donors to make a massive investment in building justice capacity that provides protection for the poor and an end to impunity of those who perpetrate violent crimes against them.