Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Too many communities struggle to access the support they need to protect their interests, in large part because they cannot afford it. This is in stark contrast to companies, who can generally afford the legal and technical...
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.
As a special committee undertakes to reform Sierra Leone’s constitution – which was established in 1991, just before the country’s decade-long war – Namati’s Sonkita Conteh makes six substantive recommendations to ensure that the new document “addresses the current realities of our nation”.
Sonkita Conteh, Lotta Teale
Sierra Leone's parliament has just enacted one of the most progressive legal aid laws in Africa—with an innovative approach to providing access to justice for all that will reinforce the rule of law in a society still scarred by the brutal civil war that ended in 2002. Namati Sierra Leone director Sonkita Conteh and Open Society Justice Initiative's Lotta Teale explain the importance of the bill, which calls for a scale up of paralegal services.
Vivek Maru, Sonkita Conteh
Major reforms are necessary to ensure that investment projects lead to sustainable, inclusive development in Sierra Leone. Namati’s Sonkita Conteh and Vivek Maru argue that President Koroma can make these happen, and during the West African leader’s visit to Washington, Obama should urge him to do so.
The Sierra Leone government’s efforts to promote the country “as an el dorado for international investments” have been a boon to the legal community in recent years, with lawyers involved in the lucrative work of incorporating companies, securing titles and drafting lease agreements. But lawyers must be more careful, writes Namati’s Sonkita Conteh. Unfair lease negotiations have resulted in wide equity gaps and are prompting increased public scrutiny. By shortchanging communities as some have, lawyers risk putting themselves in breach of the legal practitioner’s code.
Introduction A previous article by the author explored the work and impact of community-based paralegals in the lives of ordinary people in rural areas, through the lens of a number of case studies depicting real life justice problems of individuals and how paralegals helped resolve them. That effort intended to provide an illustrative window into...
In an op-ed in the Sierra Express Media, Sonkita Conteh, Director of Namati Sierra Leone, calls “unrestrained resource exploitation” in Sierra Leone a “dangerous gamble,” and calls on the new government to commit to environmental regulation that puts people ahead of profits, and justice ahead of development.
A few weeks from now, the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) will begin winding up its activities. The committee was established in 2013 to review the current 1991 constitution taking into account views from the public and lessons from other countries. This 80 member review body has been constituted by an eclectic mix of representatives including amongst…
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…
In early August this year, the Chinese Foreign Minister visited Sierra Leone on a tour of the three “most Ebola affected” nations. A release from the President’s office stated that Mr. Wang Yi wanted to understand among others, the socio-economic needs and challenges of the country post Ebola and to discuss ways of advancing work…
Sonkita Conteh, Namati’s program director in Sierra Leone, explaining our community-based approach to growing and developing national justice services at the International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems.
The Sierra Leone government’s efforts to promote the country “as an el dorado for international investments” have been a financial boon to the legal community in recent years. But unfair lease negotiations are prompting increased public scrutiny and lawyers must be more careful, writes Namati’s Sonkita Conteh.
Be part of the movement for legal empowerment.
Meet practitioners from around the world, access practical resources, and join learning exchanges.Sign Up