Contributing to Human Security in Darfur

UK Minister witnesses successful paralegal assistance and community policing

UK Minister for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, had the opportunity to witness the impact of community policing and paralegal support in Abu Shouk Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) camp that is provided by the Paralegal Justice and Confidence Center (JCC) in Darfur.

“Now my children and I feel far safer, and we are enjoying the level of security we have at the camp. Most importantly, we understand our rights as well as our responsibilities in contributing to the overall safety of the camp.” Fatima Ali, female resident of the camp.

The Abu Shouk IDP camp is a home to more than 100,000 IDPs. The camp lies four kilometres from ElFasher town with no police post inside but there is one located nearby. The camp that lacks policing services exposes its inhabitants to legal vulnerability and widespread insecurity.

The JCC was established in 2005 as part of the UNDP Rule of Law Programme and it is staffed with 13 paralegals from Abu Shouk community. The paralegals have had extensive training on human rights, mediation & improving access to justice, raising community awareness of rights, Sudanese legislation and women’s rights.

The UNDP Rule of Law Programme was established in the Darfur States in September of 2004 with the overall objectives of raising awareness of basic human rights and rule of law amongst citizens and law-enforcement institutions. Since then, the project has gained valuable entry points and built strong relationships with the community and government. Further, the project has also succeeded in restoring confidence in rule of law institutions and gradually is building a culture of justice, which is conducive to peace and sustainable human development.

One of the key successes of UNDP work is establishing strong linkages between formal justice institutions and JCCs. In the politicized environment of Darfur there were scepticisms on motives of JCCs by formal institutions. UNDP has successfully bridged this confidence gap and now JCCs are registered at bar associations and considered as an effective extension of justice system.

During the period 2010 – 2012, the UNDP supported Abu Shook paralegals managed to reach more than 8,000 individuals of the camp and raise their awareness of basic human rights, international and national laws and conventions. Over 200 disputes and conflicts were resolved during this period with their help in the absence of formal judicial mechanisms.

During her visit to Sudan that took place from January 21-23, 2013, the UK minister has met representatives of the Sudanese government and visited a number of UK-supported programmes in Sudan. Concluding her visit by holding a press conference at the British Embassy, the Minister said “The UK has a long-standing relationship with the Sudanese people. During my visit, I had the opportunity to see first- hand the impact of DFID supported programmes on people’s lives. We continue to be committed to Sudan. We want to continue supporting Sudanese people and institutions so they may build a more stable and prosperous country which embraces its impressive diversity.”

DFID is one of the largest development partners of UNDP Sudan. Last year DFID has contributed a total amount of US$ 4,272,856.15 to UNDP supported programmes in Sudan with focus on supporting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, strengthening governance, security as well as crises prevention and recovery efforts.

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