Strengthening Access to Justice and Human Security in Three Protocol Areas

Fast Facts:
Project document and reports available upon request
Location: Abyei, Blue Nile State, and South Kordofan State
Duration: June 2006 - December 2012
Focus area: Democratic Governance
Contributions(USD): DEN: 2,363,676.30
NET: 366,017.61
Partners: International Rescue Committee
United Nations Mission in Sudan Police
United Nation Mission in Sudan Correctional Services
Penal Reform International
Justice and Confidence Centers
Delivery(USD): 2010: 1,095,006
2009: 1,241,182
2008: 1,763,824
2007: 1,757,035
Contact person in UNDP: Esam Ismail, Programme Officer

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provides the overall framework for post conflict recovery and the restoration of peace and stability in Sudan. Under the CPA, Abyei, Blue Nile State, and South Kordofan State/Nuba Mountains were given the special status of so-called “Protocol Areas,” with power being shared along predetermined lines.

Having been especially hard hit by Sudan’s decades of warfare, Abyei Area, Blue Nile State, and South Kordofan State face unique challenges on the road to peace and recovery. These three areas are facing an influx of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), despite the widespread poverty, insecurity, and lack of infrastructure that exists in these regions. The judiciary and security sectors in these areas remain particularly under-developed and are characterized by poor infrastructure, limited operational capacity, and a weak knowledge base.

Recognizing that inequity, conflicts, lack of development, and a weak system of governance are factors that erode human security and the rule of law, UNDP’s interventions seek to strengthen relevant rule of law institutions to deliver services, problem solve and function efficiently while also empowering communities to understand their rights in order to make informed choices and enhancing their ability to access justice for themselves.

With the support of the Netherlands Government, the Danish International Development Agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and US Agency for International Development – Office of Transition Initiatives, in 2005 UNDP launched the first phase of a large Rule of Law programme. The second phase is being implemented through the Strengthening Access to Justice and Human Security in the Three Protocol Areas project.

The project seeks to address the threats to human security and the tensions expected to emerge with the large-scale return of IDPs to and through the Three Protocol Areas; to build the capacity of state rule of law institutions to provide access to justice for receiving/host communities, the displaced, returnees and marginalized groups; and to empower communities to access justice, resolve conflict through customary mechanisms and enjoy protection by the state.

The project’s specific objectives include:
• Enhancing people's awareness of their rights according to national and international law.
• Ensuring that people have access to an operational legal aid system.
• Enhancing the judiciary's capacity.
• Enhancing the capacity of the rural courts and the traditional leaders.
• Enhancing the capacity of law-enforcement institutions through training.
• Establishing community policing structures and procedures.
• Sustaining local ownership and support to rule of law activities.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements

In Abyei:

• Conducted 7 human rights and rule of law awareness activities, reaching over 257 community members (97 men and 160 women).
• Supported the Abyei Paralegal Association through the Justice and Confidence Center (JCC) to provide legal aid and awareness activities.
• Commenced the Construction of the second phase of the Abyei JCC to provide more space and training facilities for paralegals and community’s use.
• Conducted 3 training courses for the paralegals in human rights education, legal aid and management for 37 members (27 men and 10 women). This included a 5-day exchange visit to South Kordofan state.
• The Abyei JCC/Paralegal Association received 12 legal aid cases, where five were successfully resolved.
• A draft Paralegal Training Manual was prepared and shared with partners/stakeholders for comments, before publishing.
• Supported the training of 280 police officers (275 men and 5 women) in human rights and various policing techniques. This included 250 officers from the newly formed Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU) in Abyei.
• The project commenced the construction of a Police Station on Agok, reaching 75% completion.
• 91 youth (89 men and 2 women) participated in a community policing awareness sessions conducted in partnership with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
• One community policing village committee was established in Nyinikwach – a Returnee village north of Abyei town.
• The project held one Local Steering Committee (LSC) meeting to discuss project implementation and sustainability.

In the Blue Nile State:
The project focuses on strengthening access to justice at the grassroots. To this end, UNDP has established Justice and Confidence or Legal Aid Center (JCC) in Damazin, Blue Nile State. The JCC is staffed by a team of trained paralegals, who provide legal assistance to indigent and vulnerable clients as well as raising awareness on human rights and rule of law at the community level. In addition, the JCC host workshops, forums, and events on human rights and the rule of law for community members, government officials, and civil society organizations. UNDP provided support to the Justice and Confidence Centre in the form of small grants, as well as provision of technical assistance. As a result, the technical capacity and confidence of the JCC have improved through regular training and other capacity development activities, and hence improving their frequency and quality of engagement with the community.
A case-tracking system was established for the Damazin JCC and similar efforts are underway for Kurmuk and Gissan. The system has enhanced the quality of legal aid services (documentation and follow up). 126 cases have been received by the Damazin JCC since 2008 with various outcomes. In collaboration between UNDP, UNMIS Civil Affairs, and UNMIS Human Rights, the paralegals received capacity development trainings. Through these activities, the paralegals attained new skills that enabled them to actively participate in mediation forums to enhance peace at the community level. Moreover, there has been an increased partnership between the project, government partners and other stakeholders. For instance, the chief of the attorney general of the state in Damazin facilitated several workshops aimed at raising awareness of traditional leaders on women’s rights and juvenile justice. .
In 2009, UNDP continued to support national partners in the Blue Nile State to make significant inroads towards upholding and protecting the rights of individuals in accordance with international and national laws through the support and promotion of accountable and equitable justice and rule of law institutions. Key achievements include:
- In collaboration with UN agencies, NGOs and the paralegals of Blue Nile State and Justice and Confidence Centre, awareness-raising training sessions on human rights were conducted at community level and remote areas, such as Kurmuk, Bau and Gissan.
- Construction of Rosairies Prison Health Facility completed;
- The Police Training Hall renovated and equipped;
- The Police Training School constructed.

In South Kordofan State:
• Support to the South Kordofan State Judiciary and Prosecutors: 95 (66M, 29F) court staff trained in Case Management and Court Administration; 120 judges and prosecutors trained in IT skills (81M, 39F); court staff 75 (25M, 25F) trained on Basic Human Rights; 50 (25F, 25M) judges and court staff trained in Juvenile Justice; 44 prosecutors and senior court staff trained in English language and legal terminology.
• 39 paralegals (11F, 28M) trained on “Prioritization and Selection” of cases for the provision of legal aid services
• In collaboration with UNMIS Gender Unit, 131(87M, 44F) community leaders, representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health attended four workshops on: anti-FGM law, GBV, Child Rights, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and basic human rights.
• Jointly with GoS Police and UNMIS Police, 90 (68M, 24F) members from the community policing and community leaders attended three workshops on “Community Policing and Human Rights”.
• Through UNDP Small-Grants, the three JCCs managed to implement a wide range of activities, including: organization of human rights awareness-raising workshops, provision of legal aid services for local community, conflict resolutions at grass-roots level, peace building activities. Key achievement of the three JCCs, in 2009, include:
- 36 awareness raising workshops were organized in which 1853 (1191M, 662F) participants at community level trained on Basic Human Rights, Child Rights, Domestic Violence, anti-FGM law.
- 11 capacity development trainings were organized in which 108 (64M, 44F) paralegals trained in Report Writing, Accounts and Office Management, Basic Human Rights, Interim National Constitution of Sudan, Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Law of the State of South Kordofan and conflict resolution mechanisms.
- The three JCCs provided legal aid services for 19 cases (9 criminal cases, 3 civil cases, 4 family cases, 3 administrative cases).
-o A case-tracking system was developed by the JCCs with a view to enhancing the quality of legal aid services and better documentation and subsequent follow-up of the cases.
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