Access to Justice and Confidence Building in Kassala State
The Red Sea, Gedaref and Kassala states make up East Sudan, comprising an estimated total population in the range of 3 to 4 million inhabitants. For many years the local population endured acute poverty, drought, famine, and lack of access to healthcare and education, and high unemployment. This state of affairs led to a low-intensity rebel insurgency over eleven years that ended with the signing of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front in October 2006.The agreement has brought opportunities for peace building, such as promoting development, social equity, and peace and reconciliation.
The difficult economic and social realities in the Eastern Sudan region have made it difficult for marginalized segments of society to obtain affordable legal counselling and representation. This is mainly owing to an insufficient provision of legal services for the poor. Rule of law institutions in Kassala State, namely the judiciary, the prosecution, police and prison administration, are in need of institutional capacity building and training to improve the quality of their services.
UNDP established a presence in Kassala State in November 2005 and launched the “Strengthening Access to Justice and Confidence Building in Eastern Sudan” project with the support of the Netherlands Government, UK Government, the European Commission and Norwegian Embassy.
- Strengthen access to justice and thus contribute to confidence building, to promote rule of law and human security.
- Enhance the capacity of state government, civil society and communities to resolve disputes amicably.
- Build the capacity of local officials and traditional leaders to develop and sustain a rule of law culture in eastern Sudan.
- Augment the availability of legal information and resources on rule of law and conflict resolution for government officials, traditional leaders, students and the general public in Eastern Sudan States.
Snapshots of the project's major achievements
- Three hundred awareness-raising workshops, targeting 8,500 persons, were conducted in three States. The workshops covered: basic human rights principles, Sudanese law, human trafficking, and Sudanese disability law.
- 16 Access to Justice Workshops for women, targeting 800 women participants, were organized covering topics such as basic human rights principles, family law and child law and reproductive health.
- Women Advisory Counseling Groups in 11 localities of Kassala State were established, with a view to providing counseling support to women victims and survivors of SGBV in Kassala State.
- Four legal aid networks were established composed of lawyers, attorney generals and traditional leaders to assist in resolution of cases through mediation and customary law. The lawyers’ legal aid network provided 500 free legal aid services for referred cases.
- Five Community Safety Information Centers were established. The Community Safety Information Centers are now accessible to the public and victims of crime to assist them to access information, report crime incidents and receive immediate attention.
- Capacities of Popular Police and Civil Society Organizations enhanced to apply the concept of community policing and provide general advocacy to the local communities.
- The Justice and Confidence Centre (JCC) established in Red Sea State, and managed by a UNDP supported national NGO, handled 100 cases (family cases, criminal cases, administrative cases, employment cases and civil cases).
- Twenty staff paralegals mediated disputes, trained and supported community-based volunteers and traditional leaders at the village level on topics such as: basic human rights, property rights, women rights.
- Designed and developed strategic plan for Gender Based Violence Working Group 2012-15.
- More than 15,000 citizen took part in the campaign “Attitudinal Change towards a Clean Environment while promoting the Rule of Law” in Kassala and Gedaref States
- Radio programmes “Peace to your Home” has been successfully completed in Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea States. The programme covered more than 2 million citizens of Eastern Sudan.
- Distributed more than 2,500 leaflets on law related to women rights, pure general advocacy in Kassala, Red Sea and Gedaref States.
- Campaign on Anti-Corruption Day conducted. A total of 231,150 people were directly targeted by the activities: The radio and television discussion programs held during the week of the campaign and reached out to over 18,000 people daily; the advocacy messages broadcasted in Arabic and in major local languages further reached out to various localities in the State targeting over 15,000 listeners daily; mobile theatre – play role was all over localities (municipalities) and reached more than 100,000 community members; in addition, more than 150 participants attended the Stakeholder’s Consultative Forum on the December 2012.
- The three community policing groups established within each State of Eastern Sudan. The partnerships strategic management agreement developed in cooperation with the community leaders, State police, Justice and Confidence Centre and Ministry of Social Affairs.
- The independent women committee at State level established in Red Sea and Kassala States.
- Data on Violence against Women collected and analysed in coordination with the State police Ministry of Social Affairs and Justice and Confidence Centre. The pilot localities of Kassala and Red Sea States were selected to carry out survey. More than 1500 questionnaires have been filled and analysed the outcome of these surveys and fact sheet papers to advocate for review of existing laws and ratification of relevant conventions like CEDAW.
- The mobile theatre launched in Kassala and Gedaref States. Through this activity more than 8,000 have been covered. Within the frame of the theatre the different scenes were played on the rights of women, child abuse; legal aid and protection services.