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Namati’s blog highlights the perspectives and ongoing work of leading practitioners and scholars in the field of legal empowerment. Legal empowerment explores ways of putting law and government into people’s hands – an ambition underpinning efforts to advance justice throughout the world, whether under the banner of human rights, international development, access to justice, governance and accountability, or citizen’s participation.

Syria: From Corrupt State Institutions to the Economy of Violence

Posted by on March 14, 2014

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An interview with Zaki Mehchy of the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR)

Zaki Mehchy is a co-founder of the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR), an NGO established in Damascus in 2011 to study poverty. Its work has been overtaken by the conflict that has engulfed his country. Zaki attended Namati’s regional meeting of legal empowerment practitioners in Amman, Jordan.

AMMAN – “We are now focusing on studies relating to the Syrian crisis and we are producing a regular report on the impact of the crisis in terms of the economic impact, the loss on GDP as well as the loss on social side, such as the loss in social capital, the loss in human capital.

By 2013 the Syrian economy had lost about $85 billion USD.  This is just the direct economic cost.  We also have some indicators about the social costs of the conflict, for example, in terms of its Human Development Index, Syria has lost 35 years of development achievements.  We have a 6.7 million people who have been newly thrown into poverty.  Of course in addition to this is the more tragic loss. The loss of life – so far over 100,000 people have died … More »

Categories: Accountability of Essential Services, Accountability of Essential Services, General Legal Empowerment

‘Rule of law and post-2015: a menu approach’

Posted by on February 19, 2014

nick menzies rol menu

Editor’s note: This piece first appeared on the World Bank’s Governance for Development blog and has been cross-posted with permission from the author.

By Nicholas Menzies

On Friday last week I attended the final session of the United Nations Open Working Group – the body tasked with putting together global development priorities to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The session covered rule of law, along with peace and governance.

With a few exceptions, most member states were supportive of the inclusion of rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda. This aligns with global public opinion reflected in the UN’s World We Want Survey – where issues such as honest and responsive government and protection from crime and violence rated above such development staples as roads and household energy supply. A side event to the Open Working Group on Friday highlighted all the ways in which rule of law is measurable.

Despite the general support, quite a few Open Working Group members raised the issue of how to include rule of law whilst also “respecting national sovereignty” and “promoting national ownership,” as well as taking into account that justice systems look different in different places.

Over the past 12 months, … More »

Categories: Post-2015 MDGs

The Maid and the Madame: Rights for Migrant Workers in Jordan

Posted by on February 18, 2014

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An interview with Linda Alkalash of Daem

Linda Alkalash heads Daem, formerly Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights. Daem means “support” in Arabic. The organization works to protect migrant workers and to combat trafficking in persons in Jordan. Linda attended Namati’s regional meeting of legal empowerment practitioners in Amman.

AMMAN – “Daem works to protect migrant workers and to combat trafficking in persons, mainly through provision of legal assistance.  We provide legal advice, conduct mediations between workers and employers or recruitment agencies, raise issues to the authorities, and represent people in court.

Jordan has more than one million migrant workers, but only about 290,000 are actually documented.

One of our key strategies for raising legal awareness among domestic workers is bringing them small brochures with information translated into their native languages.  We know that employers and recruitment agencies routinely take papers from domestic workers upon their arrival in Jordan, so we make our brochures small enough that they can be easily hidden.  We coordinate with organizations in migrants’ home countries and sometimes with their embassies in Jordan to provide them with these brochures before they come.  We also cooperate with security officials in Jordan who hand out the brochures … More »

Categories: Legal Aid 2.0, Legal Aid 2.0 Program, Legal Education & Awareness, Litigation, Paralegals, Women's Empowerment

Protecting migrant and domestic workers in Lebanon

Posted by on February 6, 2014

"Protecting migrant and domestic workers in Lebanon" from Sarah Cherif of KAFA

An interview with Sarah Chreif of KAFA

Sarah Chreif works for the non-governmental organization KAFA (“enough”), based in Beirut, Lebanon. She works as a Community Developer in KAFA’s program to combat domestic violence, which focuses especially on preventing abuse against migrant and domestic workers. Sarah attended Namati’s regional meeting of legal empowerment practitioners in Amman, Jordan.   

AMMAN – “We started KAFA in 2005 to support women and prevent violence against them. In 2010, we established a unit on trafficking and exploitation of women, in order to better serve these vulnerable groups.

KAFA works on several levels.  First, we do education and awareness-raising.  Second, we have a listening and counseling center where we provide psychosocial services for women.  We serve women from a variety of backgrounds at the center, from migrant workers to Lebanese women who are subjected to physical or sexual abuse.  We also advocate for policy change.  We work on policies – like Lebanon’s current sponsorship regulations, for example – to make sure they are just and fair for migrant workers.

Challenges for women

The discrimination Lebanese women suffer is not much different from the problems women suffer all over the world. All through life, Arab women suffer from … More »

Categories: Legal Aid 2.0, Legal Aid 2.0 Program, Legal Education & Awareness, Litigation, Women's Empowerment

Jordan: Treating rights as rights

Posted by on January 27, 2014

Hadeel Abdel Haziz of the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA) in Jordan

An interview with Hadeel Abdel Aziz of the Justice Center for Legal Aid

Hadeel Abdel Aziz is the Executive Director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), a non-governmental organization that works to deliver legal aid and justice services in Jordan. JCLA co-organized the regional meeting of legal empowerment practitioners in Amman last year.

AMMAN – “In Jordan the law does not protect the right to defense and does not acknowledge the right to legal aid, except in a very small number of cases. JCLA was established to fill that gap and to try to change policies for permanent, sustainable change. We provide legal aid for the poor in Jordan and we also advocate for state-funded legal aid.

At JCLA we understand the importance of legal empowerment, but at the same time we understand that the concept is not very well developed in Jordan. In fact, people are already doing legal empowerment work. They are working with the vulnerable and the poor, trying to protect rights with and without entering the court system. We have legal aid organizations, women’s empowerment organizations and other civil society organizations working on these issues. But many of them have never identified themselves as … More »

Categories: Legal Aid 2.0, Legal Aid 2.0 Program, Legal Education & Awareness, Litigation, Women's Empowerment

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