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Papua New Guinea: Strengthening Law and Justice

Justice Services and Stability for Development


Papua New Guinea’s economic and social development is impeded by significant law and order issues; crime; corruption; land and property disputes; and family and sexual violence against women, girls, and vulnerable people. Weak enforcement of laws fosters a culture of impunity and lawlessness. There is a lack of access to justice for large sections of the population, including people in remote areas and those living with a disability.


Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D) is a sector-led program that supports the Government of Papua New Guinea to improve law and order, combat corruption, and reduce violence against women, with the goal of creating a ‘just, safe, and secure society for all’ as the foundation for improving economic and social development.

The overarching goals of JSS4D are:

  • Safer and more secure communities where people have greater access to better aligned effective legal services and community justice mechanisms.
  • More accountable, legitimate, and responsive law and justice agencies contributing to a culture of legal compliance and enforcement.

JSS4D provides targeted assistance to Papua New Guinea’s national law and justice agencies, five priority provincial governments, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) and civil society groups.

JSS4D has three major components, all of which are underpinned by a strong gender and inclusion focus:

  • National – support for reform of key policies that guide the law and justice sector and strengthening of sector leadership.
  • Subnational – support to village courts, land mediation and strengthening the safety and security of citizens within their communities.
  • Common Priorities – support to investigation and prosecution of family and sexual violence offenses, improving support for survivors and their dependents, and strengthening systems and cultures that resist corruption.

Goals and Results

The Papua New Guinea law and justice sector has achieved the following results, with support from JSS4D:

  • Sector development. National policy in place that sets the overall Government of Papua New Guinea approach to law and justice. Implementation of the national gender equity, disability, and social inclusion (GEDSI) policy, including mainstreaming at the subnational level.
  • Access to justice. Revitalisation of the village courts system, construction of village court houses that provide a tangible presence for the law and justice system and strengthened capacity and effectiveness of village court and land mediation services.
  • Addressing family and sexual violence. Improved investigation and prosecution of family sexual violence offenses through training of police officers, prosecutors, court officials, lawyers, and advocates.
  • Community safety. Reduced conflict in priority areas through training in dispute resolution and peace management techniques.
  • Information and communication. Mainstream media educated in sensitivities around reporting of juvenile justice and family sexual violence matters, with awareness of applicable laws.
  • Shaping Bougainville Justice project. Creation of the framework for the draw-down of law and justice powers, which serves as a model for other sectors. Development of priority legislation for functions identified for the initial transfer of powers. Upskilling of Land Court Magistrate reduced the backlog of local land cases. Village court officials trained as volunteer juvenile justice officers.
2016 - 2023
Implemented by
DT Global Asia Pacific
Papua New Guinea
Technical Areas
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