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LAW paralegals conducting legal awareness sessions for recently displaced persons in Barxadwenye camp in Mogadishu.

Gender Equality & GBV - Somalia - Advocacy - Legal Aid & Empowerment

LAW has been operating in Somalia since 2013, providing legal assistance, information and representation to victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Currently, LAW operates in 6 camps for internally displaced people in and around Mogadishu.

LAW operates through community-based mechanisms including a group of community paralegals, community champions and survivor support groups.

The community paralegals make weekly visits to the camps, providing legal awareness sessions and acting as focal points for victims to safely report incidents of sexual and gender-based violence. Here, the team was photographed conducting a legal awareness session to people recently displaced, likely by conflict or the drought, to Barxadwenye camp in Mogadishu.

The sessions are open to the public in the camps, and the discussions centre around providing the community with information on their rights, what legal recourse they may seek if they are a victim of SGBV, and how to go about reporting the crimes.

These mechanisms were established following 18 months of consultations with the communities, who concluded that they would prefer to report cases to individuals within their own community with whom they were familiar, rather than reporting to the authorities. At that time, victims and survivors of gender-based violence, including sexual violence were more likely to be arrested for reporting the crime than to receive assistance.

Since 2017, this community mechanism has received over 1500 complaints, resulting in more than 200 convictions for crimes of gender-based violence, ranging from domestic violence, rape and gang rape.

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