Justice for All Campaign Meeting
On the 16th of October, 2018, Kituo Cha Sheria held a breakfast meeting under the theme: ‘Access to Justice for All.’ The meeting sought to address the issue of increasing funding to the justice sector and protection of grassroots justice defenders. The event was held at the Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi and was part of the Justice for All global campaign. The campaign seeks to deliver on certain global ambitions around peace, democracy, sustainable development and equality by advocating for funding and protection for grassroots justice defenders. Grassroots justice defenders empower communities to know, use, and shape the law – a process known as legal empowerment. Participants drawn from around the world- Ukraine, Myanmar, Indonesia, Tanzania and the United States joined their Kenyan colleagues working in the justice sector through NAMATI and the Global Legal Empowerment Network for the event.
NAMATI is building a global movement of grassroots legal advocates who help put the power of law in the hands of people. Kituo Cha Sheria played host to the event which had presentations from representatives of the National Legal Aid Service (NLAS), the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Kenya Law Reports Commission (KLR) and the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K). Also represented at the event were representatives from the Royal Dutch Embassy, the Embassy of Belgium, UNHCR-Kenya, National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC), NAMATI, Kituo Cha Sheria and community paralegals.
In 2015, 193 countries agreed to make “access to justice for all” one of the goals for achieving sustainable development by 2030. Participants were in agreement that the work of grassroots justice defenders is at risk and if we want to achieve the justice for all ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals, we must create an enabling environment for grassroots justice defenders to carry out their work.
Experiences shared during the meeting made it clear that the problems that paralegals face resonate with local practitioners across the globe and the solutions and conversations around these issues need to be solved at both levels to achieve justice for all. Advocates called on governments, justice sector partners and donors to protect and fund grassroots justice defenders who are working to advance access to justice. This marked a huge shift in global thinking. But, the work of justice defenders remains chronically underfunded, and the defenders themselves are increasingly at risk.