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The Legal Empowerment Movement and Its Implications

Peter Chapman,

Around the world, a global legal empowerment movement is transforming the way in which people access justice. The concept of legal empowerment is rooted in strengthening the ability of communities to: “understand, use and shape the law.” The movement relies on people helping one another to stand up to authority and challenge injustice. At its…

A Few Interventions and Offerings from Five Movement Lawyers to the Access to Justice Movement

Jennifer Ching, Thomas B. Harvey, Meena Jagannath, Purvi Shah, Blake Strode,

We are five lawyers who occupy very different corners of justice work. We are civil rights, human rights, and criminal defense lawyers, and we have worked at and managed legal services programs. We have taught law at law schools and universities and have built our own organizations. We currently work in interdisciplinary spaces with community…

Task Force on Justice Innovating Working Group Report

HiiL Innovating Justice, Taskforce on Justice,

This is the report of the Innovation Working Group of the Task Force on Justice.  The Innovation Working Group was asked to review the evidence of unmet justice needs, explore the potential for innovation, explore the investment possibilities for promising innovation areas, provide parameters for enhancing innovation for SDG16.3, and to make recommendations on these…

Justice In Government Toolkit

American University Justice Programs Office,

Civil legal aid is free legal assistance to those who cannot afford it, whether provided through direct services or court-based self-help centers, community education, medical-legal partnerships, and online information. Legal aid can help to improve the quality and efficiency of government programs, increase access to justice, and achieve policy outcomes and priorities. This Toolkit helps government policymakers,…

Sustainable Development Goal 16.9: ‘Legal Identity’ Nationality and Statelessness

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion,

This booklet introduces key concepts that can be adopted by Legal identity practitioners to protect vulnerable and marginalized groups. It also explains flawed identity processes can cause and/ or perpetuate statelessness. Finally, it presents some strategies to help ensure statelessness is effectively addressed through inclusive and human rights based development policies on legal identity If…

Guía para Trabajadores Comunitarios Cómo Documentar la Nacionalidad y Otras Formas de Identidad Jurídica

Namati y Open Society Justice Initiative, en cooperación con UNHCR,

Actualmente, 1.100 millones de personas en el mundo no cuentan con documentos que acrediten su identidad legal. Sin esto, no pueden votar, acceder a atención de la salud o ir a la escuela, y se exponen al riesgo de ser apátridas. Puede haber comunidades enteras—sobre todo de sectores de bajos recursos y miembros de minorías—sin…

Children’s Right to Early Education in the City of Buenos Aires: A Case Study on ACIJ’s Class Action

Fernando Basch,

Through a complex litigation strategy that involved freedom of information requests, budget analysis, and media dissemination, the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, or ACIJ) pressured the formerly reluctant government of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to acknowledge a legitimate unsatisfied claim related to school vacancies for initial-level education…

Influencing of Policy and Public Management Program: Impact Assessment Summary Report

Oxfam Great Britain, Kevin Murray Strategic Consulting,

The “Influencing Policy and Public Management Program” is a program through which Bolivia’s Fundación Jubileo (FJ) seeks to address the country’s continuing high levels of extreme poverty through improved public policy and public administration outcomes. This connection between improved public policy and administration outcomes and reductions in poverty rates is the fundamental assumption of FJ’s…

Land Administration Challenges in the Post-Conflict South Sudan: The Experience of the USAID South Sudan Rural Land Governance Project (2011-2014)

Nelson Marongwe,

South Sudan is a country coming from a conflict, having attained political independence as recently as July 2011. The protracted civil war that lasted for more than twenty years created malfunctioning land administration systems. Thus, decades of civil war destroyed many of South Sudan‟s essential institutions of governance, and not least the customary and statutory…

Increasing Access to Justice for Women, the Poor, and Those Living in Remote Areas: An Indonesian Case Study

Leisha Lister, Cate Sumner, Matthew Zurstrassen,

Recent reforms in the religious courts of Indonesia have resulted in a 14-fold increase in the number of poor clients able to access the courts through court fee waivers and a fourfold increase in the number able to access circuit courts in remote areas. These increases are significant because the ability of the poor, particularly…

Bringing Law to Life: Paralegal Interventions in Natural Resource Exploitation

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Introduction When a diamond mining company closed its operations in Mofuwe Village, in the south of Sierra Leone, it left behind three mined-out pits the size of several football pitches, a collapsed bridge, a blocked stream and an uncompleted community school building. It was as if the villagers woke up one morning and the company…

New book on protecting community lands and resources in Africa from Namati and Natural Justice

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

In 2013, a group of 20 expert advocates from across Africa gathered for a three-day symposium to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources. The symposium illuminated many similarities between the types of threats to communities’ land and natural resource claims, as well as underlying factors that drive and exacerbate…

Namati Welcomes Sierra Leone’s Progressive New National Land Policy

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Land & Natural Resources

Sierra Leone’s new National Land Policy, recently approved by the cabinet, presents a progressive and ambitious plan for protecting land rights that will strengthen women’s access to land, give communities a bigger say over land management and create a better framework for major land investments. All of which is urgently in need if Sierra Leone’s…

Oxfam on India’s proposed new land acquisition ordinance

Posted by Namati in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

There has been uproar in India’s parliament and among civil society groups following the government’s proposal to replace the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCLARR). RFCLARR was enacted in 2013 replacing the land acquisition policies prevalent in the country since 1894. A year later, the Government of…

Land Rights in the Post-2015 Agenda

Posted by Namati in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources, Post-2015 Agenda

Namati has joined with a coalition of organizations to produce a briefing paper on the place of land rights in the new Sustainable Development Goals. The briefing has been endorsed by organisations such as ActioAid, Oxfam, Landesa, Global Witness and Habitat for Humanity. It contains five headline recommendations: 1. The Post-2015 Agenda should advance and monitor…

Community Paralegals and the Legal Empowerment Approach to Statelessness

Posted by Laura Goodwin in Citizenship

Community Paralegals and the Legal Empowerment Approach to Statelessness Mohammad Javed is an Urdu-speaking entrepreneur living in the middle of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Looking to grow his business, Mohammad decided to travel to India to start importing spare auto-rickshaw parts for his own repairs and to sell to others. Yet Mohammad was…

The Good & Bad of Environmental Law Reform in India

Posted by Manju Menon & Kanchi Kohli in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment

In India, a High Level Committee (HLC) constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has submitted its report to the environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, following its review of six of India’s major environmental laws. Some of the laws date back to the 1920s and the report offered an opportunity to strengthen the…