Welcome to our newsfeed! Here you will find updates about our organization’s activities, as well as new features that arise on our continually expanding website. Check out our blog for more in-depth observations about legal empowerment from leading scholars and practitioners.
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.
Legal empowerment advocates in Liberia working to ensure community land rights amid large-scale palm oil expansion
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.
Based on field reporting by community paralegals, the brief urges meaningful implementation of a 2011 court decision which found Kenya in violation of the African Children’s Rights Charter because of discriminatory rules and practices being applied to Kenyan Nubian children.
A new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that “the amount of land owned or designated for use by indigenous peoples and local communities is increasing but at a slower rate than past years.” Learn more in the Guardian.
A new publication explores the nature of legal empowerment and its impact in various forms. With an introduction by George Soros, the book includes essays from Namati staff and Network Guidance Committee members, among others. The full version is available for download on the Open Society Foundations website.
Writing for the Council on Foreign Relations’ new Special Series on Global Justice, OSJI Executive Director Jim Goldston calls for inclusion of rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda. When it comes to setting development targets, he explains, “The rule of law is no less important to development than education and public health.”
Prince Hassan of Jordan has joined Madeleine Albright, George Soros, Hernando de Soto and others by signing an open letter to the UN urging inclusion of justice in the post-2015 development goals. More details and a link to the signature page here.
Akhila Kolisetty spent two months in Bangladesh researching BRAC’s expansive community-based legal aid and legal empowerment program, particularly its impact on women’s rights. Her research is now published in the World Bank’s Justice & Development working paper series, available here.
The leaders of the grassroots justice movement in Indonesia have written to the five main political parties in the People’s Representative Council calling on them to support the inclusion of justice targets in the next set of development goals.
The future of global development is being decided now. If you haven’t already, read and endorse the open letter to the United Nations here.
A new report from International Crisis Group examines reasons for failed land reform in Burundi, including inequalities in land access and the disappearance of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms. ICG advises that “unless the government revives land governance reform in Burundi, long-term peacebuilding efforts will remain compromised.”
“Rule of law is a fundamental principle that does more than promote economic growth, and it would be a serious mistake not to include it in the SDG agenda”, writes billionaire businessman and Namati Advisory Board member Mo Ibrahim.