LHRC facilitates access to justice in Ukerewe
In our cause to guarantee access to justice particularly for underprivileged people in the community, we - the Legal and Human Rights Centre provide legal aid services through our two model legal aid clinics located in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam as well as in Arusha. To reach out to the needy who cannot consult the clinics directly, LHRC conducts mobile legal aid at a regular basis.
From October 29 to November 2, 2018, LHRC camped in Ukerewe Island to offer legal assistance to a total of 158 indigenous population (63 females and 95 males). The exercise unveiled how rampant land conflicts, matrimonial, inheritance and GBV cases are in the island. According to the Ukerewe's district administrative secretary, Mr. Phocus Majumbi, the scramble for land in the region is serious because of high population size compared to the available habitable land. Ukerewe is 6400 square kilometres in size but only 10% is habitable for the population of more than 345, 147 individuals.
Amid legal aid provision in the island, our partners, the Swedish and Irish Embassies graced us with a visit to learn more about the work of our paralegals and monitors in enhancing access to justice and promotion of human rights at grass-roots level. During their two-day stay in the field, our partners were thrilled by the great work done by paralegals despite being disappointed by the low number of women seeking legal aid compared to that of men.
Paralegals attributed the deeply rooted patriarchal system among inhabitants to the phenomenon since the system acts as a stumbling block to women’s access to justice as a result of inferiority complex instilled in them besides the fear of discrimination and stigmatisation they confront. Another reason cited by paralegals include remoteness of some islands in Ukerewe which makes it hard for women to spare some time and even when they have it they are unable to afford transport costs to be incurred to consult paralegals in Nansio, Ukerewe.
Also, paralegals insisted that their work has in so many ways changed the lives of people in Ukerewe claiming that even the small number of women recorded seeking legal aid is a result of awareness raised by them. To deepen understanding of human rights and empowerment of women in Ukerewe to access justice, paralegals made a call for an increased support from LHRC and other partners.
Legal and Human Rights established and supports paralegal units in every district of Mainland Tanzania to support citizens at the grassroots through awareness of legal and human rights matters and the provision of legal aid for the people to have access to justice and reclaim their rights whenever violated.