Sharma Urges Commonwealth Law Ministers to Champion Those Denied Justice

By The Commonwealth Secretariat, PRNE
Monday, July 11, 2011

SYDNEY, July 12, 2011 -


The poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable,
those who are
-for whatever
-denied justice; it is they who
should be foremost in our

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma opened the
Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting (CLMM) in Sydney, Australia, on
12 July, urging delegates to champion those who are denied

The fifteenth CLMM - the largest meeting of law ministers in the
world - is hosted by Australia’s Attorney-General Robert McClelland
and Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor. Its
theme is ‘Fostering a Just and Secure Commonwealth’.

Law ministers and attorneys-general from the 54-member
Commonwealth are discussing law and justice issues of common
concern, and how to help strengthen the rule of law, human rights
and security across the Commonwealth.

Addressing delegates Mr Sharma said: “Fundamental to all our
work must be an enduring commitment to ensuring that our citizens
enjoy access to justice. While we can find satisfaction in what the
Commonwealth has already achieved, your deliberations - and the
direction you give the Commonwealth Secretariat - will help us
achieve yet more.

“The poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable, those who are - for
whatever reason - denied justice; it is they who should be foremost
in our thoughts.”

The meeting will also focus on detention and overcrowding in
prisons; judicial independence; administration of justice;
provision of legal aid and assistance; Commonwealth action in terms
of international law, juvenile justice and human trafficking;
counter-terrorism; legislative drafting; climate change;
cyber-crime; international child abduction; and forced and servile

This week, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa
Masire-Mwamba highlighted the legal issues attached to climate
change, which is being discussed at the meeting: “What we will be
doing in this forum is continuing to underscore and to look at
legislative provisions that can acknowledge that climate change is
upon us, and that there does need to be that recognition that deals
and responds to the impact.”

Mrs Masire-Mwamba said the meeting was an opportunity for
ministers and attorneys-general to look at model laws and a chance
for countries to learn from the experiences of others who had
already dealt with advanced aspects of crime, including
cyber-crime, and to prepare for the challenges.

“We are talking about the need for countries to collaborate and
to be able to share information and expertise in responding to the
challenge of new technologies,” she said.

“What we are urging member states to look at is their own
domestic environment so that their ability to collaborate is better

Australia’s Attorney-General Mr McClelland said the meeting
allowed First Law Officers to take stock and look ahead: “Having
the opportunity to draw together the expertise from around the
Commonwealth to look at common challenges against the backdrop of
our common legal heritage is particularly constructive.

“Because of our common heritage, we have that ability to look at
translating the application of international principles into our
broadly consistent domestic laws.”

On Tuesday 12 July 2011, ministers discussed innovative ways of
information sharing including the Commonwealth Connects
portal - a new internet gateway that will enable Commonwealth
citizens and member states to research, communicate and

International Criminal Court (ICC) President Judge Sang-Hyun
is in Sydney to attend the meeting as an observer. On 13 July
, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the ICC will sign a
Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen and develop co-operation
between their organisations to jointly support states implementing
international criminal law.

For media enquiries please contact Manoah Esipisu, Deputy
Spokesperson, on +44-789-446-2021 and href="">


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