These stories from Nairobi illuminate how Nubian people often face Kafkaesque demands for documents stretching back through the generations of their families. They show how one person’s documents may support another’s application – so discrimination against one harms many. The community-based paralegals supported by Namati and its partner are chipping away at this discrimination and empowering the Nubian community.
In 2013, hundreds of Kenyan Nubians acquired proof of their citizenship for the first time. In Burma, with support from paralegals, thousands of farmers began registering their lands. Communities in Sierra Leone and Mozambique worked to resolve problems in healthcare delivery. We ask you to consider supporting the ongoing efforts of community paralegals around the world.
The Africa Justice Foundation’s (AJF) mission is to build legal capacity in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors through education and professional skills training implemented via partnerships with governments, academic institutions, Bar associations and legal bodies in sub-Saharan Africa. We aim to contribute to the development of robust, stable and predictable legal systems that meet the needs of both the citizens of those countries and the regional and globally competitive environments of which they are a part.
A strong and reliable legal system is an integral part of the framework that enables emerging economies to thrive – economically, politically and socially. Laws, legal capacity and the wider justice system constitute the ‘invisible’ infrastructure, less visible than roads, power stations, ports and broadband internet cables, but equally critical for economic, political and social growth. AJF aims to help to build this infrastructure.
Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, discusses how she has leveraged her position to strengthen the voices of those who are routinely ignored by their governments and the international community.
Namati CEO Vivek Maru and Margaux Hall argue that fines collected for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) could be used to establish a multilateral financing mechanism for the direct legal empowerment of citizens worldwide.
In New York, chief judge Jonathan Lippman has put forward innovative changes to the ways lawyers are trained and supported to enter the work force. In addition, Lippman seeks to train grassroots non-lawyer advocates, or “court navigators”, to assist people who otherwise would not have access to legal representation.
High stakes in Liberia where, amidst the country’s efforts to pass a new national land policy, expansion of the Equatorial Palm Oil Company threatens to disinherit Grand Bassa County communities of their land. Namati partner SDI is working closely with communities – and the government – to put a stop to the company’s inequitable land survey efforts and ensure that community rights to decision-making are respected.
Well-trained community paralegals at organizations like Network member TAWLA are working steadily with rural populations in Tanzania to resolve disputes and ensure meaningful access to legal redress. A new “basket” funding mechanism called the Legal Services Facility is helping make it all happen.
A 2011 government notification declared India’s entire Gulf of Kutch a ‘Critical Vulnerable Coastal Area’ because of its ecological fragility. But the coast is not being protected. Researcher Kanchi Kohli writes about the grave destruction of livelihoods and environment that continues along the coast, with ongoing displacement and legal violations that may mean the damage can never be undone.
Amid chronic delays, excessive personal cost for jurors, and a growing lack of public confidence in the judiciary, Namati’s Sonkita Conteh suggests that “trial by jury should be excised from our current criminal process” in Sierra Leone.
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