Strengthening Rule of Law and Sustainable Protection in Darfur

Fast Facts:
Project document and reports available upon request
Location: Darfur – UNDP sub-offices in El Fasher, Nyala and El Geneina
Duration: September 2004 – December 2012
Focus area: Democratic Governance
Contributions(USD): NET: 664,733
CHF: 150,000
SIDA: 1,714,537.69
DFID: 2,150,552.37
Partners: Darfur State Universities
Amel Center
International Rescue Committee
African Center for Human Rights
Delivery(USD): 2010: 3,247,165
2009: 2,650,161
2008: 2,671,256
2007: 2,833,418
Contact person in UNDP: Noha Abdelgabar, Programme Officer,

Stephen Moore,
Regional Programme Manager, Darfur
Four years after the fighting broke out, the situation in Darfur continues to be characterized by a lack of human security. More than 200,000 people are estimated to have died and at least 2 million have been displaced from their homes - almost one third of the 6 million strong population of Darfur before the conflict.

Despite the security situation, humanitarian agencies have been able to deliver humanitarian assistance. However, because of the continuing uncertainty regarding security conditions in areas of return, the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) do not plan to go back to their villages in the near future. Consequently, the level of tension in the camps, as well as among other at risk of conflict populations and host communities, has been increasing since the beginning of the crisis.

To increase human security by promoting human rights and access to justice, and responding to the immediate and medium-term needs of the legal infrastructure in Darfur, UNDP, in partnership with Sudanese human rights organisations, has embarked on an ambitious Rule of Law Programme in Darfur.

With the strong support of the Netherlands Government, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the Swedish International Development Agency, in late 2004 UNDP launched the project ”Strengthening Rule of Law and Sustainable Protection in Darfur”, the only programme led by a UN organization in a crisis environment, apart from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. With a strong presence in El Fasher, Nyala and El Geneina and the support of 20 national and international staff, the project has gained recognition by all partners and beneficiaries and generated sustained donor commitment.

The principal objective of the UNDP Rule of Law Programme in Darfur is to build on the existing legal infrastructure by strengthening the immediate protection of civilians and providing a form of legal redress for human rights violations, protection deficits and lack of security. UNDP works in a variety of ways with all the legal institutions in Darfur – including the judiciary, the attorney-general’s office, lawyers, paralegals, the police and other law-enforcement bodies.

To this end, the specific objectives of the project are:
• To raise awareness of legal rights and legal options amongst communities in Darfur;
• To raise awareness of basic human rights and rule of law principles amongst law-enforcement bodies, including the police, the Sudan Liberation Army, the military and other security forces;
• To increase access to justice and empower communities to consider all possibilities of legal redress;
• To provide a legal option to address the human rights violations which are a characteristic of the conflict in Darfur;
• To build confidence in the legal infrastructure in Darfur; and
• To strengthen accountability for all, especially government institutions.

Snapshots of the project's major achievements
Established and supported a Legal Aid Network composed of some 60 Sudanese lawyers in all the Darfur states, providing legal aid services to vulnerable groups. The Network provides legal counseling and has dealt with over 550 cases leading to some major successes, including convictions of (ex-) government officials for murder and rape, despite a multitude of immunity provisions; acquittals of women charged with adultery (zina); and the release of people arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
• Introduced and supported “Mobile Legal Aid Clinics” in six target locations, including Kass, Mornei, Kutum, Mellit, Tawilla, and Kabkabiya. During this initiative a lawyer from the Legal Aid Network and a UNDP Rule of Law Officer visited these areas and provided legal advice and assistance to conflict affected populations.
• Supported the establishment and operation of seven Justice and Confidence Centres (JCCs) in North, South and West Darfur. These JCCs are supported by 154 trained paralegals, also known as “community mobilisers”, as they are selected from the community in which each Centre operates. The JCCs have taken on a significant number of cases ranging from family disputes, petty theft, neighborhood quarrels, disappearance, armed robbery, torture, assault, murder, slavery and SGBV.
• In cooperation with national partners, supported awareness raising and capacity development of some 10,000 civil society and community members, police, security services, government officials, the Attorney-General’s Office and the Judiciary, on core principles of rule of law, human rights, and justice.
• In cooperation with Darfur universities, established a Legal Information Centre in each Darfur state. The Centres provide internet access and a space where those involved in the legal profession; paralegals and students, can learn, discuss legal issues and exchange ideas.
• Organised more than 35 public debates in close conjunction with the State Universities in Darfur. Bringing together local academia, government authorities, civil society organizations and community representatives, the seminars provided a platform to raise awareness about rule of law and human rights, and foster meaningful dialogue amongst stakeholders.
• In collaboration with partners, initiated a new “Form 8 Advocacy Strategy” which aims to increase the number of survivors who receive justice in the courts of Darfur, by redefining the common understanding of the rights of SGBV survivors under Sudanese law.

Copyright (c) United Nations Development Programme Sudan, 2011. All rights reserved
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