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UNDP supports judiciary, legal agencies, others

Jan 17, 2012, 2:00 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

The UNDP country office on 12 January 2012 provided IT and office equipment to the Judicial, National Aid for Legal Agency (NALA), the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS) and the Ministry of Information and Communication.

Speaking at the handing-over ceremonies held at the office of Chief Justice, the Judicial Library and the Ministry of Information, Hon. Chief Justice Emmanuel Agim, Chief Justice Jobarteh, Chairman of National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), Dr Lowe of Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat and Permanent Secretary Nancy of the Ministry of Information all thanked the UNDP for the gesture.

The UNDP has been very supportive in institutional capacity building and provision of IT equipment for effective service delivery, they said.

Bashirou Garba-Jahumpa, programmes specialist for Governance and Human Rights at the UNDP, in his remarks on the occasion, stated that the UNDP support to judiciary and other partners on institutional strengthening and capacity building programmes is based on the agreement to support partners for effective and efficient service delivery.

As part of its support, the UNDP also renovated the judiciary library a couple of months ago and provided equipment to the standard of a learning and reference centre for judicial officials.

He added that the UNDP realised that they could come in to support and strengthen the judicial and other sectors in terms of training and the provision of IT equipment for effective and efficient service delivery.

Mr Jahumpa further revealed that the UNDP has also updated the judiciary website and enhanced the monitoring and evaluation system within its national framework.

Chief Justice Agim expressed delight at the UNDP gesture, saying the support is obvious and has profound effects in the judicial system of The Gambia.

He added that the UNDP has provided training to judicial officials and helped in clearing over 1400 cases, which lasted for 6 months.

CJ Agim added that the UNDP are genuine partners as they have revived the judiciary library that was closed for sometime by renovating and providing the necessary equipment and materials to make it functional.

“This is geared towards complementing government’s efforts in making justice accessible by all and sundry,” he said in commending the UNDP for their support. He as well informed them of the importance of a continued support to the judiciary to be able to make judicial work simple and more efficient in the country.

Justice Jobarteh, chairman of the National Agency for Legal Aid, thanked the UNDP for the laudable gesture, adding that the UNDP has been supporting the agency in its crawling stages, especially with equipment and office IT materials to enhance its work and make the agency perform effective and efficient service delivery.

According to him, NALA as an agency is here to provide legal representatives for many disadvantaged people who need legal representatives from the number of its human resource.

He appealed to the UNDP to provide the agency with a vehicle and help to increase the number of lawyers to at least 8 so that the agency will be able to provide adequate legal representation to disadvantaged people in need of such services.

Dr Lowe of Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS) said: “Today we are here witnessing yet another laudable support from the UNDP in a form of motorbikes, which in no small measure further strengthens our duties in providing affordable justice to Gambians and non-Gambians alike.”

He commended the ADRS Act 2005, which led to the establishment of the secretariat designed to provide cheap and accessible means of justice to people, particularly the poor rural folks.

“UNDP support is unique and intensive,” he said. “The ADRS started receiving from the UNDP since 2009 in a form of sensitization programmes across the country, institutional strengthening, office equipment, vehicles and today 2 motorcycles all geared towards providing  affordable means of justice  to all and sundry.”

According to him, the ADRS is here to enable rural people access justice at the right time and appealed to the UNDP to provide more capacity building training either here or abroad as well as support study tours to enlighten the staff to learn some of the best practices to be able to replicate them.

For his part, Charles Sarr Thomas, administrator of NALA, said the Government of The Gambia has strategies to establish NALA that has regional offices in all the regions, just to ensure everyone has access to justice.

He noted that the UNDP has provided series of support in terms of capacity building and provision of IT equipment, which has had positive impact on the work of the staff at the agency.