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Recent Events/News

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”First Somali Legal Aid Network Roundtable, 19-20 June 2015, Addis Ababa” icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

LAW held the first roundtable for the Somali Legal Aid Network on 19-20 June 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants discussed the purpose and direction of the Legal Aid Network, identified key legislation and policies,  the Compact Deal section on Rule of Law, identified issues for public interest litigation and legal advocacy, funding strategies and future trainings/capacity building requirements. The roundtable resulted in a Network Action Plan for the year. Participants elected a Chair and Vice-Chair for the Network who will oversee the Action Plan, and follow up on the progress and activities of members.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”‘360′ Training for Legal Responders, June 2015, Addis Ababa” icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

LAW organised ‘360′ training’  for the entire cycle of legal responders to sexual violence, from the initial police officer or service provider who receives the complaint to the Criminal Investigations Unit, prosecutors, legal aid providers and judges. The training held inAddis Ababa was run by Legal Action Worldwide with training sessions by the International Institute for Criminal Investigations (IICI) and covers both the Sexual Offences Bill in each region and international best practice standards for the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence, including investigation planning and management, interview techniques and management of safety and security. It is hoped that the training will result in the forming of ‘360’ Units which will work together to better investigate, prosecute and convict perpetrators of sexual violence crimes.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”Consultative Meetings on Land Dispute Tribunal in Somalia” icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

ldt-hargeisiLAW and UN-Habitat in collaboration with the Somaliland’s Ministry of Interior and Public Works organised and facilitated two important consultative meetings aimed at increasing the capacity of Somaliland’s Land Dispute Tribunals.

The first was a one day consultative meeting was held on 27 May, 2015 at Maan-soor Hotel, Hargeisa, and focused on the administrative challenges to land dispute resolution in Somaliland with particular focus on land dispute tribunals. Over 45 participants from Key Stake holders on the land administration and land dispute resolution attended the event: Director Generals of Ministries of Interior, Public Works, Agriculture, Environment and Religious Affairs, Judges from Regional Appeal Courts of Hargeisa, Bebera and Boorama, Mayors of Berbera, Boorama, Zaila, Sheik, Odeweyne and Gabiley; Lawyers and members of Land Dispute Tribunals of Hargeisa, Berbera and Boorama attended and participated in the consultation meeting. Read More

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”LAW Launches in London, March 2015″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

To mark the official launch of Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) in London, LAW held three days of events from 10-12 March 2015 in prominent locations around London including prestigious Doughty Street Chambers, Hausfeld & Co, Bindmans LLP and SOAS, University of London.

The launch commenced with two events on universal jurisdiction at Doughty Street Chambers. A closed expert roundtable on ‘Special Mission Immunity’ and a panel discussion on ‘No Safe Haven.’ Eminent panelists included Professor John Dugard, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Daniel Machover and Carla Ferstman. The event was very well attended and panelists discussed the future of universal jurisdiction and the need for a strategic litigation fund. Read More

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”High Level Panel Discussion on Addressing Sexual Violence in Somalia,  3 March 2015″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

high level panel discussion 03.03.15LAW held a ground breaking high level panel discussion on addressing sexual violence in Mogadishu on 3 March 2015.  Antonia Mulvey chaired an eminent panel comprising of Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to AMISOM (SRCC), The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), EU Ambassador to Somalia, the Minister of Women and Human Rights Development and Fartun Adan, Director of the Elman Centre, a prominent human rights NGO based in Mogadishu.

Panelists discussed sexual violence in Somalia and specifically allegations against the AMISOM peacekeeping mission. It was the first discussion of its kind and we identified concrete ways forward and will hold a second discussion in 6 months.  Panellists opened up for questions from an audience of more than 60 people comprised of civil society, UN, AMISOM and INGOs.

Please see here the joint statement from the AU/UN resulting from our discussion.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”Roundtable on Accountability for Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the Horn of Africa, January 2015″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

In January 2015 LAW held a roundtable to discuss strategies for increasing accountability and access to justice for sexual violence committed in the East and Horn of Africa. The roundtable focused on Somalia, Darfur and South Sudan. Information available indicates that sexual offences are being committed in very high numbers in each of these regions and that very few of these crimes are prosecuted, leading to almost total impunity for perpetrators. The roundtable brought together local, regional and international legal experts to discuss how legal action or interventions may be taken at the domestic, regional and transnational levels. We are grateful to the Nuhanovic Foundation for their support of this Roundtable.  Click here to download minutes Minutes from RT on Accountability of the Security Forces for SGBV in East and Horn of Africa

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”Roundtable on Housing, Land and Property Issues in Somalia, December 2014″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

On 8 December 2014, our Executive Director, Antonia Mulvey chaired an expert roundtable on housing, land and property (HLP) issues in Somalia which was co-hosted by the Norwegian Refugee Council  at the African Development Bank. The Roundtable was attended by donors, UN agencies, Somali and international NGOs.  Participants discussed  the legal and policy framework, insecurity of tenure, forced evictions and mechanisms for the resolution of disputes. Participants discussed the challenges in each of these areas, successes in addressing these challenges and legal and practical solutions that may be implemented moving forward.  The Roundtable identified seven key ways forward:

1. Establish a working group/ HLP Taskforce (under the Protection Cluster) at the Somalia (all three regions) and Nairobi level. This group will prepare an action plan for addressing HLP issues in Somalia and will provide a medium through which civil society is able to contribute to the relevant Somali Compact PSGs.

2. Strengthen and support government institutions to address HLP issues, including through the establishment of a Land Commission in Mogadishu and by supporting the Land Dispute Tribunals in Somaliland.

3. Identify a lead on reviewing and drafting legal frameworks.

4. Advocacy around HLP issues must be strengthened. The newly established working group and taskforce should take the lead in this.

5. A best practices document should be compiled from the experience of UN agencies and NGOs. It should include key recommendations on ways forward and should focus on practical, pragmatic and localised solutions.

6. Support Somali lawyers to both draft policies and legislation addressing HLP issues and challenge existing policies, legislation and practice through strategic litigation.

7. Funding for HLP projects needs to be long-term and flexible.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”occupied Palestinian territory: 4th Legal Strategies Roundtable, October 2014″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

IMG_0128On October 31 -1 November, LAW in collaboration with Nuhavonic Foundation organised the fourth roundtable to identify creative legal action to address human rights violations and abuses in the occupied Palestinian territory. The event was held at Amsterdam University. Over 30 legal leading legal practitioners attended. A report will be released soon.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”House of Lords Panel, London, June 2014″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

IIDA pictureDuring the week of the UK Global Summit addressing sexual violence in conflict, LAW and the Somali Women’s Development Organization (IIDA), held a panel discussion in the House of Lords, UK to discuss sexual violence committed by security forces in Somalia. LAW’s Patrons Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws and Baroness Kidron of Angel OBE hosted the panel discussion. Panel experts included the Somali Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Head of Somalia Unit, UK Foreign Office and our Executive Director, Antonia Mulvey. The event was open to the public and more than seventy participants attended. The next House of Lords panel event will be held in March 2015.

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[col type=”6″][styled_box title=”Roundtable on Addressing Sexual Violence by Security Actors, May 2014″ icon=”” footer=”” class=”panel-primary”]

The participants discussed options and strategies for enhancing overall accountability on sexual violence and mechanisms for providing legal redress to survivors of sexual violence perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated by armed men in uniform in Somalia. It brought together domestic, regional and international legal experts as well as actors operating on the ground to review the legal frameworks applicable to the commission sexual violence and to identify new practical steps to address ongoing human rights violations. The broad range of participants, including international legal experts, civil society and representatives from the UN were vital to efforts to respond to and prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) by security forces. It is hoped that the roundtable will assist in developing and strengthening ‘solution alliances’ between these actors. The Somali Ministry of Gender and Human Rights and Ministry of Justice, though unable to be present at the roundtable, are also central to this discussion and have expressed their interest in its outcome. Representatives from the African Mission in Somalia were invited but were not able to attend.

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