KAMPALA, UGANDA (26 July, 2012)– More than fifty organizations from twenty African countries are urging governments to strengthen access to justice and accountability across the continent by embracing the potential of community paralegals.
The Kampala Declaration on Community Paralegals, issued today, reflects a new push to seek wider government recognition of the role of paralegals in resolving conflict, supporting access to state services, and fighting corruption.
The declaration, which follows a meeting in Kampala from July 9-11, calls on governments to do three things: to recognize the role community paralegals play in providing primary justice services, to invest in the scale-up of paralegal efforts, and to protect the independence of paralegals.
Community paralegals use knowledge of law and government and tools like mediation, organizing, education, and advocacy to seek concrete solutions to instances of injustice. Paralegals are connected to lawyers who offer guidance and who can resort to litigation when other methods fail.
“Community paralegals are the frontline of our struggle for justice,” said Donald Rukare, country director of Global Rights Uganda, which co-hosted the meeting with the Open Society Justice Initiative and the legal empowerment organization Namati. “Paralegals make the law work for people.”
The declaration points to recent legislation including a legal aid law passed in Sierra Leone in May of this year, which calls for a community paralegal to serve in every chiefdom of the country.
“Government recognition is crucial for the legitimacy and sustainability of paralegal efforts,” said Namati’s Sierra Leone team leader Sonkita Conteh, who advocated for the new legal aid law. “But state recognition should not entail state control, because paralegals play an important role in holding governments accountable.”
Signatories to the declaration also commit to strengthening the quality and consistency of paralegal efforts, through better training, supervision, and community oversight.
At the meeting in Kampala, Nomboniso Maqubela shared the experience of the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices (NADCAO) in South Africa, which represents 230 paralegal offices across the country. NADCAO seeks to secure lasting support for paralegal efforts through a combination of government spending, foundations, and community contributions. Community paralegals have been active in South Africa since the 1950s, when paralegals began assisting black South Africans to navigate and resist the codes of apartheid.
Descartes Malasi of the Congolese NGO Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA) described paralegals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who assist communities to hold mining firms accountable for environmental damage and unpaid compensation.
“Law and government should not be abstractions sealed in books or courtrooms,” said Namati CEO Vivek Maru. “Paralegals in Africa are part of a growing global movement for legal empowerment.”
Participants in the meeting plan to continue to collaborate through the Global Legal Empowerment Network that Namati hosts.
The Kampala Declaration remains open for further signatures at namati.org/kampala-
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
You may decline to provide any personal information, but please realize that you thereby may be unable to register or to participate in activities or services offered on the Site and/or Forum.
In addition to the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum, we also may collect and store data from and about you gathered in the course of your use of the Site and Forum. We call this “tracking data.”
Such tracking data may include, but is not limited to, information regarding the number and frequency of visits to the Site and Forum, the websites that you access before and after you visit the Site and Forum, the software and operating system used to access the Site and Forum, and your IP address and Internet service provider.
Our use of your Information involves various forms of communication with you, including:
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Information provided to third parties is limited to the information needed to perform their functions. We seek to limit third-party use of information; however, we are not responsible for such third-party use of information.
We retain the right to transfer or assign all information pursuant to a merger, purchase or other transaction relating to Namati or our assets.
The current list of third-party service providers we use include:
Personal information you submit via your member account, other than information provided or content posted by you to public areas of the Site as described below, is deleted from Namati’s records following the deletion of your account. However, such information may continue to be retained by third-party service providers to which it has been disclosed for one of the reasons listed above.
Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA.
We take reasonable precautions to protect your information from loss, misuse or alteration. You should recognize, however, that there is no such thing as “perfect security” on the Internet, and we cannot guarantee the security of your information. In addition, because Internet communications are unsecure, it is also possible that the information you supply to us or your access of any information via the Site will be intercepted during transmission. We are not liable for any breach of our systems or interception of our transmission, and we hereby fully disclaim, to the fullest extent possible under law, any liability associated with any claim relating to a breach of security, data or information.
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The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
The Forum may also use data about your posts and activity to award you badges and calculate a trust level for your account. Your trust level may affect how you can participate in the Forum, such as whether you can upload images, as well as give you access to moderation and management powers in the Forum. Your trust level, therefore, reflects Forum administrators’ confidence in you, and their willingness to delegate community management functions, like moderation.
From time to time, we may email users of the Site or the Forum information regarding important developments affecting Namati and/or the Global Legal Empowerment Network. We may also email users on occasion regarding the Site or the Forum. Such emails may be sent to users of the Site or Forum even if they have not requested to receive any communication from us.
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Because Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 13, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 13 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
We reserve the right to disclose any information to comply with any law, regulation, decree, judgment, order, subpoena or any other governmental order (“Order”) without any obligation to contest or verify the accuracy of such Order.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
We may need to change the Policy from time to time in order to address new issues and to reflect changes on the Site or in the law. We reserve the right to revise or make any changes to the Policy, and your continued use of the Site subsequent to any changes to this Policy will mean that you agree to and accept such changes. You can tell if the Policy has been updated by checking the last revised date posted on the top of this page.
You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing email@example.com, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.