Strengthening the Rule of Law and Legal Protection in Darfur
About the project
The causes of the conflict in Darfur are multiple and complex. But weak governance, coupled with competition over increasingly limited natural resources (land, water, and livestock) that are essential for survival, underpin much of it. The spread of small arms has fuelled a situation where weaponry and violence often now define relationships between groups and communities. In a region that was already underdeveloped and marginalised, rule by force has come to replace the rule of law.
UNDP believes that this situation cannot be resolved if influential members in each community are not promoting both human rights and the rule of law. And they cannot promote them, if they do not understand them. The situation cannot improve if each community does not have its own members properly trained in law. Nor will it, if the most marginalised amongst them have no access to the justice system.
Achievements to date
Therefore across Darfur UNDP has been holding workshops and trainings on human rights, women’s rights, female genital mutilation, child rights, and sexual and gender based violence, constitutional law, as well as Sudanese laws and international laws. Over 10,000 community members have been trained on these issues. UNDP supported 66 law students – many of them women - to take the Bar examinations in Khartoum. UNDP has also trained prosecutors at the legal aid department in North Darfur.
UNDP has supported the setting up of seven Justice and Confidence centres at camps for those internally displaced by conflict. These centres, run by paralegal groups, helped more than 250 people in 2012 that would otherwise not have had access to justice. Groups receiving UNDP micro-capital grants to run non-state legal networks, have helped a further 265 people. These cases have included both criminal cases such as rape, murder and serious violence and also civil cases, including land disputes, which otherwise would never have been brought to justice.
UNDP has worked closely with the state authorities to provide training for prison officers and improve conditions in prisons and police stations. One result of this successful partnership has been private lawyers providing legal aid in Darfur have been granted unfettered access to all state prisons in the region, a development that has been globally recognised.