It is easy to forget that it was not too long ago when the six members of Natural Justice sat together to outline its vision and mission; a process that had already been done, in many ways, by its two founding members Harry Jonas and Kabir Bavikatte. From that small team we have now grown to 4 offices internationally working in 9 countries. However, we remain cognizant that the challenges Natural Justice was set up to address still exist and to a large extent are becoming more profound. This requires us to continually push against our boundaries, foster our team’s desire to learn, improve and innovate in order to achieve our vision.
Over the last year, we have worked to do exactly that. We were able to widely disseminate the results of our research, provide our partners with clear and concise information on accessing and utilizing the law, expand into more practice areas relevant to our community partners, and strengthen our partnerships and networks.
Our research, including national legal reviews, continues to guide the direction of our work and provides our partners with valuable legal information. This year we released the second edition of the Living Convention, a compendium of international laws relevant to indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights to their lands, waters, natural resources and traditional knowledge.
We have deepened our work with community partners, with a particular focus on India, South Africa, Kenya and Malaysia. We began two key programmes of work focused on supporting communities impacted by extractive industries and infrastructure projects to access and utilize the law. We are also exploring projects to support the cultural revitalization of communities, which many consider a fundamental step in realizing change. Further, our partnerships with the LED Lab in India have produced innovative programmes such as the Heroes and Voices projects, and we continue to explore various methodologies to assist communities in engaging with the law in order to respond to their challenges.