Jan 9, 2020, 3:29 PM
(Monday 21 October 2019 Issue)
Gambia Bar Association (GBA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Thursday launched their first partnership Mobile Legal Aid Clinic, initiated to provide free legal aid services to the public, and to create civic awareness on pertinent issues that affect the socio-economic development of the country.
Salieu Taal, president of GBA said the project is launched towards reinforcing the rule of law which, he said is an important pillar of democracy. “The mobile legal aid clinic is supported and funded by the UNDP as part of their rule of law project,” he added.
Mr Taal said the mobile legal aid clinic is a step towards bringing legal services to Gambians who cannot afford it. “Rather than having people coming to our offices, we now come out to communities and give them free legal services,” he said. He added that it is important that citizens, particularly young people and women understand what their rights are.
Shella Ngum, representative of NGWA said the services they provide will create awareness and sensitisation to enable citizens to be aware of their rights. “Four mobile legal aid clinics will be coordinated by the Gambia Bar Association within and outside the Greater Banjul Area to be coordinated by the National Agency for Legal Aid NALA,” she said.
Head of police prosecution and legal affairs unit, Modou D Mballow said it is the duty and responsibility of police officers to support the initiative because mobile legal aid clinic is about access to justice and the rights of citizens, including suspects and accused persons who are in police custody or undergoing trial. “This message is across all police officers to support the process and give them all the opportunity to talk to detainees, suspects and those under remand,” he added.
Bakary Camara, representative of Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS) said in the project, it is their mandate to resolve disputes in their own way because they have realised that courts are not the only institutions where justice can be accessed.