Law Programme Projects

Project Synopsis

Action for Better Prison Conditions and Access to Justice 2013/2014

Action for Better Prison Conditions and Access to Justice (ABPCAJ) is a project currently being supported by OSISA and the OSF Human Rights Initiative. The overall aim is to increase the number of people in targeted communities around five of the eleven dioceses for which Caritas Zambia is responsible namely: Kabwe, Lusaka, Mazabuka, Mongu and Livingstone, who are able to access justice and claim their rights, with a specific emphasis on pre-trial detainees.

Audit of pre-trial detainees in Malawi and Zambia

The project aims - through an audit of eight police station/court/prison precincts in Malawi and Zambia - gather information on both the legal status of awaiting trial detainees and issues pertaining to conditions of incarceration in those two countries.

Boosting capacity of Law Society of Zimbabwe

The main goal of this project is to provide core funding to the Law Society of Zimbabwe to support self regulation, maintain the independence of the legal profession in Zimbabwe and influence policy decisions and institutional reforms of key institutions in the country and to protect and promote the rule of law and human rights defenders.

Core funding and Institutional Support for the Southern African Development Community Lawyers’ Association

The Southern African Development Community Lawyers’ Association (SADC Lawyers Association/SADCLA) is the representative body of law societies, bar associations and individual lawyers in the 15 member SADC region. SADC LA has been a long term partner of OSISA's (we were one of the founding members) and is the only regional lawyers body that collectively conducts advocacy on rule of law and access to justice issues and represents a substantial contingent of human rights defenders in the region. SADC LA is requesting core funding and institutional support for its general programming.

Core funding for African Network of Constitutional Lawyers

The main goal of this project is to provide core funding to the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL) to conduct its day to day activities and to advance academic discourse on constitutionalism and constitutional law in the region and to influence policy on constitution making. The ANCL will publish a bi-annual journal on Constitutional Law in Africa.

Core support for Southern Africa activities

The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Court) is the only supranational judicial body which citizens and organizations from Southern Africa may have access to seek justice and redress for human rights violations. For this to happen countries have to ratify the Protocol establishing the Court and issue an additional declaration granting special jurisdiction to the Court to entertain matters submitted to it directly by individuals and organisations, after exhaustion of local remedies.

Crime and Violence Prevention in Mozambique

Crime and violence prevention has long been recognized by civil society organizations internationally as a key component, along with law enforcement, of an effective response to promoting safety. However it was not until recently that key lending institutions began to make explicit links between violence prevention and development and not simply to view it as a security issue.

Disability Rights and Law School Project

In southern Africa, there is lack of awareness about disability issues, and inadequate implementation of disability policies, amongst lawyers. None of the region’s universities offer courses with a focus on disability rights and anti-discrimination law.

The first phase of the disability rights and law school project, carried out by OSISA’s Law Programme, produced a report, based on nine southern African countries, that found “‘stand alone’ courses on disability rights” in the region.

Legal Reform Programme: Persons with Disabilities Act and Mental Health Services Bill Phase II

ZAFOD is currently seeking funding to ensure the enactment of the newly drafted Mental Health Bill and the finalisation of regulations for both the new Persons with Disabilities Act and the (proposed) Mental Health Act. Further they wish to raise awareness with regard to the provisions in both. This proposal builds on the foundational work done, with support from OSISA, in respect of these two pieces of legislation in 2012/2103.

Medico-legal Pilot Project to more Effectively Prosecute Crimes of Sexual Violence in the East Congo.

Tens of thousands of east Congolese women and girls remain victims of sexual assault. OSISA has invested heavily in the mobile gender courts in this region, and while conviction rates have been good (over 80 percent), the use of forensic evidence remains marginal.

The majority of rape trials rely on witness accounts that are not as reliable as forensic evidence. The absence of forensic evidence is due to the lack of necessary skills, of local lawyers, police and health professionals, to collect such evidence.

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