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Status: Published

Foreign aid to the justice sector (2000)



justice sector reformThis report examines the factors that make aid programmes successful or not. Based on interviews with beneficiaries in four countries, it examines aid programmes to the justice sector. The information gathered suggests that such aid has facilitated constitutional development and legislative reforms, helped strengthen justice systems, and introduced human rights concepts to the public and into public institutions in societies where such notions were once seen as subversive. At the same time, badly conceived and implemented programmes have sheltered repressive regimes from scrutiny, wasted vital resources and distorted domestic institutions. Donors sometimes promote inappropriate models and put their foreign policy interests before human rights. They can be unreliable partners, subject to quick fixes and too much attention on “exit strategies”.

The report suggests that success depends on many factors, and makes recommendations that may be useful to both donors and beneficiaries looking for ways to strengthen the impact of human rights assistance.

Research team




“It is extremely interesting and challenges us to think about our programmes in a holistic way.” Mary Ndlovu , Legal Resources Foundation, Zimbabwe

“The report is excellent. I only hope that donors and beneficiaries alike will pay close attention to it.” Rick Messick, World Bank