Access to Justice Orientation meeting held

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Following the success registered in the piloting of the Access to Justice and Legal Education Project in the three regions (WCR, LRR and URR) last year, the project is now expanded to cover other regions (NBR and CRR-South) that were not covered last year.

To that end, an orientation meeting was yesterday at the Ocean Bay Hotel, to introduce the implementers and other stakeholders in the project and the implementation strategies.  

The Access to Justice Civic Awareness Campaign is part of the EU Technical Assistance to the Government of The Gambia.

The European Union-funded Access to Justice and Legal Education Project aims to contribute to better democratic and economic governance in The Gambia, through improving access to justice and legal education.

The objective is to improve access to legal service/remedial justice, especially for vulnerable groups; legal education, training and research skills, as well as information, and management of cases.

A major focus of the project is the civic awareness campaign which is geared towards ensuring that local communities are aware of their basic legal rights and obligations, and how and where to seek redress.

The overall goal of the campaign is to enhance access to justice through civic and legal education, and provision of information on available justice mechanisms.

The specific objectives are to promote public awareness on civic rights and duties; promote public awareness on the obligations of law enforcement agencies, as well as disseminate knowledge and enhance confidence in the tripartite justice system.

In her welcome remarks, Janet R. Sallah-Njie, a key expert in modern law, explained that the campaign was executed by key partners such as the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS), and the Female Lawyers Association-The Gambia (FLAG).

She added that the implementers were supported by a technical committee constituted by key national stakeholders, who are duty bearers in the realm of access to justice and, therefore, played a very vital role in the design, content and mode of implementation of the project.

She further stated that following the successful implementation of the three pilots in the three regions, an evaluation and review of the project was carried out with the review report making significant recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the civic awareness campaign.

“We are, indeed, fortunate and honoured that through the magnanimity of the European Union, the project is benefitting from a six -month extension, thus affording us the opportunity to implement the Adjusted Model of the Civic Awareness Campaign in two more regions of The Gambia namely, CRR and NBR.”

Mrs Sallah-Njie added that the overall campaign has been extended beyond the narrow ambit of sensitizing and raising awareness on accessing the tripartite justice system.

The content, she said, would be expanded to include, among other things: democracy and the role of citizens in a democracy; responsibilities of citizens in a democracy; civic rights and duties; roles and responsibilities of institutions and structures within the community; prevention of corruption and corrupt practices, as well as employment and labour rights.

She hoped that through this extended mandate, they would be able to address, on a holistic basis, the whole ambit of the civic rights and duties of the communities, and raise their awareness to enable them seek redress and appreciate their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.

 

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb