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LJD Week 2021 | Poverty and Racial Equity in the Criminal Justice System: Fostering Development through Access to Justice

November 8, 2021

Virtual | Live Broadcast & Recorded



A session co-organized with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The world’s attention has been drawn to the devastating effects that systemic racial inequity in criminal justice systems can have on individual lives and the fabric of society, as powerfully highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. The combined effects of racism, poverty, and other intersecting grounds for structural discrimination are closely linked to disproportionate representation of particular groups within criminal justice systems around the world. The international community has recognized the importance of access to justice for sustainable development, including through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 16 (SDG16), which focuses on access to justice and effective, inclusive institutions. 

The panels will explore the relationships between racial and ethnic inequality, racial and ethnic discrimination, poverty, access to justice, the disparities suffered by marginalized groups within criminal justice systems, and the effects of these disparities on development outcomes. The panels will provide space for policy-makers, criminal justice practitioners, civil society advocates, and scholars from different regions of the world to share their experiences and practices related to racial inequality in the criminal justice system. 

The first panel session will focus on “Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System.” The second panel discussion will consider “Police Use of Force and Reforms.” The panelists will explore the role of international organizations (including IFIs), national and local governments and judicial institutions, policymakers, and civil society in addressing these issues. The session will focus on providing key solutions to address racial inequity in criminal justice systems, realize the implementation of UN SDG16, and improve access to justice globally to promote human rights and development.

  • Speakers


    Hon. Suntariya Muanpawong

    Deputy Chief Justice, Court of Justice Region 5, Thailand

    Hon. Justice Suntariya Muanpawong has had a significant role in developing the accountability and responsiveness of the judiciary. She has worked as the First Supervisor of the Judicial Research Institute, Secretary of the Environmental Law Division, and Deputy Secretary of the Supreme Court, Secretary of the Appeal Court Region 1. She is a proponent of people-oriented justice reform and has conducted research projects on court reform, child rights protection, gender justice, prisoner rights and environmental jurisprudence. Honorable Justice Suntariya Muangpawong has also joined commissions and working groups developing constitutional rights. She is a graduate of Thammasat University and Muenster University.


    Karen Tse

    Founder and CEO, International Bridges to Justice

    Karen Tse founded International Bridges to Justice in 2000. An international human rights lawyer, ordained minister and former San Francisco public defender, Karen first developed her interest in the nexus of criminal law and human rights in 1986, after witnessing Southeast Asian refugees detained in a local prison without trial. In 1994, she moved to Cambodia to train the country’s first core group of public defenders and subsequently served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Karen formed IBJ after witnessing hundreds of prisoners of all ages being held without trials, usually after being tortured into making 'confessions’. IBJ is creating the conditions for a “new normal in justice” in which citizens will have access to justice and ending the use of torture as an investigative tool. IBJ now has a presence in 48 countries, with permanent country programs in 11 countries. Over 18 years, IBJ has supported more than 30,000 lawyers and defenders who have represented more than 400,000 detainees. IBJ has also reached over 35 million people through rights awareness campaigns around the world. Working globally both on the ground and online, IBJ has an active online presence through Criminal Defense for 100+ countries and 152 eLearning modules for over 20 countries, with over 20 million hits for both platforms combined since its creation.


    Megan Longley

    Executive Director, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service and Former Chief Executive Officer, Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission, Canada

    Megan Longley graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1994 and was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1995. After a period in private practice she joined Nova Scotia Legal Aidin 1999. Megan’s practice was primarily as criminal defence counsel, in the Youth Courtfor a good portion of her career. She becamemanager of Nova Scotia Legal Aid’sYouth Justice Officeoffice in 2011.In 2015 Megan joined the Executive Office as Service Delivery Director and became Executive Director of Nova Scotia Legal Aid in 2016. Megan is past president of the Nova Scotia Criminal Lawyers’ Association, sits as an executive member on the board of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and also sits on several court and justice committees. Megan represents the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada on Canada’s National Action Committee on Access to Justice.


    Saadia Mosbah

    Founder, Anti-Racism Association Mnemty (My Dream), Tunisia

    Saadia Mosbah is the Founder and President of MNEMTY, the main (and for a long time ) only Tunisian civil society organization working in racial discrimination. Mnemty (my dream) is known for its advocacy campaigns which contributed to the adoption of a law against racial discrimination by Tunisian Parliament in October 2018. Saadia has been collaborating on projects with Minority Rights Group since 2016. She participated in the \IVLP ( International Visitors Leadership Program ) class 2019 USA Join the Africain Woman leaders ( AWLN ) in January 2020 and Mediterranean women in April 2020 Collaborated as a consultant and expert in the MENA region, in the development of passport of rights ( against trafficking in persons ) under the aegis of the European Commission and the Tunisian instance for the fight against trafficking in persons in July 2020. Previously, Saadia was an air hostess and purser with Tunisair for 39 years before retiring.


    Kami Chavis

    Vice Provost, Professor of Law, and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University

    Kami Chavis is a Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University School of Law. In 2015, she was appointed as a Senior Academic Fellow at the Joint Center for Political And Economic Studies. She has substantial practice experience and writes and teaches in areas related to criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal justice reform. After receiving her J.D. from Harvard Law School, she worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she participated in various aspects of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations. In 2003, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, involving her in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and in arguing and briefing appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Professor Chavis frequently makes presentations on law-enforcement issues and is a leader in the field of police accountability. Her articles have appeared in the American Criminial Law Review, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the University of Alabama Law Review, and the Catholic University Law Review, and other legal journals.


    Francisco Angelo Silva Assis

    State Prosecutor, Minas Gerais, Brazil

    Francisco Angelo Silva Assis graduated in Law from University of Itaúna (Private University in Minas Gerais), and holds a postgraduate diploma in Criminal Law, External Control of Police Activity and Combating Organized Crime. State Prosecutor since 2004, former participant in the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais (MPMG’s) special group for combating organized crime, former coordinator of MPMG’s Public Security Working Group, Coordinator of MPMG’s Operational Support Center in Defense of Human Rights, External Control of Police Activity and Community Support.


    Anna Giudice

    Police Reform Team Leader, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Lead on Criminal Justice Pillar, UN Network on Racism Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

    Anna Giudice (she/her) is a Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at the Justice Section, Division of Operations, UNODC Headquarters in Vienna. As a career UN staff she has worked with UNODC since 2000, in various functions relating to the implementation of the international drug and crime conventions and UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice. Her background is in Public International Law and International Human Rights Law. She is the Team Leader of the Access to Justice team within the Justice Section. In this capacity she leads UNODC’s work in the area of access to justice, police reform and victim support. Her particular focus is on equal access to justice for all by addressing structural discrimination and intersectionality. In 2017, she led the development of the UNODC-OHCHR Resource book on use of force and firearms by law enforcement professionals and provides strategic advice to countries embarking in police reform processes. She is also the UNODC lead on racial discrimination and protection of minorities and leads the criminal justice pillar of the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. She is also a coordinator for UN-GLOBE, the UN LGBTIQ+ staff organisation.


    Sheila Braka Musiime (moderator)

    Chief Counsel, World Bank

    Sheila Braka Musiime is Chief Counsel for the World Bank’s LEGAM (Africa and Middle East and North Africa) Practice Group, covering East and Southern Africa and regional operations. She previously worked as Chief Counsel for the East Asia and Pacific Region, and on legal and policy issues across several other Regions and thematic areas in the World Bank. She went to law school in Uganda at Makerere University and completed a Master’s in Law at Harvard Law School, where she was part of the editorial team of the International Law Journal. Prior to joining the Bank, Sheila was in private practice at a commercial law firm in Uganda.


    Roger Fairfax (moderator)

    Dean, American University Washington College of Law

    Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. is Dean of American University Washington College of Law. As a prominent legal scholar, educator, and nationally known expert on criminal justice, he previously served as the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor and founding director of the Criminal Law & Policy Initiative at George Washington University Law School. Dean Fairfax held positions at GW Law School as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Public Engagement. His scholarship has been published in books and leading journals, and he has taught courses and conducted research on criminal law and procedure, professional responsibility and ethics, criminal justice policy and reform, racial justice, and grand jury and internal investigations. He has championed diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout higher education and the legal profession.


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