Jakarta, 7 December 2022 – Some of the region’s most pressing rule of law issues will be discussed at the Asia Pacific Justice Forum to be held December 8 – 9, 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The forum comes after the release of the 2022 World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index®, which found that rule of law has declined globally for the fifth year in a row. The World Justice Project’s original data in 140 countries and jurisdictions shows that adherence to the rule of law fell in 61% of countries this year. According to the data, the rule of law declined in 71% of countries studied in the Asia Pacific region this year.
The findings for the diverse Asia Pacific region are a mixed bag. Five countries rank among the top 20 performers globally this year – New Zealand (#7), Australia (#13), Japan (#16), Singapore (#17) and Korea (#19). However, there are also five Asia Pacific countries in the bottom performers globally – Bangladesh (#127), Pakistan (#129), Myanmar (#132), Afghanistan (#138) and Cambodia (#139). In all – 15 countries in the region experienced a decline in the rule of law in 2022 and six countries saw an improvement. Indonesia (#64) is one of the six countries in the region where the rule of law grew stronger. It is one of the top 10 improving countries globally for 2022.
World Justice Project researchers, in consultation with stakeholders in the region, identified the following three topics as particularly pressing issues for the rule of law in Asia Pacific: judicial independence, healthy information ecosystems, and access to justice for minority groups. These topics will be the focus of the Forum in Jakarta and a new three-year regional strategy that WJP will launch at the event.
“We are pleased to recognize the important role Indonesia plays in Southeast Asia by convening the Asia Pacific Justice Forum in Jakarta,” said Elizabeth Andersen, executive director for the World Justice Project. “This year, Indonesia made some progress in strengthening the rule of law, but with the rule of law remaining stagnant and declining in much of Asia Pacific, it is vital for stakeholders across the regions to come together to address the challenges and find opportunities for improvement.”
“Even though Indonesia is among the minority of countries that improved its rank in the WJP Rule of Law Index in 2022, we must admit that in reality there is still much work to be done to increase the quality of the rule of law in Indonesia,” executive director of KEMITRAAN Partnership for Governance Reform Laode Syarif said. “The recent unlawful case on the removal of Constitutional Court Justice by the Parliament has sent a signal that the independence of the judiciary is at serious risk in Indonesia.” Syarif also highlights the importance of the event as a forum for the governments, academics, private sector and civil society organizations to build regional networks to advance the quality of the rule of law in the region.
The forum is supported by the Australian Government through Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice 2 (AIPJ2), KEMITRAAN Partnership for Governance Reform, and Ministry of Law Singapore. Additional support has been received from the Hong Kong Bar Association, Jupitice, and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation as well as WJP Private Sector Partnership members Arnold & Porter, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), LexisNexis, Microsoft, Shell, and Wilson Sonsini. The two-day event will focus on building partnerships for the rule of law.
The event will begin with a keynote speech by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia, Muhammad Syarifuddin and Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, Deputy Minister for Law and Human Rights of Indonesia. Other speakers at the event include representatives of government, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations, the academy, and civil society from throughout the region, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, and Thailand.
For more information on the Asia Pacific Justice Forum sessions, including the full list of speakers, click here.