An Introduction: Enhancing Access to Justice for Women and the Disadvantaged” Project
“Enhancing Access to Justice for Women and the Disadvantaged” is a project of National Alliance for Women Lawyers’ (NAWL) implemented with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is in line with NAWL’s endeavor to create a nationwide human rights awareness and capacity building to community leaders, women leaders and youth to understand their rights and advocate for the protection of those rights for peaceful coexistence and confidence in institutions dealing with (custodians) of the rule of law. Juba is the project site. Partners shall include duty-bearers such as the police, prisons and judicial officials and women groups. School girls shall be reached through participation of the Girl Guides.
The project focuses on legal awareness to girls, women and the disadvantaged with the view to enhancing their understanding of the laws. It shall build a network of women lawyers and paralegals that shall hold forums with girls and women groups so as to unlock their minds to be able to deal head-on with barriers of access to justice. Six paralegals and 200 women shall receive training during the project cycle. A team of women lawyers, paralegals and women representatives shall hold eight (8) radio talk shows in Bor and Juba, with call-in lines for public participation. “A Legal Aid Handbook for Paralegals” shall be produced to act as self-help for individuals and trainers of trainees on the basics of human rights and where to seek help when one feels their rights have been infringed.
The project shall provide legal aid and counsel in the form of pro bono legal representation for claim holders (beneficiaries) to women, children and the disadvantaged (the poor and people with disabilities). In collaboration with stakeholders (police, prisons, judicial officials and traditional authorities), the network of women lawyers and paralegals shall review cases that have not been prosecuted (on sexual and gender-based violence, property inheritance, land issues, or involving human or constitutional rights violations) to identify eligible beneficiaries for legal representation. The cases will be followed from identification through prosecution to ruling and implementation of verdict. Legal help desk shall be provided so that individual cases can be received and reviewed for appropriate redress. These experiences shall be documented in a publication titled “Prosecution of Crimes against Women in South Sudan”.
Legal protection shall be enhanced through assessment and analysis of the capacity gaps in the duty bearers (the police, prisons and judicial officials and traditional authorities). A review of national legislations against international and customary laws shall be undertaken to resolve any outstanding conflict of laws. Five (5) litigations shall be undertaken in defense of individual’s rights.